RMIT Vietnam NewsUpcycling project instils sustainable thinking

Upcycling project instils sustainable thinking

Tuesday, April 2, 2019 - 10:23

RMIT fashion merchandising students have gained deep understanding of fashion sustainability from their hands-on experience in H&M’s upcycling project.

RMIT Vietnam students from the Fashion Materials course learned about fashion sustainability by upcycling unwanted garments collected from consumers.

Following the inaugural Fashion Conversations event in 2018, which discussed fashion sustainability and was jointly hosted by RMIT Vietnam, H&M and ELLE Vietnam, H&M gave RMIT Bachelor of Fashion Merchandising students the challenge of upcycling garments from its Garment Collecting Initiative.

Seven groups of students worked to research on the consumer waste clothing collected by H&M and created desirable outfit sets (top, bottom, accessories and bag) using the fashion waste.

“The fashion industry is changing, and actions have been undertaken by governments and brands to make fashion more sustainable,” said Professor Julia Gaimster, Head of Design for RMIT Vietnam’s School of Communication & Design.

“An example of the University’s focus on using authentic assessment and equipping students with tools to solve global issues, this project gave students in the Fashion Materials course a chance to start working with sustainable fashion from an industry perspective.”

Students showcased their work to a panel of H&M representatives, as well as RMIT Vietnam Head of Design Professor Julia Gaimster, Fashion Discipline Lead Nina Yiu and Fashion Senior Lecturer Dr Rajkishore Nayak.

Students showcased their work to a panel of H&M representatives, as well as RMIT Vietnam Head of Design Professor Julia Gaimster, Fashion Discipline Lead Nina Yiu and Fashion Senior Lecturer Dr Rajkishore Nayak.

At the pitching session, three selected groups presented their secondary research on fashion sustainability and how they developed their outfits from concept to creation.

Xin-Yi Wong, Sustainability Manager for H&M Southeast Asia, spoke highly of the students’ work.

“You can see that the students put a lot of effort into this. They really thought through the concept and applied the techniques and skills they learnt in this project,” she said.

Ms Wong also emphasised the importance of this project in equipping fashion students with the right mindset for the future.

“The project allows them to start thinking about sustainable fashion via a hands-on approach. They will learn that upcycling textile waste into fashionable garments is not easy. But at the same time, they will learn that waste is also a resource. It is important for the younger generation to start thinking out of the box to come up with innovative ideas that can create value out of waste,” she explained.

Ms Wong was particularly impressed with the Classic Old West set thanks to the cohesion which the team implemented throughout the outfit.

While applying fashion principles and concepts through the project, the students gained a big-picture understanding of fashion sustainability, as well as hands-on experience in upcycling.

Bachelor of Fashion (Merchandise Management) student Nguyen Ngoc Phuong Duyen said she learned a lot from the authentic learning project.

“We got to apply what we have learned about techniques and processes in class to this project, as well as practice new skills like printing, embroidery, felting and knitting,” she shared.

Tran Thi Phuong Thao, a student in the same program, added that the assignment boosted her creativity and will to learn.

“As a fashion lover, I became more aware of my buying decisions,” she said. “I also started to be interested and committed to learning ways to be creative with upcycling.”

The project brought in new perspectives and boosted creativity in the students.

Story: Thanh Phuong