Cottonmouth

Competition: Fashioning the Future

Written by Jonno Ovans

The future of fashion is always on the fashion-conscious mind – in fact the nature of the industry means that the future of fashion in seasons to come is actually already being thought about in the present, which means it’s already really in the past – HOLD THE PHONE. This is surely raising all sorts of horrid existential postmodern type questions that are quite frankly too difficult to hold in your brain on such an absolute roaster of an afternoon.
Yet with Calum Harvey’s collection of recycled materials still in mind, we’re seeing the ball of proper innovative ideas gathering momentum towards the future of fashion. With 2010 (2010!!!!!) approaching faster than a speeding bullet, I was interested to learn about the London College of Fashion ‘s upcoming competition administered by their Centre of Sustainable Fashion.

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‘Fashioning the Future’ saw its inauguration in 2008, and looks to address issues of consumption and sustainability – the theme to work with for this year’s crop is Water. The application form lays out some pretty grim facts about water within the context of the fashion industry that should generate some passionate and creative responses if there’s any justice:

Fashion
is
a
business
which
is
heavily
dependent
on
water.
Cotton
is
the
most
commonly
used
fibre
in
clothing
and
there
is
currently
no
alternative
fibre
with
the
same
versatility
and
potential.
However,
cotton
is
one
of
the
most
water
intensive
crops
on
the
planet.
It
takes
2700
litres
of
water
to
produce
just
one
cotton
t‐shirt
from
‘crop
to
shop’,
whilst
5000
children die
each
day
due
to
lack
of
clean
water.


The
pre‐consumer processing of
our
clothing
involves
significant
washing,
dyeing
and
re‐dyeing.
Approximately
60kg
of
water
is
used
and
about
45kg
of
waste
water
is
discharged
per
kg
of
output.

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The competition is open to all current and recent graduates of any fashion related course from any college of university worldwide, and from reading the above, this ain’t no picnic ladies and gentleman, you’ve got to have your head screwed on. Quite simply, the competition is looking to find new ways of doing things in fashion, new ways of evolving and new ways to thrive, re-imagining the future where the terrain isn’t some burnt-out space with tiny wheeled robots pottering around cleaning up our left-over rubbish. They’re going at it from every possible angle, and with seven different categories submissions applications must vary from presentations of visual concepts, designs, illustrations, press releases, essays and photographic portfolios (amongst others!) asking its entrants to communicate new attitudes towards fashion with regard to its social, economic, cultural and ecological effects. And, breathe.

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This competition is as wide-ranging as they come. The categories are as follows:

- Design
for
a
Thriving
Fashion
Industry

- Systems
for
a
Sustainable
Fashion
Industry

- The
Role
of
Materials
in
a
Sustainable
Fashion
Industry

- The
Role
of
Communication
in
a
Sustainable
Fashion
Culture
(Theoretical)

- The
Identity
of
Sustainable
Fashion
(Visual)

- Enterprise Initiative
for
the
Future
Fashion
Industry

- Water: the
right
for
all
citizens
of
this
planet.

Lindsey.jpg

For more information about submission dates, prizes, eligibility and to download the application form, visit www.sustainable-fashion.com, e-mail sustainability@fashion.arts.ac.uk or call 020 7514 8898. They’ve quoted Caryn Franklin who once affirmed that “we need to find a kick-ass way in which to present sustainable fashion”. I think that’s what you call hitting the nail on the head.

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