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Fashion EXPOsed

24 March 2011

Fashion exposed

When it comes to clothing, can you afford to care about what goes on behind the label?

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The University’s ESRC Centre for Business Relationships, Accountability, Sustainability and Society (BRASS) addressed this question with a recent fashion expo held at Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales, Cardiff.

The family fun day included craft activities, talks, and workshops. One of the talks entitled ‘How to be an ethical shopper’ was presented by Llyr Roberts, a Doctoral Researcher at BRASS.

There were also two fashion shows showcasing clothing with an ethical conscience. Key partners providing clothes for the catwalk were Fair Do’s, Halcyon Daze, Pre-Fab, Oxfam Boutique and Welsh designer Elinor Frankin.

Highlights of the fashion show included an ‘up-cycled’ skirt made from old ties, Fairtrade kaftans and fashionable trouser-suits, men’s organic cotton shirts, and the unique ‘Pollinator Frocks’ created by designer Elinor Franklin and Dr Karen Ingham of Swansea Metropolitan University.

These special dresses use pollen grains in their fabric and are coated with nectar-like substances to mimic the way insects relate to flowers. The thought behind this scientific approach to dress-making is to attract pollinators - such as bees, butterflies and moths – and raise awareness of the threat to their habitats from human activity and fewer green spaces in urban areas.

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Professor Ken Peattie, Director of BRASS, said: "BRASS is not looking to take the fun out of fashion, rather to add the thoughtfulness back in. The clothes in the fashion show were beautiful and special in terms of their ethical production and their benefits brought to both people and planet."

Fashion EXPOsed was part of National Science and Engineering Week (11–20 March), a 10 day programme of events running throughout the UK to celebrate science, engineering and technology. It also formed part of the University’s ‘Big Ideas’ series of public engagement events taking place during March.

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