Researchers at the University of Portsmouth are calling for a radical change in the fashion industry to help halt the plastic waste crisis.
The University of Portsmouth is joining a global fashion revolution to help improve both the environmental and human costs that go into making the clothes we wear.
Fashion Revolution Week (22-29th April) marks the tenth anniversary of the Rana Plaza factory collapse in 2013, which killed 1,134 people in Dhaka District, Bangladesh. With climate change very much on the agenda - it is also a time to highlight the need for radical change within the industry.
Noorin Khamisani, Senior Lecturer in Fashion and Textiles, says: “Over the past decade, the call for sustainable fashion has increased. Despite this, progress towards a sustainable fashion industry is too slow in the context of the climate crisis and increasing social injustice. To amplify solutions from overlooked places, Fashion Revolution Week 2023 will be an action-packed campaign focused on the future.”
With the world focused on the current negotiations for a Global Plastics Treaty it is also an opportunity to highlight the current issues of plastic use within the context of fashion and textiles.
Progress towards a sustainable fashion industry is too slow in the context of the climate crisis and increasing social injustice
Noorin Khamisani, Senior Lecturer in Fashion and Textiles
Noorin Khamisani explains: “Each year, the industry uses 342 million barrels of petroleum to produce plastic-based fibres such as polyester, nylon or acrylic. This equates to 1.35 per cent of the globe’s oil consumption. Worse still, these plastic-based fibres are responsible for 73 percent of microfibers pollution in Arctic waters and the plastic packaging on which the fashion industry is largely reliant, is estimated to make up 26 per cent of the total volume of plastics created each year – 72 percent of which is thrown away. However, if you choose to measure its impact, the numbers are staggering.”
The University of Portsmouth will support Fashion Revolution week through various events organised by staff and students from the Fashion and Textiles courses and research group. The events include a fashion exhibition, a clothes swap, workshops, an online panel discussion on creating a radical fashion system, and a pop-up exhibition of experimental textiles.
The highlight of the week will be the “Vision for Radical Change” exhibition by final year students. Each project demonstrates a vision for radical change through a specific approach to fashion and textiles design for sustainability. These approaches include natural dyes, upcycling old garments, deadstock fabrics to create new products, upcycling factory/cutting room floor waste and organic fabrics.
The issue of plastic use within the context of fashion and textiles will also be explored in more detail at the PlasticsFuture 2023 conference being held at the University of Portsmouth in June.
The University is leading its own revolution - on plastic pollution, which is now being recognised as a major issue for the global fashion industry.
Dr Cressida Bowyer, Deputy Director of the University’s Revolution Plastics
Dr Cressida Bowyer, Deputy Director of the University’s Revolution Plastics initiative, says: “The University is leading its own revolution - on plastic pollution, which is now being recognised as a major issue for the global fashion industry. The PlasticsFuture 2023 event will be a chance for teams of scientists, business-leaders, campaigners and citizens who share our ambition to transform the way we make, use and dispose of plastics.”
To learn more about Fashion Revolution visit www.fashionrevolution.org
University of Portsmouth Fashion Revolution Week’s Schedule:
Saturday 22nd to 29th April 2023
A Vision for Radical Change exhibition in Eldon Foyer.
This exhibition is a snapshot of the work-in-progress by final year students from our BA (hons) Fashion & Textile Design course. Each project evidences a vision for radical change through a specific approach to fashion and textiles design for sustainability. These approaches include: natural dyes, upcycling old garments, deadstock fabrics to create new products, upcycling factory/cutting room floor waste, regenerative fashion, modular design, organic fabrics and cultural sustainability.
Monday 24th April 2023
4.15pm Fashion Activism Workshop 45 mins in Eldon Foyer.
What can we learn about fashion through the lens of the humble t-shirt? This short workshop introduces you to the role of fashion in activism, each participant will create their own design informed by the Fashion Revolution theme for 2023. Led by Noorin Khamisani, Senior Lecturer in Fashion & Textiles.
Wednesday 26th April 2023
12.00-1.30pm Clothing swap in Eldon Foyer. (Drop off 9am-10am)
The popular clothes swap returns! Bring in your quality unloved or outgrown items of clothing and swap them for something else to love. For each item you bring you can swap for another for FREE. Nothing to swap? You can buy an item for just £1. All proceeds will go to Fashion Revolution.
Drop off 9.00am to 10.00am
12.30pm Refashioning plastic workshop 1 hour in Eldon Foyer.
Refashioning Plastics. Come along to this workshop to create a fashion accessory from plastic waste. Led by Amy Barnes, final year student (BA (hons) Fashion & Textile Design).
Come along and join Amy’s fun workshop where you will be learning how to make a fashion accessory from a plastic material that was once seen as waste. Like Amy, you will turn plastic ‘rubbish’ into something exciting and unique, together we can help save the planet one plastic bag at a time!
Thursday 27th April 2023
5.30 - 6.30pm Online Panel Discussion: A Vision for Radical Change
Register via Eventbrite. https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/a-vision-for-radical-change-tickets-601476601707
Join us this Fashion Revolution Week for an online panel discussion exploring: A Vision for Radical Change.
Friday 28th April 2023
10am - 12pm Exploratory Fashion Practice Mini-exhibitions in Eldon Foyer.
This is a work-in-progress exhibition displaying process driven results from the second year module ‘Exploratory Practice’. This module was created by Dr Lara Torres to engage students in a process of multidisciplinary exploratory practices, requiring them to identify areas of interest in regards to materials and/or processes. These will be tested in order to develop emergent or innovative ways of working. The samples presented at this show are the results from a bioplastics workshop, our students are invited to display tests and guide you through their in-progress sketchbooks.