students launch sustainability initiative – Project S

Friday March 26, 2021

Concord’s Fashion Society and Student Union have co-founded a new school-wide initiative promoting sustainability, called Project S – designed to focus on ‘slow’ fashion. The project, originally the idea of 6.1 student Melody, involves discussions, workshops and upcycling of clothing to ‘give new life’ and support Concord’s whole-school green commitments. Students from Fashion Society and the Student Union recently hosted the first discussion evening introducing the initiative, with students deliberating the issues of ‘fast’ and ‘slow’ fashion. For some, it was an eye-opening experience, learning that the fashion industry is in the world’s top-five polluting industries, responsible for 10% of total carbon emissions and half a million tonnes of plastic microfibers dumped into the ocean every year. Speaking of the initiative, Melody, one of three student-leads in Fashion Society, said: “We hope to address the need for sustainability within the fashion industry as well as its accessibility. “Unfortunately, slow fashion has obtained a somewhat alien view as it's often seen as a) too expensive, b) too complicated and c) with little range. “However, Project S hopes to change that; to show that sustainability means a lot of different things and isn't exclusively for those who can 'afford' it or follow a specific lifestyle. “We also hope to demonstrate different and reachable forms of expressing creativity in times where we may feel restricted.” Drop-off locations have been set up around the college for students and staff who wish to donate old, new and unused clothing – with the opportunity for art and fashion enthusiasts to upcycle these, giving them new life, and potentially making them available for re-purchase in the college – through Concord’s newly-launched online Eco Store. Melody added: “All discussions and workshops are free for all, and students will have the opportunity to exhibit their work all around the school, in ‘pop-up’ exhibitions.” The Art Department is playing a fundamental role in the initiative too, with Art teacher Miss Lucy Dentith running sustainability and upcycling workshops and supporting the future ideas of students. Miss Dentith said: “When you hear the word ‘fashion’, it may not be something that interests you, however we all buy and wear clothes, so we can all play a part when it comes to creating a ‘conscious wardrobe’ as such. “Project S is a fantastic opportunity for us all to reconsider our relationship with our clothes. “It will open up conversations about how we shop, rather than where we shop, focussing on being gentle to the planet and people. “The project will also give the opportunity to learn new skills; once loved clothing can be adapted, given new life and celebrated rather than ending up as landfill. “Sustainability is the heart of this school-wide initiative and this theme will be on-going as Project S develops next year and beyond. Everyone is welcome to join in, learn, discuss, donate or create!” Concord’s Head of the Eco Committee, Mrs Emma Charles was also ‘delighted’ with the start-up initiative, explaining that this had been a hope of the committee since before the pandemic. She explained: “The Eco Committee had previous plans for ‘swishing parties’ for students and staff once social distancing restrictions are lessened – whereby people can donate, exchange and purchase clothes. “One of the most alarming principles of ‘fast fashion’ is the concept of micro-seasons, which of course is a ploy to get us all to spend more, which equates to waste and is an exploitation of fashion lovers. “I hope Project S helps to promote some local businesses and charities too, and when allowed, our students can shop again in Shrewsbury or online, looking out for ethical brands and ranges – with a little extra consideration for the planet. “This project is so very exciting and a fantastic venture between societies.” Student-Head of Eco Committee, 6.1 student Rachel added: “Concord is great because it’s full of students who want to bring positive change. “We hope to address this culture of fast fashion by debunking the somewhat inaccessible, expensive label that sustainable fashion has obtained. “Our end goal would be for people to realise that slow fashion is not only a fun and accessible journey, but also one of the best things we as individuals can do for Mother Earth.”