You can't be a Goldsmith Vintage customer without knowing we take disposable fast fashion and its catastrophic contribution to global climate change extremely seriously. Our items are either original, vintage or part of our Rework collection, and we reuse around 30 tons of garments every year.
Fashion production is the second largest contributor to climate breakdown after oil, responsible for 10% of humanity's carbon emissions as well as drying up water sources, and polluting streams and rivers. Additionally, roughly 85% of all textiles go to the dump each year (UNECE, 2018) including 300,000 tons in the UK alone, and washing certain fabrics sends a significant quantity of microplastics into our oceans.
We can't stand by and do nothing, which is why at Goldsmith Vintage we decided to launch our Alter Eco competition last year to take ‘doing our bit’ to the next level. The aim was to discover and showcase the most exciting emerging young talent within the fashion world while at the same time making a high-profile commitment to combatting fast fashion's disastrous effects.
The brief was simple. Each student received 1.5kg of vintage deadstock (second-hand clothing that would otherwise not be sold) and thread, and had four months to design and create an original garment that embodied the idea of circular fashion.
This year’s competition attracted entrants from well-respected fashion courses including Kingston School of Art, Middlesex, Central Saint Martins and Salford. The finalists were judged by an expert panel on originality, creative vision and lack of waste. Judges included double BAFTA award-winner PC Williams, Fashion Designer and Sustainability Consultant Patrick McDowell, author Lauren Bravo and fashion editor Joy Montgomery.
We announced the winners at a special event at our flagship Neal Street store in the heart of Covent Garden on 19 May.
First place went to Huang Xiuzhi, with a white two-piece shirt. About the winning garment, Huang Xiuzhi said, “I was inspired by the artist and photographer Honey Long, in particularly his intricate attention to natural beauty and the female form. A lot of my research was based around sculptures - I hope my design will suit all shapes. To me it feels like the moving river against my skin.”
PC Williams commented, “I really enjoyed reading your thinking behind this design. I love the concept and that you were able to effectively communicate that through your garment.” Meanwhile Patrick McDowell said, “Huang Xiuzhi’s dress had an in-depth research story that connected well with their final piece.”
Bay Paley won second place with a pink quilt skirt and top. On Bay’s entry, PC said, “I think the workmanship that has gone into this design is incredible. I am really into the multifunctionality of the design.”
Bianca Gheorghe’s checked blanket jacket collected third place, and Patrick commented that “Bianca's piece was a beautiful display of design, the attention to detail creating a reversible jacket to make it multi-functional was a true display of reuse and upcycling.”
Huang will receive £500 of vintage shopping vouchers and a dedicated window display in Goldsmith Vintage’s Covent Garden store during the month of June 2022.
Goldsmith Vintage founder Peter Goldsmith said, ‘The idea for Alter-Eco was hatched during the pandemic to give students a platform to express their creativity. The standard has been really high and we’re so proud Alter-Eco has been adopted into university curriculums. Thanks so much to all the students who've entered, and of course our fabulous industry judges.’