On 9 February 2024, the University of the Arts hosted a full-day event bringing together the HEREWEAR community. The spotlight was on the vibrant network of fashion micro and small businesses in the London area, with 9 brands representing denim, shoes, menswear, and womenswear, all with an interest in and commitment to more sustainable practices.

Image 1. The workshop space at Chelsea College of Arts banqueting hall

The workshop was a practical session presenting the insights from the HEREWEAR project and using the new design toolkits developed by researchers. The workshop was facilitated by researchers at the University of the Arts London in partnership with HEREWEAR partners Circular.Fashion, Mai bine, Mitwill, Vretena, and TCBL

The key aims for the brand participants were:

  • Learn about biobased materials and how to use them in their collections
  • Be inspired by circular design strategies for bio-based and local fashion
  • Learn from the experience of HEREWEAR brand partners 
  • Take part in a design sprint and generate new ideas for bio-based, local, and circular fashion
  • Meet a network of like-minded London-based fashion MSMEs

Image 2. Partner Vretena shares their experience of bio-based, local, and circular fashion with workshop participants.

After an overview of the HEREWEAR project, the participants took on a redesign challenge. Guided by a HEREWEAR partner in each product-focused group, they brainstormed how to take an existing product from their range and make it bio-based, local, and circular. To support this creative process, HEREWEAR tools such as the bio-based material lifecycle map and the BIO TEN design guidelines were used as prompts and inspiration. The discussions addressed some key challenges that brands face when engaging with material innovation, such as changes in material performance or accessibility of alternative materials, whether a microbrand or one with more buying power. The participants enjoyed the opportunity to think differently from their day-to-day jobs and expressed an interest in using the HEREWEAR tools with the rest of their teams.

The next steps for the HEREWEAR team will be to take on the feedback from the workshop in a final review of the workshop tools before making them available to the HEREWEAR community.

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