Kirklees College students showcase their fashion skills in festival themed work experience project with Oxfam


Two students pose for a photo with their tutor, stood in middle, wearing their fashion designs

Level 3 Art and Design students from Kirklees College have been taking part in an upcycling, festival fashion focused project with Oxfam, as part of their Work Experience Programme. As part of the live brief, Neve Carnes, the Volunteer Recruitment Co-ordinator from Oxfam’s Northern Logistics Centre, gave the students an overview of the importance of sustainable fashion, and how upcycled fashion is a top seller at many festivals around the UK.

Oxfam sell upcycled festival fashion at many festivals around the UK including Boomtown, Glastonbury, Download, and Leeds Festival to name a few. Numerous students took part in the thirty-hour live brief, and their garments will be sold this summer at the festivals.

However, Rebecca Firth’s work stood out from the rest with use of bold colours, multiple carefully chosen fabrics and innovative designs.

Neve gave very positive feedback on Rebecca’s collection, saying:

“Rebecca has created a considered collection with a clear direction, it’s versatile and the pieces can be mixed and matched with each other. It’s fun, detailing has been considered throughout, with buttons and use of embellishment. Customer profile is well considered and suits the audience – the collection would sell at Glastonbury! Rebecca has gone above and beyond her thirty hours and we would welcome her to complete a placement with us, in house, with our festival team next year.”

Rebecca had the following to say about her work, and her experience completing the live brief itself:

“In the brief I was asked to create festival fashion using clothes from Oxfam’s textiles sorting facility to make apparel, which will get sold at Oxfam’s pop-ups at various festivals throughout the year. I began by researching fashion trends to inspire my designs, looking at artists and fashion designers to spark my ideas for the brief.

When creating what I made, I took in to consideration how I would make sure I stayed sustainable. My favourite aspect of working on this challenge was illustrating my designs, as well as the construction of my garments. I like how I made my garments into a small collection and how you could mix or match each item. The live brief was an amazing experience that I am happy I got to do. I learned so many new skills, such as how to construct a garment, how to sew seams and make darts. It has given me the confidence to try new things.”

The live brief was a roaring success for all the students involved, and an excellent way for them to get some practical experience for the fields they’re interested in. Work experience supervisor, Emma Crosland, wanted to thank all the Oxfam staff and Kirklees College’s Creative Industries Multi-Skilled Technician, Delmara Green for their support with the project.

Emma Crosland commented:

“Neve has been great, ensuring the students had clear direction of the outcomes needed for the brief, giving initial feedback on their research and providing garments to up-cycle. Neve and I had fun sorting through buckets of clothes at the Northern Logistics Centre and finding students clothes to upcycle based on the colours, textures, and designs the students had identified as needed for their work. Throughout the project, our multi-skilled technician, Delmara Green, provided technical support with sewing machines and gave guidance on garment construction, going above and beyond her role. A huge thank you to Delmara for the support and to Neve for providing the students with a real-life work experience opportunity.”

Click here to find out more about Kirklees College’s Work Experience Programme, or visit our Art and Design page to apply for one of our courses starting in September 2024.

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