College works with Sudbury silk mill on sustainable fashion

Sarah Sherry and Kelly Salter (centre) from Stephen Walters & Sons with the West Suffolk College fas

Sarah Sherry and Kelly Salter (centre) from Stephen Walters & Sons with the West Suffolk College fashion & textiles students and their final project Picture: WEST SUFFOLK COLLEGE - Credit: West Suffolk College

Fashion and textiles students from West Suffolk College have joined forces with Sudbury-based Stephen Walters & Sons silk mill to work on a project producing sustainable fashion.

The students were invited to the mill and had a tour of the whole process from design to manufacture of the woven fabric.

The students were then given a pack of fabric and yarn to incorporate into a 3D outcome.

Any other fabrics and materials used as part of the project were donated or upcycled - no materials were brought in brand new.

Team members from the mill then visited the college last week to review the students work and to hand out certificates for their hard work and commitment to the project.

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Emily Streatfeild, fashion and textiles course director said: "Working with Stephen Walters was an amazing opportunity for our students to experience the exciting fashion and textile industry and to collaborate with a local business.

"The students gained so much from visiting the mill and seeing first-hand the wide range of processes involved in producing woven fabrics.

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"Working with the pack of fabric remnants provided by Stephen Walters really enabled students to consider the impact of the fashion textiles industry on the environment and they have produced a wide range of extremely exciting outcomes to promote this.

"The team at Stephen Walters have been absolutely brilliant, from initiating the project to coming in to give feedback on the results, and we look forward to collaborating with them again in the future."

Sarah Sherry, design manager from the silk mill said: "We all have a responsibility to make a positive impact on our society and it has been fantastic to work with these students on this project.

"It has been great for us to work with the students on what we must all be considering in the fashion industry.

"It has also been important for us to take a look back at our heritage and to see how far we have come as a business in ensuring purposeful design.

"We have thoroughly enjoyed working with the college and we will look to display some of their fantastic work at our 300-year celebrations next year. We are keen to build on this partnership going forwards."

Student India Lloyd, aged 18, from Ipswich said she and the rest of the course had really enjoyed the project.

"It's been great to work as part of a collaboration to work towards something," she said.

"I think we all need to be more aware of our environment and this project has allowed us to be creative whilst demonstrating the fact we all have a responsibility to practice being more eco-friendly."

As part of the college's commitment to practicing sustainable fashion students held a clothes 'swapping event' where students and staff were encouraged to give clothes a second chance and to swap them instead of buying brand new.

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