The Rise of Sustainable Designers | Doc Cotton

The Future of Sustainable Fashion #GraduateSpecial

What with the Government’s recent rejection of the #EAC Report and simultaneous pledge to legislate for zero net emissions by 2050, it is now up to individuals and brands alike to continue making a difference when it comes to fixing fashion.

More then ever, we will be looking towards future designers implementing sustainability and ethics at the forefront of their fashion journey.

We spoke to recent graduate designers who showcased at Graduate Fashion Week and are changing the game when it comes to the fashion industry!

Alice Kitching from Leeds Art University @alitkitdesigns

What is your zero waste collection about?

My graduate collection explored to what extent the zero waste design process directs the aesthetic and form of a garment and how this impacted upon the creative process of the designer. Zero waste pattern cutting means that no fabric is wasted in the design process, as approximately 15% of textiles is wasted before fashion even reaches the consumer. This is where zero waste design comes into play, as around 80% of a products environmental impact is locked in at the designer stage, therefore I think designers should make a conscious effort to do whatever they can.

Why is sustainability important to you and how did you get interested in it?

It is hard to be 100% sustainable but it is about making a conscience effort somewhere along the way. My collection is all about reducing textile waste and transforming what could have been waste. 

What materials have you used in your collection?

I have used all dead-stock material, using end of rolls where the fabric would otherwise just be thrown away. I was also lucky enough to have some fabric donated to me from Alfred Brown, a local mill in Leeds that make their wool on site and they donated their dead-stock fabric. By doing this, it is also reducing the carbon footprint of the process.

What would you like to tell our Doc Cotton readers what they can expect from you in the future?

Sustainable fashion is the future. It is a new definition for being elegant, stylish and fashionable and that’s what my collection is about. I’m graduating in July and hoping to get a job in pattern cutting or making to further my technical skills. I also want to learn about how the industry works before hopefully branching off in the future to  create my own zero waste brand.


Josephine Clarkson from Brighton University @josephine.artwork

What is your final project about?

My project, Offcut Knits is a campaign that gives 14-17 year olds an online home that aims to empower and nurture these individuals on their journey towards a more sustainable future, through knitting. Knitting can empower individuals through the sense of achievement gained when producing a piece of work. Producing an item allows an individual to take pride in their work, opening a gateway to help those unlock their potential and the ability to understand success within themselves. Knitting is one way we can strive towards a more sustainable future as you can knit using homemade yarn and unconventional needles i.e. offcuts from clothing, old textiles, plastic bags, etc. Knitting also allows a user to gain pride in their clothing/work so they are more likely to hang onto these pieces instead of throwing them away.

Why is sustainability important to you and how did you get interested in it?

Sustainability is important to me as it is our future and our children’s future we need to work towards protecting. For me, I find the concept of sustainability a daunting challenge that is a huge grey area in terms of what the correct way we should be tackling the issues of climate change and harm. Sustainability was never a big part of my life, don’t get me wrong. I recycled and always repaired my clothing but it wasn’t until I went to University that I understood the issue and wanted to do my bit contributing towards a sustainable future. My idea is based on the ‘make do and men’ principle and using what you already have in your homes. It’s the small things you can do at home that I think make the biggest changes i.e mending and valuing your clothing and opting for homemade instead of mass produced. Also it makes striving towards a sustainable future fun and not overwhelming.

Would you like to tell our Doc Cotton readers what to expect from you in the future?

For the future, I am working on making Offcut Knits a legitimate campaign!

We can’t wait to see what these two get up to!

Doc Cotton x