Fashion students at Kingston School of Art impressed the competition at a recent sustainable fashion awards show in Hong Kong.

The Redress Design Awards is held annually in Hong Kong and seeks to be at the forefront of reimagining the fashion industry for sustainability and ethical choices instead of so-called 'fast fashion'.

Two Kingston Uni students impressed attendees with garments they submitted for the catwalk, including Lili Sipek’s collection called REuniFORM, which featured clothes designed and made from old school uniforms.

Using patchwork techniques and quilting, Lili reconstructed second-hand school uniforms donated from schools in the Kingston area, into high-end fashion garments.

Her collection was made after her research showed that 1.4 million wearable school uniforms are thrown away in the UK each year. "I have school-aged children in my family and knowing how many uniforms goes to waste each year inspired me to create this collection and try help solve this issue," the Kingston student said.

"I made ties out of white school shirts to add detachable elements to the garments. By taking off these ties, the sleeves can be shortened, the long trousers can be made into shorts, and the pockets can also be detached,” Lili, who is from Hungary, explained. "I also added old school shoelaces to the bottom half of the dress so that when the laces are pulled, it transforms into a short top," she said, pointing out that greater chances to customise clothes lessen the need to constantly purchase and thus make more and more.

Meanwhile, fashion student Kristina Vyzaite also produced a zero-waste collection which made it to the final of the Redress Design Awards 2021.

Her womenswear collection was called Nerimas – which means Anxiety in Lithuanian. Kristina spent a period of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic isolating with her parents in Lithuania, and her collection features crocheted panels inspired by that experience.

"When I was back at home during the pandemic, my mum would put crocheted placements on the table. I found it really interesting to see that she was still using them, and I wanted to explore how I could re-use them and give them a new purpose,” Kristina said. "It felt quite symbolic for me as if the placements held a lot of my personal memories, used as the centrepiece for my family gatherings in Lithuania for years," she added.

All her garments were made from crocheted textiles like tablecloths and placemats, plus 'deadstock' fabrics, which Kristina hand-dyed using pigments from home grown vegetable plants. "I used beetroot, blueberries and blue cabbage, and boiled these with turmeric and vinegar to create the different shades you see," she said.

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