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Fashion collection made entirely from donated fabrics

A fashion student has designed a catwalk collection made entirely from donated fabrics as a message to the clothing industry about sustainability.

Designs by Francesca Morgan
Designs by Francesca Morgan
Image by Becky Sherwin

Fashion collection made entirely from donated fabrics

A fashion student has designed a catwalk collection made entirely from donated fabrics as a message to the clothing industry about sustainability.

Francesca Morgan, 22, who’s studying BA Fashion Design at Nottingham Trent University, also omitted the use of any harmful dyes which can pollute waterways.

The fabrics she used were gathered from a variety of sources, including charity shops, her grandmother, scraps and end of roll fabrics, disused clothes, deadstock fabric and more.

Her final garments were also designed to be timeless, to increase the chances of them being handed down or resold, rather than sent to landfill.

“Fashion creates a high demand for coloured fabrics, and natural dyes lack the vibrancy of synthetic dyes,” said Francesca, from Ombersley in Worcestershire. “So that’s why we see a lot of synthetic dyes being used on clothes in the high street.

“But the problem is that synthetic dyes can be really bad for the environment when they are used in the manufacturing process.

“After a garment has been coloured, all the water containing residual dye - and its associated chemicals and micro-fibres - needs to be treated in order to remove the pollutants.

“But because this process is expensive, some factories around the world just leak their waste into rivers untreated because it is cheaper to do so and untraceable, which leads to massive amounts of water pollution.

“As hard as it sounds to believe, an estimated 20 per cent of water pollution comes from textile dyeing and treatment. And these toxic chemicals can kill marine life, reduce biodiversity and pollute drinking water.

“So what’s needed is for the fashion industry to remove the use of these dyes in their designs altogether, so that they are no longer desirable for the consumer.

“And the industry could do a much better job of being resourceful with wasted fabrics, as doing so will help reduce the amount of material that’s sent to landfill.”

Francesca’s designs - which went on display at Graduate Fashion Week - include two looks:

- Look One - Natural linen trousers, a white linen shirt, patchwork knitted bralette, and a cropped white jacket.

- Look Two - A two-piece jacket and trousers, silk shirt, knitted vest accessorised with  a bag and bucket hat.

They can be seen as part of Nottingham Trent University’s art and design Summer Show, which will see graduating artists and designers displaying their work as part of an online public exhibition on

Krystyna Kolowska, Senior Lecturer in Fashion Design at Nottingham Trent University, said: “Francesca has demonstrated how resourceful designers can be in helping minimise the footprint that fashion has on the planet.

“Her work highlights the importance of using dyes which do not damage waterways, and shows how sustainable solutions can be stylish while also providing greater clothing longevity.”

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    About Nottingham Trent University

    Nottingham Trent University (NTU) was named University of the Year 2019 in the Guardian University Awards. The award was based on performance and improvement in the Guardian University Guide, retention of students from low-participation areas and attainment of BME students.

    NTU was also the Times Higher Education University of the Year 2017, and The Times and Sunday Times Modern University of the Year 2018. These awards recognise NTU for its high levels of student satisfaction, its quality of teaching, its engagement with employers, and its overall student experience.

    The university has been rated Gold in the Government’s Teaching Excellence Framework – the highest ranking available.

    It is one of the largest UK universities. With over 37,000 students and more than 4,000 staff located across four campuses, the University injects £1.6bn into the UK economy. It has been the largest recruiter of UK undergraduates in each of the last four years. With an international student population of more than 6,000 and an NTU community representing around 160 countries, the University prides itself on its global outlook.

    The university is passionate about creating opportunities and its extensive outreach programme is designed to enable NTU to be a vehicle for social mobility. NTU is among the UK’s top five recruiters of students from disadvantaged backgrounds and was awarded University of the Year in the UK Social Mobility Awards 2019.

Fashion collection made entirely from donated fabrics

Published on 26 July 2021
  • Category: Press office; School of Art & Design

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