ECA students give surplus fabric a purpose

Building on the success of a textile repurposing project in collaboration with Zero Waste Scotland and IKEA, students at Edinburgh College of Art recently showcased a collection of hand-crafted bags at February’s Sustain.Ed festival.

It’s an important question in manufacturing: what should you do with leftover materials which are not sufficient enough to create the products currently on the production line?

An obvious solution is to repurpose them – something that ECA Textile Lecturer Shirley Mclauchlan is passionate about.

1n 2016, Shirley worked with Zero Waste Scotland and IKEA on a project which investigated what manufacturers could do with excess fabrics. The project engaged a group of textile students from Edinburgh College of Art who tested how to turn textile material deemed as possessing no commercial value into sell-able products.

Although the project finished in 2016, textile students have continued to be inspired by sustainable design and the possibilities of working with surplus fabric. In February 2017, they showcased their so-called “Etc.” range of bags made from leftover IKEA fabric at the Sustain.Ed Sustainable Fashion Show.

The students were adamant that the bags did not look “recycled”, instead having a high-quality aesthetic and durability whilst still being mindful of the afterlife of the product in order to minimise environmental impact.

The students now wish to set up a social enterprise project that can be carried forward for future ECA students. Central to this is ensuring the products sell at a profit, both to fund further project work and also to give the enterprise the option to use surplus profit to support local charities.

Watch this space!

For more information on Etc, contact Shirley Mclauchlan.

Find out more about the original textile repurposing project by reading the Project Paper.