LONDON — The British Fashion Council has mobilized London designers to donate their deadstock, or unwanted materials, to fashion students across the U.K.
The aim of the community project, dubbed Student Fabric Initiative, is to support students whose resources have been diminished by the pandemic, and to help reduce industry waste.
Brands both new and established are participating, including David Koma, Natasha Zinko, Roksanda, Simone Rocha, Barbour, Gabriela Hearst, Victoria Beckham, Halpern and Paul Smith.
The deadstock fabrics will be donated to students finishing their BA degrees across 33 U.K. colleges.
The project is a continuation of the ReBurberry initiative piloted earlier this year by the BFC and Burberry, which donated its own fabric and helped create a centralized logistics process for more brands and colleges to participate.
This time, Burberry will support the delivery of the material while the BFC will oversee all logistics. Matchesfashion, creative consultant Cozette McCreery and the writer Charlie Porter also supported the initiative.
“This collective action is in response to the pandemic but will hopefully become a model for how designers and brands can give back in the years ahead, placing sustainability at the heart of U.K. fashion education,” Porter said.
Throughout the pandemic, and faced with factory closures, more designers have been resorting to upcycling, as well as fabric donation schemes to support students and up-and-coming talent.
Labels like Dunhill and McQueen have also started donating their surplus fabric, while up-and-coming British designer Deborah Lyons has set up Fabric Society, an online destination where fellow designers and students can source deadstock fabric for their work.
“Eventually we do want the deadstock to run out. The industry has a lot of catching up to do, and while we’re using up the deadstock, we also need to research new materials and get to a stage where fully recycled or sustainable fabrics are available to the wider public,” Lyons said.