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DMU gets global recognition for its sustainable fashion teaching


Sustainable fashion at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) has received global recognition in this year’s International Green Gown Awards.

The team at DMU’s School of Fashion and Textiles was highly commended in the awards, which are the gold standard for universities around the world.

Judges praised the way in which DMU had put sustainability at the heart of its curriculum and teaching, ensuring students gain a thorough understanding of the environmental issues facing the fashion industry and the positive impact they, as the next generation of designers, makers and artists, could have.

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Carolyn Hardaker, Head of the School of Fashion and Textiles, said: “I am delighted that the School has achieved global recognition by being highly commended at the international Green Gown Awards.

“The Next Generation Learning and Skills is such an important category and the work the School is undertaking which encompasses curriculum alignment to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, research and industry engagement. This empowers our students with the potential to make a real impact in the industry when they graduate.”

DMU was through to the international awards after winning the UK’s Green Gowns Trophy earlier this year. Some 56 universities were entered and just 12 awarded highly commended.

Sustainability is a huge focus for DMU, which is the only UK university to be a hub for the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) - a series of 17 targets to make the world a better place.

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The School of Fashion and Textiles, which is home to 1,200 students, recognised that the fashion industry needs seismic change to tackle challenges such as fast fashion, synthetic materials that take decades to decompose, and unethical supply chains.

Students are set creative briefs from industry that focus on sustainability and the principles of recycling and reuse. The numbers of outfits produced for final collection has been reduced from six to two, cutting the environmental impact.

A £30,000 fund has been created which offers small grants to help help students researching projects that focus on sustainable fashion. So far more than 100 students have been given money towards ideas including zero waste pattern cutting and leather alternatives.

Research into sustainable textile design and manufacturing processes, circular fashion and the ‘slow fashion’ movement aim to find an alternative to today’s throwaway culture.

The winners were announced last night (Wednesday July 6), as part of the United Nations High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development.

Matt Christensen, Global Head of Sustainable and Impact Investing at Allianz Global Investors, which sponsors the awards, said: “Creating a more sustainable future goes beyond combating climate change. It is about protecting our environment, fostering biodiversity, and ensuring that we make this important transition without leaving anyone behind. It is therefore critical that all of us – companies, academia, and policymakers – work together to solve the challenges we are facing. Every action counts.

“Seeing the ideas submitted to this year’s International Green Gown Awards gives me the confidence that we will not run out of sustainable investment opportunities in the future. We are pleased to be a partner to support and recognise such an inspiring group of entrepreneurs.”

Fiona Goodwin, CEO (Interim), EAUC which runs the Green Gown Awards, said: “We are delighted to announce our 2022 winners. We hope that universities and colleges from all around the world will take inspiration from their example and raise the bar on climate action.

“From India to Colombia to Malaysia and Canada and many more, our winners show how important it is for universities and colleges to tackle the climate and biodiversity crisis. With such fantastic projects we are already looking forward to hearing from many more institutions in 2023!”

Posted on Thursday 7th July 2022

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