Designing Fashion for a Longer Life

A big part of ethical and sustainable fashion is making clothes last longer. The Sustainable Clothing Action Plan (SCAP) recently held its first Extending the Life of Clothes Design Award to reward designers. The aim of the contest was to find long-lasting, sustainable, and fashionable clothing that people would actually wear. Designers were also tasked with addressing reasons for garment failure.

The winner of the award, Rhiannon Hunt, designed adjustable clothing with easily alterable size, fit, style, or length. The clothes are made adjustable by detachable fastenings that allow waistbands, hemlines, and more to be customized as needed, however the main parts of each garment are sewn together normally. Her clothing allows one to see how each item is constructed.

The contest was so successful that the judges created a special commendation prize to recognize another entrant, Valerie Goode. Her concept involves helping working professional women keep their clothes in wearable condition longer. Other elements included eco-friendly silk dyeing, sustainable tailoring, and a repair and alteration service.

This award is delivered by WRAP, and was created based on WRAP research that shows that extending the life of our clothes is one of the best ways to tackle the environmental impacts of clothing. One of the most significant findings is that ‘extending a product’s active life by just nine months could reduce the carbon, water, and waste footprints by 20-30% each and save around 5 billion pounds worth of the resources used to supply, launder, and dispose of clothing’.

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