London College of Fashion

Better Lives is a term used by London College of Fashion (LCF) (part of University of the Arts London) to describe the work they do which uses fashion, as a discipline, to drive change, build a sustainable future and improve the way we live our lives. Through a wide agenda, London College of Fashion encourages a dialogue between staff, students and the wider community to develop an understanding and definition of what sustainability means to us all.

Here are a number of their projects, initiatives and collaborations that reflect their belief in using fashion as a catalyst for change:

Fashion Education in Prisons

In the summer of 2012, LCF’s School of Media and Communication embarked on a collaboration with a women’s prison to produce a unique publication, entitled The Beauty’s Inside.

Funded by Sir John Cass’s Foundation, the magazine brought together eleven serving women offenders and eleven students from across the School who, over the course of 10 weekly workshops held at the prison last term, worked together to produce content inspired by and relevant for the women prisoner readership.

The magazine, also printed by prisoners at HMP Maidstone’s Printshop, was distributed to all inmates at the prison in early August and forms part of LCF’s wider commitment to the rehabilitation of women offenders, following two womenswear design projects undertaken at the same prison over the previous two academic years.

The College received a Green Gown Award 2011 for this project in the Social Responsibility category.

LCF and St Joseph’s Hospice, Hackney

In June 2012, London College of Fashion started an inspiring collaboration between three Hackney-based organisations: the young people of Cardinal Pole School and The Urswick School, volunteers of St. Joseph’s Hospice and day patients of the Hospice.

The volunteers at the Hospice picked out suitable material from their donations which were prepared by the day visitors, who cut and flattened the material. The students from the Hackney schools then cut the pattern pieces, designed by LCF tailoring students, creating a range of items such as mobile phone covers, laptop covers and tote bags.

This project provided learning opportunities for local school children and helped LCF students to look beyond their field of study.

LCF Loves You

London College of Fashion instigated the concept of street casting for models in 2011 in order to move away from homogenous fashion images to a look which celebrates the diversity of its community. The result is that the street-cast models create catwalk shows and editorial photo-shoots which are alive, vibrant and diverse, reflecting how much LCF loves fashion and the people who make it happen.

Green Spaces

The University of the Arts Green Space initiative aims to create outside spaces which are inspiring; promote environmental sustainability as well as being places of sanctuary within the bustling city.

At London College of Fashion’s site in Hackney, students and staff have worked together with the local community to create the Cordwainers’ Community Garden. The Garden is an inspiring place for students, staff and the local community to visit and relax and its dye garden, in particular, will be a wonderful legacy for future UAL students to use and enjoy.

Centre for Sustainable Fashion

Established four years ago, London College of Fashion’s Centre for Sustainable Fashion (CSF) is something of a trailblazer as it connects research, education and business in order to support, inspire and create innovative approaches to fashion. Examples of the CSF work include:
• Business Support Programme which offers subsidised mentoring to London-based fashion companies in order to help them balance the commercial demands of the current market with a future facing approach which allows long-term resilience and brand loyalty.
• Sustainability in Design - The CSF is committed to embedding a culture of design for sustainability within all of the College’s courses and in so doing has developed a staff development module to channel debate and knowledge in this area. The Introduction to Design for Sustainability is a half-day session available to all academic staff at London College of Fashion and introduces and explores the context of fashion and its contribution to society, culture, ecology and the economy.
• UN BioTrade Initiative - The CSF has an established relationship with the United Nations Council for Trade and Development through their BioTrade Initiative – a programme of work that promotes biodiversity across various industries and economies. The UN supported the Fashioning the Future Awards 2011 and is now working with students from MA Fashion Footwear and MA Fashion & the Environment to explore the use of a number of niche materials that promote biodiversity when sourced responsibly. Find out more at

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Main Contact Name: Camilla Howarth
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