David Nieper Sustainable Fashion Challenge 2023

Friday 21st April, 2023

27 February 2023

Year 8 took part in David Nieper Academy’s 2nd Sustainable Fashion Challenge in the final week of half-term. Pupils had one day to design, create and showcase a collection of outfits as a tutor group, working alongside one of our employer partners – David Nieper Ltd.

Pupils had the freedom to create exciting outfits inspired by the extravagance of the Met Gala. Each tutor group set out to make a collection of 6-7 outfits, splitting into subgroups of 3-4 to make an outfit between them. Each subgroup worked to a theme, so each tutor group had a collection made up of the different themes. The themes in each collection were:

· Space

· The Rainforest

· History – The Tudors

· Fantasy and Fairytale

· The Olympics

· Transport

· Sun, Sea and Sand

After selecting their theme, subgroups sketched design ideas for their outfits, then took it in turns to visit the shop – a fast paced experience not too dissimilar to Supermarket Sweep! A 4-minute timer was set to a song, as students made their way around the Hall collecting 7 donated clothing items, fabric, and accessories to construct their outfit from. Students were careful to consider the type of clothing they collected, as well as colour and fabric choice.

During the employer challenge we had a number of experienced and enthusiastic machinists from David Nieper Ltd assist us with the construction of the outfits. Pupils liaised with the ladies who stitched areas of the garments together professionally on industrial and domestic machines. Pupils also relished the opportunity to get stuck in and have a go on the machines to create parts of their designs. Once outfits were sewn, final touches and embellishments were added for the extra wow factor. This also included the making of a number of inspiring props to showcase designs further.

Giving the pupils a brief, with a sustainability focus, discussion of the impact of fast fashion and finding out where their clothes and fabrics had come from, allowed them to total an approximate mileage for each outfit.  Alongside this an aspiration for creativity and extravagance was the main theme of the challenge. Every pupil demonstrated great team work and managed their time well. Jobs were divided up based on personal skills and within a few hours every tutor group had a collection of completed outfits. The enthusiasm exuded from every classroom as Mr Christopher Nieper walked around chatting to pupils about their designs and job roles.

Our Year 8 models showcased their designs by walking down the catwalk after lunch, in front of their peers and an audience of several staff and employer partners. It was great to see the pride and confidence of the pupils, as well as some well-practiced poses! Congratulations to all our models, designers and manufacturers, every single pupil played their role and the day itself was an outstanding example of what our students are capable of.

Prizes were given throughout the day to individuals and sub teams working hard, and the final winners will be announced this week. House points will be added to all winners, and the final tutor group, along with an exciting team prize in a few weeks!

A huge thank you to Mrs Pamela Holland and Mrs Rebecca Alton at David Nieper Ltd, for helping to organise the event, to Mr Christopher Nieper for engaging with our pupils throughout the day and to the wonderful machinists who really did get stuck in with designing, coming up with ideas as well as sewing outfits. It would not have been possible without them. A big thank you to all the staff who helped prepare and run the events, but mainly a huge thank you to our Year 8 cohort who were truly inspiring!

Mrs Thorpe