We caught up with the sustainability team at Leeds RAG Fashion Show 2020

Co2 Emissions? Never heard of her x


For the very first time in Leeds RAG Fashion Show history, the committee have added a sustainability team that are dedicated to ensuring the show is as green as can be.

As well as pushing this year's #CHANGEISCOMING tagline, the team oversee and approve every decision that makes up LRFS 2020.

We caught up with all those involved to ask just exactly what has changed this year.

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What are LRFS doing to ensure the 2020 show is their most sustainable yet?

"So this year is the first year that LRFS has had a sustainability team who are dedicated to making sure sustainable practices run throughout the show and that we are doing as much as we can to make a positive impact. My team have been super busy since day one working with all aspects of the show, from production to marketing to helping the committee teams with ideas and research.

"This year LRFS used QR codes for the first time in an effort to reduce ink and flyers, and our VIP team have been so proactive in contacting many sustainable companies – so keep your eyes peeled for those goodie bags!

"We looked at how we could fundraise for our charities in low waste ways, and we're making our staging circular so nothing will be going to waste after show day. We've also shown how single-use plastic doesn't have to go in the bin by making geometric decorations from used plastic straws.

"Last semester we ran a clothes swap with over 100 items of clothing handed in and leftover clothes went to a local social enterprise. We also worked with the amazing LRFS Charities team on the Sustainability Panel a couple of days ago and had some really in-depth discussions."

What does a typical day look like for the sustainability team in the run up to the show?

"I know it's cliché, but there really isn't a typical day for sustainability. Currently, we're working on one last major project called Emissions Calculations, so a lot of our focus is on that in the run-up to the show – it's a bit more of a subtle project with a LOT of time spent on excel and collecting data but it's still so important for us to calculate our impact on show night so that we can work to offset this and challenge ourselves next year to beat it."

Why is sustainability so important in the fashion world?

"At the LFRS panel, Dr Lucie Middlemiss from the Sustainability Research Institute said that the fashion industry produces 20% wastewater and 10% of global carbon emissions – that's huge when you think about the impact it has on the environment.

"Designers are working towards more sustainable solutions and there are low water, low heavy metal manufacturing processes out there. But what makes those numbers manageable for me is that this is something we can do something about. It's not a flight every year; fashion is our every day.

"Even if you're not a "fashionista" or an Instagram model you can still learn about where your clothes are coming from and the human rights practices of the companies involved in making your clothes. The internet can be your greatest tool in making conscious choices about your buying."

Do you have any tips on how people can dress more sustainably?

"I would say first check your wardrobe as there could be some old gems in there that have come back into fashion or something that you can repurpose or re-sew.

"Learn to sew, or to mend (or find a friend who can). Hubbub, one of the charities we are fundraising for at LRFS, mentioned at the panel how powerful the internet is for DIY fixing and mending. You can even make unique custom designs so no one will ever turn up at a party wearing the same thing as you.

"One amazingly easy but effective way to dress more sustainably is by clothes swapping. Leeds Community Clothes Exchange in Woodhouse Community Centre holds a clothes swap every month with thousands of members. Harriet from Leeds Sustainability Service also suggests smaller clothes swaps between friends- the more we do it and ask to borrow, the more common it will become."

What are you most excited for in this year's show?

"Seeing the effort that the LRFS committee, the models, and the supporters have put in within the last few months finally coming to life. At the same time raising money for our amazing charities Hubbub and Plastic Oceans UK. What more can you ask for?"