A new exhibition by students at Heriot-Watt University’s world-renowned school of textiles and design opens on Tuesday (Image: Heriot-Watt University)
Clothes made from marine debris, jackets tailored from landfill material and a fire extinguisher reborn as a lamp are among the exhibits at a new Scottish exhibition showing how the design industry can help tackle climate change.
Old fishing nets, discarded fashion and even hospital drapes have been repurposed to explore how materials can be reimagined.
The exhibition is the work of staff and students from Heriot-Watt University’s world-renowned School of Textiles and Design in the Scottish Borders, whose alumni include the late fashion designer Dame Vivienne Westwood.
Surveys will literally ‘metamorphose’ with a new display every two weeks until March 31st.
Polished Pieces includes items made from recycled or reclaimed materials, while Deconstructed, opening January 31, explores sustainable methods of designing and manufacturing products and clothing, while New Ideas and New Resources, starting February 14 and 28, will focus on alternative ways of display waste. materials and the possibilities it offers designers.
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The latest exhibition, Speculation, opening on 16 March, will explore new areas of research and interest and will include workshops to encourage local communities to rethink the nature of waste material.
Sandy Maxwell-Forbes, Center Director for The Great Tapestry of Scotland, said: “We are delighted to be the first to host the major Metamorphosis exhibition in partnership with one of the most prestigious textile and design schools in the world.
“There is only one earth, and as we all begin to see the devastating effects of climate change, we must all do what we can to inspire and equip everyone to do what they can to protect it and communities, in which we live.”
The fashion industry annually produces more than 8% of greenhouse gases and 20% of global wastewater, according to the United Nations.
Dr Lucy Robertson, Assistant Professor of Design at Heriot-Watt’s School of Textiles and Design, said: “It is absolutely essential for designers to understand material qualities and properties. “While the ultimate goal is to eliminate waste, there is much to be learned from using what we as a society consider waste in creative projects.
“This exhibition asks us to think about how we view waste as a material – and to reassess its value.”
Exhibitors include Adele Davidson, a fourth-year Design for Textiles student at Heriot-Watt, who specializes in knitted textiles and uses ocean waste to make fashion garments.
Second year fashion students Bethany Whitaker, Mariana Finlyson, Freya Gillanders, Caragh Welsh and Sasha McAulay found, deconstructed and remade bespoke jackets that were destined for landfill.
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Qinrui Yang, a final year fashion student from China, used salvaged waste wool in clothing designs based on her childhood experiences as a twin.
Dr Euan Winton, Assistant Professor of Design at Heriot-Watt’s School of Textiles and Design, exhibits a discarded fire extinguisher which he has transformed into a distinctively graphic lamp.
Other exhibitors include Kenoteq, a Scottish cleantech spin-out from Heriot-Watt University, which has developed a brick made from recycled construction waste.
The Heriot-Watt School of Textiles and Design dates back to 1883 when courses in weaving, dyeing and chemistry were introduced to train workers for the local textile industry.
The exhibition opens at The Great Tapestry of Scotland Visitor Center in Galashiels on Tuesday.