Newport fashion students set ethical challenge

South Wales Argus: Bethan Willicombe, left  with student Elly Shone Bethan Willicombe, left with student Elly Shone

FASHION students at the University of South Wales' city campus have accepted a challenge to create an new ethical Welsh fashion brand.

Following the devastation caused by the Rana Plaza building collapse in Bangladesh earlier this year, where garment workers lost their lives, Welsh businessman Shelim Hussain MBE was determined that something good would come of it.

His new venture is set to provide jobs and careers in Wales, as well as a direct ethical pay-back for the work force in Bangladesh where the product will be manufactured responsibly.

The challenge for the students is to create a new Wales-based designer brand for the high street aimed at consumers aged 35 and over.

The brand must be ethically produced, but be at the forefront of contemporary inspirational fashion design as well as high standards of quality, cut, and fit.

The brand is yet to be named, but Irene Dee, programme leader for fashion design at the city campus, has dubbed it "Project X".

She said: "We're delighted to be working on such a live brief which will support and develop the Welsh talent that emerges from the university.

"The students will gain invaluable industry experiences working through the stages and processes of the fashion design manufacture and production stages, through to marketing sales and promotion.

"Everyone involved in the project has a vested interest in developing the new fashion brand."

The new designer brand collections will be launched at London Fashion Week 2014. Irene and the students will be visiting the fabric mills and manufacturing factories in Bangladesh to oversee sampling and production early in the new year.

The Design Award for the winning fashion brand is £1,000 and a year’s contract designing for the new brand at a studio and head office due to open next year.

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