Tuesday, 14 October 2014 10:31

Clothing designers challenged to end 'throw-away culture' with cash award

A new clothing design award has been announced by waste efficiency organisation WRAP to target the environmental impact of clothes and save many billions in wasted resources.

clothes3WRAP have announced their search for fashion or textile designers that can show their flair for sustainable fashion: The brand new SCAP Extending the Life of Clothes Design Awards (SCAP ELC Awards) seek designers to develop innovative solutions to clothes that are wearable for longer. In return, the winner will receive £5,000 and the opportunity to progress their work and develop it for a commercial market.

WRAP, the organisation behind the Sustainable Clothing Action Plan (SCAP) and Love Your Clothes , has launched the new awards with support from Defra, British Fashion Council, The Knowledge Transfer Network, InnovateUK and ModeConnect.

Targeting the wearable lifetime of clothes through innovative design offers the biggest opportunity to tackle the environmental impacts of clothes.

clothes4For instance, WRAP research shows that if the active life of clothes were extended by just nine months it could reduce the carbon, water and waste footprints by 20-30% each, and save around £5 billion worth of the resources used to supply, launder and dispose of clothing!

The SCAP ELC Awards will challenge designers to address the key reasons for garment failure, which lead to items being thrown away. The concepts not only need to achieve solutions to longer life times, but also deliver ideas that are fashionable and saleable.

'Extending the life of clothes' is a key focus for the sector commitment, SCAP 2020, with many retailers, brands and even reprocessers signed up to it; all aiming to reduce the environmental impacts of clothes.

Marcus Gover, WRAP Director and ELC Awards judge, said: "This is a great opportunity for designers to bring this issue to life. By applying their creativity and innovation to either sourcing or developing low impact, high quality fibres, and engineering garments that will last longer, they can instigate real change. We need the sector to embrace this new approach to designing clothes."

Resources Management Minister Dan Rogerson said: "Their (designers) innovations can bring us closer to a more circular economy which will benefit both businesses and the environment."

The SCAP ELC Awards will be open to final year fashion and textile design undergraduates, MA students and professional fashion and textile designers from industry that live, work or study in England. Fashion designers can enter individually or collaborate with a textile designer to present their concepts.

clothes1All submissions will be assessed by a panel of judges made up of industry professionals and academics that collectively hold a wide range of knowledge and expertise in the sector; including: Amanda Johnston, Lecturer at the London College of Fashion and Consultant and Curator at the Sustainable Angle; Colin Thompson, Designer and Academic Programme Leader for Fashion Studies at the University of Derby; Clare Southworth, Head of Sustainable Products at Defra; and, Marcus Gover, Director at WRAP.

All interested applicants must register by 12 November 2014. Only registered applicants can submit their ideas. The closing date for submissions is midnight on 19 January 2015. Three finalists will be chosen and interviewed by the judging panel in February 2015 and the winner announced shortly after.

For details on how to register and to view the full awards brief and supporting information visit Follow the progress and get involved on Twitter by using #design4longevity. For any applicant enquiries please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Love Your Clothes
Valuing Our Clothes – The true cost of how we design, use and dispose of clothes in the UK
Sustainable Clothing Action Plan
SCAP 2020 Commitment