Student designs handpicked by sustainable fashion retailer

Students at Staffordshire University have designed a range of sustainable clothing for an ethical fashion retailer.

Emily Hargreaves, Helen Plant and Joanna Wiseman

Everyone’s worked really hard. You can see the whole thought process from the design stages to the final garments so this is a really good outcome. I’m really pleased!

Helen Plant, Company Director at The Maverick Store

As part of their course, BA (Hons) Fashion students were tasked with creating clothes for The Maverick Store, an independent online platform for sustainably sourced fashion.  

The students had to design, manufacture and price their garments, before pitching their ideas to founder of The Maverick Store Helen Plant.

Helen, from Stone, explained: “My business has been going since September. It’s all about sustainable fashion, ethical sourcing, understanding where everything has come from and making sure the whole supply chain is looked after.

“The task is about getting the students industry ready. Getting them to think about how they are costing their items up every step of the way, what they are going to sell it for and where in the market they are going to pitch themselves.”

Public interest in ethical clothing boomed in 2018 with searches for sustainable fashion increasing by 47%, according to fashion search engine Lyst, and designer Stella McCartney launched a UN charter for sustainable fashion at the COP24 conference in December.

Helen believes this trend for ethical clothing is set to continue and hopes that the project will help prepare the students to work in a changing fashion industry.

Student Joanna Wiseman, 36 from Congleton, designed a dress made from ethically sourced organic bamboo silk.

She said: “It has been fantastic. It’s given me the opportunity to explore different arenas and use different techniques and technologies. The project has brought in lots of different things like computer aided design, your designing, making, pattern cutting.

“Also it’s great to pitch your idea to somebody in the industry and learn how you do everything from start to finish.”

Coursemate Emily Hargreaves, 19 from Smallthorne, created a hand-loomed dress from organic cotton which was dyed yellow with onion skins.

“It was challenging because I’d never explored sustainability before. You have to look at different ways of making garments.” Emily commented.

“I think sustainable fashion is future so if we can learn about it now then we will be ahead of the game when we graduate.”

Joanna won first place in the challenge with coursemate Emily Lowndes in second place and Emily Hargreaves coming third. Helen is now planning to showcase all three design on The Maverick.

“I would like to consider all three to sell on my website subject to the look of the garments on a model.” Helen said.

“Everyone’s worked really hard. You can see the whole thought process from the design stages to the final garments so this is a really good outcome. I’m really pleased!”

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