Better Lives

The community section, where we share information about our community work, projects with schools, regeneration and our enterprise activity.

Fashion District and LCF launch Schools Innovation Challenge

As part of the EAST-Education initiative, London College of Fashion and Fashion District will be running a Schools Innovation Challenge. The competition hopes to inspire and challenge Key Stage 2 & 3 students to consider how new technologies could change the way we shop.

Between March and June, students will be introduced to new concepts which will challenge them to think creatively, work as a team and build digital and problem-solving skills. On June 17th, teams of students will be invited to submit their own concepts for what their own “store of the future” could look like through the use of technology.

Shortlisted entries will be invited to pitch at a celebratory event, where winners will be selected by a panel of industry experts. Generously sponsored by Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, there will be six cash prizes with 2 x £1500 for the winning entries and 4 x £500 for the two runners up in each category to support the creative curriculum back in school.

We will be sharing some of the winning entries here in Summer 2019.

HRH The Countess of Wessex hosts reception at Buckingham Palace in celebration of Better Lives at LCF

Last night Her Royal Highness The Countess of Wessex, Patron of LCF, hosted an evening reception at Buckingham Palace to celebrate ten years of Better Lives at LCF, encapsulating projects that use the power of fashion to tackle issues around equality, social mobility, diversity and sustainability.

HRH The Countess of Wessex

HRH The Countess of Wessex

Industry guests at the event included Emmanuel Gintzburger CEO of Alexander McQueen, Felicity Hayward, Nicholas Kirkwood, Christopher Kane, Giles Deacon, Phoebe English, Virginia Bates, David Downton, Justine Simons, Deputy London Mayor for Culture and the Creative Industries, Geoffroy de la Bourdonnaye CEO Chloé and Vogue’s Suzy Menkes; who were all out in force to celebrate and support pioneering work in sustainability and social responsibility.

During the reception HRH The Countess of Wessex spoke about her commitment to the college – which began in 2013 – and her dedication to projects such as Making for Change – a training and manufacturing unit within HMP Downview women’s prison which aims to increase well-being and reduce reoffending rates amongst participants by equipping them with professional skills and qualifications within a supportive environment. HRH said:

What I love about the college is that it isn’t just about educating young people to create business opportunities, to create careers in and around the fashion industry, it also is an outward facing college and it takes its responsibilities very seriously. To give female prisoners the chance to come out of prison with a genuine job opportunity is a wonderful thing to do, and I’m thrilled that the college is working with recovered female prisoners. So, that’s just one example. And, of course this is just one part of the Better Lives programme. That, alongside sustainable fashion, which is becoming more and more prevalent. But we still have a lot of work to do and the London College is taking its part very seriously in ensuring that students are aware of how to sustain fashion and keep it on the agenda.

The audience were given an insight into the future of the college – talking about the historic move which will see all six of LCF’s sites united for the first time in its 112 year old history, on one purpose built campus in the Queen Elizabeth Park in the heart of East London in 2022.  The development will be part of the vision for East Bank – a new cultural and educational destination for London. LCF will be joined by neighbours including the BBC, Sadler’s Wells, V&A and University College London and Loughborough University.

Under its new roof the work of the college and it’s ‘Better Lives’ agenda will continue to flourish and will be more vital than ever in a rapidly changing world – a rallying call to industry was made to ask for their continued support in nurturing the next generation of fashion professionals who pass through the doors of one of the world’s leading fashion colleges.

Head of LCF Professor Frances Corner

Head of LCF Professor Frances Corner

Head of LCF Professor Frances Corner also spoke at the event and reflected on how far the college had come – helping fashion as a discipline to extend and expand its influence, countering traditional stereotypes of fashion as a lightweight subject and how over the past ten years, the college has redefined its agenda, placing sustainability and social responsibility at the heart of what they do.

Model Felicity Hayward also attended the event

Model Felicity Hayward also attended the event

During the reception guests were able to see installations of work by artists Charlotte Hodes, Lucy Orta and Helen Storey – each piece telling stories through fashion around women’s suffrage and the current refugee crisis – projects which demonstrate that fashion is more than clothes and catwalks – but a powerful force for positive change.

All images by Unai Matteo Lopez

Creative organisations come together for shared internship programme

London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) has launched a new shared-internship programme delivered by cultural education organisation A New Direction, and London College of Fashion is going to host one of seven talented young people from east London boroughs. STEP (Shared Training & Employment Programme) is a programme designed and developed in partnership with founding members Bow Arts, Sadler’s Wells and London College of Fashion to:

  • Increase diversity across the creative and cultural sector by creating access routes for those under-represented in the sector: Black, Asian, and minority ethnic (BAME), people with disabilities and those from low socio-economic backgrounds
  • Promote fair and formal access routes into the sector by working with creative organisations to introduce new recruitment processes
  • Create a shared model that looks to develop a wide range of skills across core disciplines within the arts to better prepare young people for careers in the sector
  • Promote, encourage and work towards the London Living Wage across the arts.

The programme also aims to encourage and promote good work practices in line with the Mayor of London’s draft Good Work Standard for London businesses.

The seven interns aged 18-30 have been selected from the four neighbouring boroughs of Hackney, Newham and Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest, and have begun positions across London College of Fashion, NTS live, Bow Arts, Rosetta Arts and Sadler’s Wells Theatre. Over a 12 month period, participants will experience placements within at least two different host organisations, giving interns the perfect chance to experience more than one area of cultural / creative employment. Creative Access are providing aspects of the training in order to encourage and support participants’ personal and professional development.

