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Our partnership with fashion students at Central Saint Martins

Last week, we headed to the internationally renowned and critically acclaimed arts college, Central Saint Martins, to meet groups of second year BA Fashion Communication & Promotion and BA Fashion Knitwear students. We’re delighted to be working with the college again this year on a design project, which aims to create fashion concepts from donated materials, giving new life to seemingly end-of-life clothes. 

The students are based in the awe-inspiring Granary Square complex – and on a warm sunny day, there’s nothing quite like walking up from Kings Cross station, navigating across the enormous water feature at the entrance and into the lofty building which was once a wheat store for London’s bakers. The creative energy is palpable here.

A few days earlier, we delivered half a tonne of unsorted textiles to the college. The talented young students will be using these preloved items to create a range of looks, inspired by the possibilities in used textiles, for which they will be assessed by their tutors. As a leader in textile reuse and recycling, we know that there is more value in used textiles than people think. It’s a privilege to be working together with Central Saint Martins to highlight this.

Once inside the building, we had the opportunity to meet with the students to tell them about the Salvation Army Trading Company, sharing with them the scale of our donation banks and charity shops, and how donations from the public help us to donate millions of pounds to The Salvation Army each year.

Lead design tutor, Peter Jensen – famous for his colourful and playful designs – then gave the students a theme for the project. He told the group a story of a yellow jumper he’d once bought from a Salvation Army charity shop, which he has kept to this day. With this in his mind, he chose ‘yellow’ for the theme of the project, much to the amusement and surprise of the students. They have free reign over the interpretation of the word ‘yellow’, and of course, these are Central Saint Martins’ students, whose alumni include Alexander McQueen and Stella McCartney… with this level of creativity, we’re excited to see just how the word ‘yellow’ will be interpreted through the design and presentation stages.

After they had rummaged through the bags of unsorted donations to select their items, the 40 students split into 10 groups. The groups’ task now will be to transform and present the pieces, creating four different looks that are inspired by the work of The Salvation Army and using the theme, ‘yellow’. They will check in with Peter Jensen every week; he will guide and encourage them towards their final critique on 6 June. With these students being the future of the fashion industry, we think we’re in for some truly innovative and inspiring fashion pieces. Watch this space.