NTU Fashion Design students upcycle ‘textile waste’ to create outerwear garments for people experiencing homelessness

Last week launched the #EmmanuelhouseNTU project for the third time running. We spoke to over 100 Level 1 Fashion Design students at Nottingham Trent University about what homelessness means, how it can happen and the vital services provided by Emmanuel House.

The project was launched at a virtual presentation to over 100 level 1 students and challenged them to make items of clothing for rough sleepers in Nottingham using textile waste. Students heard from a beneficiary, who has recently been staying our night shelter. He told them about his experience of rough sleeping and his critical need to be safe, secure, warm and dry. The students were encouraged to think about how their design work could really make a difference and have a positive impact on the lives of people experiencing homelessness, in crisis, rough sleeping or at risk of homelessness.

The aim of the project is to make outerwear garments from second hand textiles that can be used by beneficiaries at Emmanuel House, including rough sleepers.

To make their designs, the students will source second-hand textiles and garments from the Emmanuel House Charity Shop and donations from businesses, family and friends. When considering the project brief and the needs of our beneficiaries, we explained that textiles with properties that are waterproof, hard wearing, warm, windproof and light will be most valuable to rough sleepers.

Considering both functionality and the overall aesthetic, each student will design and create an outerwear garment which could either be chosen and utilised by a beneficiary, or sold in the Emmanuel House charity shop.

Alison Escott, Senior Lecturer, BA Fashion Design, said: “Working with Emmanuel House in this collaborative project, educates and inspires young fashion designers. Ultimately this project is a series of problem -solving tasks, from re-purposing suitable waste textiles to re-using them with the needs of a specific end user in mind- the service uses of Emmanuel House”.

Denis Tully, CEO of Emmanuel House said: “Past collaborations with NTU on this project have been tremendously beneficial for vulnerable adults and I am delighted that the project is moving into its third year.”

NTU Partnerships Manager, Maggie Burnett, added “This project enables our students to connect with an inspiring Nottingham charity and engage with the needs of a community that is often overlooked. Not only does the challenge involve creative upcycling and sustainable design thinking, it raises awareness of wider local community issues and a chance for businesses to support a very worthy initiative.”

Thank you to brands within the Pentland Group for their generous donations of fabric and outerwear garments for this project.

Later in the year students will have the opportunity to showcase their work. The garments will then be made available for beneficiaries to utilise or go on sale in the Emmanuel House Charity Shop. You can follow progress and find out more about the project with #EmmanuelHouseNTU on Facebook and Instagram.

See the 2019 Emmanuel House and NTU design challenge video here.

Please note: The Emmanuel House Charity Shop is currently closed due to the pandemic and hopes to reopen later in the year. Follow us @emmanuelhousecharityshop on Facebook and Instagram for the latest updates.