Sustainability: Research

Research is vital in any educational setting, as it is ultimately what challenges preconceptions and expands our imaginations.
At LCF, the pioneering research of staff such as Dr Kate Fletcher, Professor Helen Storey and Professor Lucy Orta, is challenging fashion’s environmental footprint and inspiring dialogue around the issues of sustainability.
Dr Kate Fletcher, reader in Sustainable Fashion at the Centre for Sustainable Fashion, is responsible for the Local Wisdom project, started in 2009, which explores resourceful practices associated with using clothes.
Local Wisdom portraits. Image via Centre for Sustainable Fashion by Paul Allister
She aims to challenge the fashion industry’s dependency on continuously making more products, by encouraging the sustained use of garments, giving them substantial attention and encouraging their longevity.
Local Wisdom gathers stories and images from the public of how people use their clothes and tries to integrate these use-practices into new business models.
I took part in this project myself, when the project came to London, I spoke about alternative dress codes and how my style has evolved over the years to involve key peices of clothing that I always return to.
Kate’s research is ultimately making us re-examine our relationship with what we wear and challenge the ease with which we discard our clothing.
Another member of our Centre for Sustainable Fashion, Professor of Fashion Science, Helen Storey, has been using fashion and technology in revolutionary ways with the aim of improving our wellbeing.
Helen Storey’s catalytic dress. Image via Centre for Sustainable Fashion by Trish Belford
Her current project, Catalytic Clothing seeks to explore how clothing and textiles can be used as a catalytic surface to purify the air around us. Her pioneering work, has brought the worlds of art and science together, producing hybrid products which challenge the status quo.
We believe that collaboration between the arts and sciences will be critical in inspiring progress in environmental and social issues. Fashion can no longer be exclusively for the young and glamorous, with an ageing population and pressing environmental concerns, future fashion needs to become more practical; Helen is paving the way for this to be the case.
Finally, Professor Lucy Orta, Professor of Art and the Environment at LCF, in creative partnership with Jorge Orta, is another eco-pioneer who uses art as an agent for awareness and change on issues of sustainability.
Together, they have exhibited projects such as such as OrtaWater which highlighted the corporate control over clean water, and Refuge Wear, which involved creating temporary shelters that could be transformed into clothing to offer protection in emergency situations, in a bid to highlight the plight of the homeless.
Their international shows, have called a global audience’s attention to environmental or social problems and encouraged constructive dialogue around these issues.
Refuge Wear. Image via London College of Fashion Research Publication
Our academics’ projects have already begun to enhance public awareness and understanding of major sustainability issues. They have proved that by asking original questions, together with creative and rigorous research, we can bring Better Lives to life.