University of Chester students want to make a difference with charity shop’s fashion collection – FE News

Fashion design and photography students at the University of Chester are working with charity shops and a leading UK gallery to breathe new life into old garments and showcase the transformations.

The students, in collaboration with Save the Children and SHARE (Supporting Homeless, Assisting Refugees Everywhere) Aid, have developed and documented the new, creative, stylish and sustainable collection made from donations from charity shops and used textiles. The project was developed in collaboration with the Open Eye Gallery in Liverpool.

The work is currently on display at the Save the Children Shop and ShareShop in Chester City Centre, along with fashion photographs by the students of the designs, which can be seen on the outside walls of the Open Eye Gallery in Liverpool. The digital screen video in the gallery is also intended to shed light on the project’s journey from its inception to its stunning results.

The exhibitions are part of the LOOK Photo Biennial 2022: Climate Festival taking place at various locations across the North West and supported by the Philip Barker Center for Creative Learning.

Students have designed a range of men’s and women’s clothing, as well as gender-neutral pieces. They also took part in photo shoots at the SHARE Aid depot in Mold and the Save the Children Chester shop to show where the clothes originally come from.

The fashion design students who offered their skills to create the Make, Mend and Sustain collection are: Louise Morgan; Rebecca Porter; Kerrigan Collins, Katriona Heir; Savior Jaffier; Natasha Rowland; Jessica Rimmer; Sophie Pomfrey; Diane Maccabe and Annie Dinis. The photography students who captured the stunning images are: Simon Hyde; Emily Johnson; Annabel Carter and Charlie Harris.

Fashion design student Louise Morgan described her experience working on the project:

“Having the opportunity to work with Open Eye, SHARE Aid and Save the Children has been great. As well as promoting sustainability, it was incredible to see the work the charities are doing for the local communities. I think my favorite piece I made for this was the corset bodice and dump skirt. The whole experience was fantastic, especially the collaboration with everyone involved.”

Rebecca Porter, a fashion design student, added:

“Sustainability is very important to me and I believe there is still a lot more that can be done to improve sustainability in the fashion industry – this project is a great example of that. With the influencer culture being so big right now, people are buying a lot more new clothes than they used to, which usually just end up in landfill. This project was about encouraging people to buy less and use what they already have. Upcycling is easy for everyone and it’s a small contribution we can make to tackle the climate crisis.”

Delphine Wilson, Program Manager for BA (Hons) Fashion Design and Dr. Cian Quayle, Associate Professor and Program Manager for BA (Hons) Photography, coordinated and guided the students’ work with the support of guest lecturers: Jen John in Fashion and AJ Wilkinson in Photography.

Delphine said: “We are delighted to be part of this exciting collaboration that highlights how creativity and transformation can bring new life and value to second-hand clothing and offer more sustainable ways of living.

“The students really enjoyed sharing their skills and have benefited tremendously from collaborating with each other and with all partners, learning more about sustainability, the work of charities, Open Eye and the fashion and photography industries.”

Cian added: “We have been working with Open Eye Gallery for many years and didn’t hesitate to take part when they brought this project to us in conjunction with their work with Slum Studio in Ghana and as part of the Look Photography Biennial: Climate Festival.

“We hope to curate another exhibition of this work later in the year at CASC (Contemporary Art Space Chester) or at the University’s Kingsway site to further showcase the hard work of the students and the message ‘Make, Mend and Sustain’.”

He thanked those who made the project possible including: Sarah Fisher of the Open Eye Gallery; Nuria Rovira Terrades; Diane Hamilton; the ShareShop and Save the Children teams, as well as university colleagues Paula Johnson; Tabitha Jussa and Tom Hignett.

Works from the Make, Mend and Sustain collection are on display at Save the Children, 9 Grosvenor St, Chester, CH1 2DD and ShareShop, 50 Northgate St, Chester, CH1 2HA until August 5th.

The two large images currently on the exterior walls of the Open Eye Gallery in Liverpool, one of the longest established contemporary photography galleries in the UK, are by students Simon Hyde and Charlie Harris. For more information on the exhibitions visit:

The work is also shared on Instagram @fashionatchester.

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