Students’ design project places ethical fashion in focus

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Students are helping to forge a more ethical future for the fashion industry after working with a global manufacturer of eco-friendly faux fur and a leading animal charity to create statement garments.

Final year undergraduate Fashion Design students have embraced the opportunity to be part of the KOBA School project run by faux fur producer Ecopel and PETA UK (the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals).

Ecopel supplied 25 metres of sustainable and vegan faux fur for five students to feature as part of their designs. The clothes are currently being showcased in their final degree show collections.

All the materials used are from Ecopel’s disused stocks, promoting the concept of up-cycling, and a selection of KOBA® bio-based fur made using the Sorona® technology.

Delphine Wilson, Programme Leader for BA (Hons) Fashion Design, said: “The students’ enthusiasm and creativity has shone during this project. They have really enjoyed being part of the KOBA School – and have created stunning pieces from the faux fur.

“It has been a welcome highlight, especially in these times of a pandemic – and helps to spread among the new generation of designers the message that animal-free and sustainable materials are fundamental in fashion.

“We’re extremely grateful for the great opportunity to work with the feel-good materials, provoke discussions about animal use in fashion, and inspire change for a greener and more responsible textile industry.”

Student Georgia-Lea Clutton Baxter said: “It’s been really exciting to work with Ecopel faux fur on my final collection, as part of the KOBA School.

Student Georgia-Lea Clutton Baxter working on her design
Student Georgia-Lea Clutton Baxter working on her design.

“I am in love with the variety of faux furs Ecopel sent – the quality is amazingly soft and I was thrilled they had a pink option. My collection is about dyslexia and seeing the positivity within it, particularly for children, so I wanted to use bright colours and this fur’s been perfect for my designs.

“It’s been a fantastic opportunity and here in Fashion Design at the University of Chester, we believe that animal-free and sustainable materials are the future.”

Arnaud Brunois, from Ecopel, said: “We are particularly happy to help the new generation of designers. The creations made by the students are beautiful and demonstrate the fact that faux fur is a great versatile and progressive material that combines positive values such as creativity, sustainability and respect for animals.”

Elisa Allen, PETA Director, added: “The future of fashion lies in humane, eco-friendly materials, not animals’ fur and skins. We’re excited to help bring Ecopel’s innovative textiles to the University of Chester for a collaboration that showcases the many dazzling possibilities of vegan fashion.”

Ecopel has developed high end faux fur for more than 300 top fashion brands. For more information on Ecopel, KOBA® bio-based fur and the Sorona® technology please visit: www.ecopel.com.

For further details on PETA UK, please go to: www.peta.org.uk.

To see the students’ collections, take a look at www.cascgallery.co.uk/fashion-design-2021 which is part of the Un-locked online exhibition of work by graduating Art and Design students.

A video of students talking about being part of the KOBA School project can also be viewed at: https://youtu.be/pD16RDCXmrk while designs and more about the initiative can be found at: https://www.instagram.com/fashionatchester and https://www.facebook.com/fashionatchester.