Home > Case Studies > Our Eco-Fashion Project: A Case Study

Our Eco-Fashion Project: A Case Study

By: Susan Hunt MA - Updated: 26 Dec 2012 | comments*Discuss
Eco-fashion Green Fashion African

An innovative project set up by London College of Fashion brought together skills from opposite sides of the world – and benefited families living in poverty.

Students from the college created a stunning new range of fashion accessories in partnership with crafters living in Johannesburg in South Africa – and it is hoped their example will encourage similar projects in the future.


The products they produced, including jewellery and handbags, were made from local sustainable materials such as re-used telephone wire.

The South African crafters involved were selected from very poor and violent areas and many are single parents whose families have been devastated by AIDS and HIV.

The project was set up by Dilys Williams, Director of the new Centre for Sustainable Fashion at the college who believes the strong European style of the range, combined with South African craftsmanship, sets it apart from the usual mass-market offer.

High Street Hope

The designs proved hugely popular at the Ethical Fashion Show and Dilys is now hoping that they will be stocked by High Street chainstores in the UK.

The idea behind the project was that the pay they received from the project would help the crafters to improve their lives and their local community. They would also get an introduction to setting up their own venture and hopefully this will eventually lead to future income from the European fashion market.

And to make sure that the project provided students with a real taste of the challenges of a career in this fast-moving industry, the work had to be undertaken to strict deadlines. The students also had to follow ethically and environmentally sound working practices.

The project proved such a success that the college has since run a similar model with a charity in South Africa called Tabeisa, and has set up Shared Talent India, bringing together UK and Indian designers to promote Indian sustainable textiles.

Other Benefits

“The project is already having a ripple effect into the industry through our new Centre for Sustainable Fashion,” said Dilys.

“The Centre aims to become an internationally recognised catalyst for change and we will work with the fashion industry to create better lives through a sustainable fashion economy.”

Students taking part in the original project were drawn from a range of courses at the college, including fashion photography, fashion management, product design, womenswear, accessories design and surface textile design.

And it has already helped to shape the careers of some of the first students to be involved. One went on to work with a cooperative in Nepal to produce designs from locally sourced raw materials while three other graduates are hoping to start their own business and maintain strong links with South Africa.

Valuable Lessons

“We are passing on many of the lessons we’ve learned through the Shared Talent project to college students in a range of lectures and debates and our curriculum now takes account of important issues like sustainability and socially responsible design,” said Dilys.

“Hopefully other people will follow our lead and this will help both the people involved and the environment.”

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • Bob
    Re: Grants Available For Your Business
    Is there a grant for changing from electric heaters to central heating at my holiday let's in Blackpool?
    24 November 2020
  • Mina
    Re: Eco-School Grants and Funds
    Hi I am enquiring on behalf of Claines Church of England Primary School which is based in Worcester. How would they go about…
    4 November 2020
  • Rach
    Re: Eco-School Grants and Funds
    Starting a gardening club from scratch in a school and would like to know how to work towards getting the bronze award.
    21 October 2020
  • Julie
    Re: Eco-School Grants and Funds
    Hi - we have our bronze award. Working hard for silver. Any tips/grants for progress in this would be gratefully received. We would…
    15 October 2020
  • Nicola
    Re: Grants Available For Your Business
    Good morning I am looking for some advice please. I work for a village community centre, a community interest charity.…
    15 October 2020
  • Vision eco
    Re: Grants Available For Your Business
    Hi I would like to know if I'm able to get some help with funding please? It's only a very small amount needed to finish…
    7 October 2020
  • Wee Mo
    Re: New Build Grants and Funds
    We are presently in the process of starting to build our own house. We have completed full planning permission and drawings now going…
    3 October 2020
  • charlie
    Re: New Build Grants and Funds
    Hi, I've recently purchased a plot of land with planning permission. We are in the process of amending the plans which includes a…
    29 September 2020
  • Bennett
    Re: New Build Grants and Funds
    Hi ,we are in the process of buying a plot of land in a rural village in scotland , have acquired outline planning permission for a…
    28 September 2020
  • MaryM
    Re: Grants Available For Your Business
    I am looking for grants to support the rebuild of a childcare nursery and funding to pay for temporary accommodation…
    27 September 2020