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Meet the next generation of ethical fashion designers

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This week is Graduate Fashion Week so to celebrate, we’ve rounded up our favourite fashion graduate designers who are focusing on making fashion more sustainable.

Georgina Wilson-Powell 3 June 2019

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While mainstream fashion and the luxury houses lag behind in proving their sustainable fashion credentials and continue to add to our climate emergency (thanks guys), the next generation of fashion designers are turning out to be a lot more conscious.

All across the UK, university students studying fashion have embraced a range of issues to ensure their collections are more conscious and climate friendly. We take a look at some of the most exciting fashion graduates to watch and the eco-issues they’re tackling.

5 graduate ethical fashion designers to watch

Zero waste manufacturing

Alice Kitching, from Leeds Art University, wanted to tackle the issue of sustainability through pattern cutting and created a zero-waste collection.

She said: “My collection is all about reducing textile waste and transforming what could have been waste, into sophisticated, wearable pieces.

“I have used deadstock materials, using end of rolls where the fabric would otherwise just be thrown away. Where I could, I sourced my fabrics locally, reducing my carbon footprint by using materials made in local mills.

“Sustainability is not a trend in the fashion industry anymore, it is something that designers and consumers must be aware of. As more consumers demand for a transparent industry, people want to know where their garments are made, what they are made from and what environmental impact they have.”

Shopping secondhand

Isabella Salini, from the University of Brighton, has created an online swap platform to encourage people to make a change to their shopping habits.

She said: “For my final project, I decided to focus on sustainability within the fashion industry, specifically the over consumption of the young millennials.

I created an online swap platform along with social media sites to encourage the demographic to make a change to their shopping habits and learn to appreciate their clothing. The platform involves a conceptual promotional video along with three editorials supporting recycle + reuse, wash less and source sustainability.”


Click here to read about how you can set up your own clothing swap.

Isabella Salini is a graduate ethical fashion designer

Isabella Salini wants to get more millennials shopping sustainably

Climate change

Miranda Jackson, from the University of Huddersfield, wanted to explore how the fashion industry effects climate change.

She said: “After discovering how damaging synthetic fabrics and pesticides are on the environment, I chose to make my collection as eco-friendly as possible. I wanted my collection to be politically impactful but still subtle, as climate change is subtle and well hidden by the government.

“I chose to use 100% wool as it does not contain microplastics and it biodegrades before reaching the ocean. I have also used organic cotton thread and bamboo silk on my tops and dress.”

Climate change collection from ethical fashion designer Miranda Jackson

Miranda Jackson tackles the issue of microplastic pollution which comes from synthetic textiles

Plastic pollution

Emma Nicholson, from the University of Portsmouth, created a collection to raise awareness of the ongoing problem of plastic pollution.

She said: “Made only from natural and sustainable materials such as organic denim, organic cotton and bamboo jersey with wooden and recycled features, the collection portrays a symbolic reflection of the dying coral as an after effect of the pollution.

Recycled fishing nets hang from shoulder and trouser legs, rope ties around waists and laser cut buckles and buttons make up the other consistent features, along with the main textiles of screen print and the old skill of macramé.”


Click here to understand why fishing nets are such a problem for our oceans.

Emma Nicholson and Jogaile Zairyte - graduate ethical fashion designers

L: Emma Nicholson's collection tackles plastic pollution in the ocean. R: Jogaile Zairyte is one of the graduate fashion designers focusing on handcrafted techniques

Promoting traditional skills

Jogaile Zairyte, from the University of Portsmouth, was inspired by Japanese culture and their beliefs and has embraced different hand-crafted techniques and natural hand-dyeing. She used materials which are all natural and organic such as hemp, cotton, peace silk linen and bamboo in her designs.

She said: “I want to work in the sustainable fashion industry and create my own sustainable brand. I will continue to research natural dyeing processes and zero waste methods, experimenting with upcycled materials and apply them to my designs.”

Join the community for sustainable living, ethical fashion and eco travel


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