By Karen Nutton
First Year Fashion Coordinator and Lecturer
The start of a new curriculum for BA (Hons) Fashion Design, saw the birth of a new collaboration between BCU and Newlife; a charity that supports disabled children, providing essential equipment for children with cancer, birth defects and diseases which often present lifelong challenges.
Newlife has a large retail presence in Cannock, using Instagram and Twitter to good effect to promote their stock and events to a younger demographic. This social media presence and invested interest in the younger generation was the catalyst for a partnership between the BCU School of Fashion and Textiles and Newlife, to further raise awareness of fundraising and sustainability in the fashion industry.
During welcome week (Sept 2017) I introduced Meredith Lambert, Regional Fundraiser and Awareness Manager at Newlife, to our new fashion students. Meredith gave a presentation that not only highlighted the work that Newlife do for children, but also how they play a very important role in the fashion industry regarding sustainability.
“There are now around one million disabled and terminally ill children in the UK. Thousands of them rely on Newlife to get the equipment they need, equipment that has often been refused by the statutory services or the delays in provision mean that the child will suffer unnecessarily.” Newlife website – About Us
After Meredith’s presentation, students organised themselves into random groups encouraging the development of new friendships and working relationships. Our students then transformed 3 items of clothing, kindly donated by Newlife, beyond their original use – demonstrating the ways in which fashion can be recycled.
‘Improving life and opportunities for our people today and helping to protect our planet for a better tomorrow.’ – Newlife Website – Recycling.
Our students completed the project over two days; day one was spent researching trends, designers and finding inspiration around Birmingham and day two was spent transforming the clothes from Newlife.
At the end of the second day each group presented their completed outfits in a static exhibition, on our third level atrium in the Parkside Building. They also showcased their work to their peers with a range of storyboards, presentations and photoshoots.
Peer feedback was positive with outfits being described as ‘innovative’ and ‘eye-catching’. Students and visitors alike stopped to admire the outfits whilst they were on display with people asking if the garments could be bought in store as well as putting in requests to have their jeans transformed.
If you’d like to find out more about Newlife’s charitable work and ongoing campaign for raising awareness of fashion sustainability please head to their website.
Find out more about studying Fashion or Textiles.