‘Programmes such as this are vital in ensuring access to the creative industries for all. I strongly believe that talent and creativity know no social or cultural boundaries, so by partnering on this programme, we aim to nurture talented east Londoners looking for their first step into employment within the creative industries.’ Professor Frances Corner, Head of London College of Fashion and Pro-Vice Chancellor, University of the Arts London

Businesses will create opportunities in marketing, digital content production, operations, fundraising, learning and participation, production and programming, and placements will include a programme of masterclasses, skills workshops and industry mentors. Participants will be paid the London Living Wage for the duration of the placements.

At the end of the programme, young professionals will have the skills to move on into a range of careers including arts administration, marketing, production, programming and curation, community outreach, operations management and creating digital content across London’s creative industry.

‘I’ve needed something like this programme for the longest time. I’ve needed a role where I can show off my skill set as well as learn new skills that I can take with me for the rest of my working life.’ Jordan Reilly, aged 23 from Tower Hamlets, placed with LCF

‘For many young people, a career in the creative industries can seem out of reach – something only available to those who can afford to go to university and work unpaid internships. STEP offers an amazing opportunity to not only give a group of talented young individuals the experience and training they need to start their careers, but also the chance to show how much London’s young creatives have to offer – regardless of their background.’ Steve Moffitt, Chief Executive of A New Direction

City Challenge London

The East London Fashion Cluster partners (LCF, British Fashion Council, UKFT and The Mayor’s Office) have set a challenge to make London’s fashion industry more sustainable with a challenge for new businesses.

City Challenge calls for all innovators, entrepreneurs and all round big thinkers to develop innovative solutions to creating a more circular fashion industry in London. 

€10,000 will be awarded to two innovative submissions that successfully demonstrate ways of implementing the circular economy in London’s Fashion industry. 

The City Challenge sets two London challenges, looking to use FashTech to:

  • Create systemic change for a London fashion loop
  • Develop a focussed intervention that will contribute to a more circular fashion industry

Find out more, discover the challenges and submit your ideas for your chance to win €10,000 on the Challenge website

Come to Plexal , Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, to find out more about the challenge, hear from expert speakers and discover what the City Challenge is looking for at the launch event on the 2nd November and people can book tickets via Eventbrite

Global Disability Innovation Summit takes place in east London

The first day at the Global Disability Innovation Hub’s first Disability Summit held at Here East during the World Para Athletics Championships London 2017 on Thursday July 13, 2017.

Last week over 250 people attended the world’s first Global Disability Innovation Summit in London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. It was delivered by the Global Disability Innovation Hub (GDI Hub), which is born of the legacy of the 2012 Paralympic Games and aims to use technology to make a difference to the lives of one billion disabled people by 2030.

70 global experts convened to discuss everything from wheelchairs and wearable tech, to art, culture, charity, corporate and sport. Speakers from the World Bank, World Health Organisation, Leonard Cheshire Disability, the Red Cross, UNICEF, International Labour Organisation, Microsoft, Barclays, the BBC, Channel 4 and the British Paralympic Association, joined Paralympians, Comedians, Academics, Artists and local disabled people’s organisation to set out a new manifesto for disability innovation which puts disabled people at its heart. The event will now become bi-annual.

Lord Chris Homes, GDI Hub Chair said I’m absolutely delighted at the outstanding success of our first GDI Hub Summit. It was a complete sell out for two days of superb presentations from an incredible range of speakers including academics, Government ministers, broadcasters, tech companies large and small (and more). I am completely inspired by the potential for innovation through collaboration which is at the core of the GDI Hub Mission, with disabled people leading the way and completely involved at every stage.

Outcomes from the event were:

  • GDI Hub will host the Enable Makeathon 2 with the International Committee of the Red Cross, led by UCL. This will provide teams from around the world the chance to come to London and help design new products and services that help people in conflict and post-conflict situations around the themes of Accessibility and Employability.
  • Corporates can support the work of the Hub by sponsoring the Global Disability Innovation Accelerator, run in conjunction with PLEXAL.
  • LCF and UCL have worked together to launch a new MSc in Design, Disability and Innovation, which will be forthcoming next year. We will post more information on this shortly.

Force of Nature – new exhibition at Mile End Art Pavilion

Last week a new exhibition called Force of Nature opened at The Art Pavilion in Mile End, curated by LCF Research Fellow James Putnam.

It aims to communicate an awareness of nature’s increasing fragility and some of the works on display are concerned with urgent issues of ecological and social sustainability.

Movement, light, birth, growth, ageing, decay and rebirth are among the energies or ‘forces’ that artists strive to capture in the exhibition. Using a diverse range of media including organic materials, they are continually searching and synthesising new ways to redefine our relationship with nature. The work from the 28 artists involved will be evocative, provocative or sublime, with some conveying an urgent environmental message.

Images by Benjamin Lansky

The exhibition will be on display until 6 April 2017.

UAL Insights x Waltham Forest College

UAL Insights works with schools and FE colleges to inspire and support the next generation of artists and designers. In November London College of Fashion delivered styling and photography workshops onsite, at Waltham Forest College to students studying art, design and fashion.

Students worked with denim to create funky shoots and considered all the elements required to make a successful photo shoot, and the team at LCF were impressed with the outcome. Two of the students involved, Kyle and Amanda, went on to feature in the Guardian, in a feature called, “What we teenagers wore this week”.


Waltham Forest College tutor Teleica Kirkland said:

The workshops were so helpful and invaluable allowing student to throw themselves into something different at college. It is so helpful to have this input from a leading university and provides amazing insight into the industry. I think most importantly it made students realise how much hard work and collaboration is needed to get a photoshoot completed.

Five of the students are applying to study at LCF next year, and hope that the experience and work will enhance their portfolio. Kalina Pulit who worked with the students said:

I had two great sessions at the college with a lot to cover from brainstorming and customising clothing to finding the right location for the shoot. Students worked in groups and we tried to mimic the university standards of working and the nature of the industry with students taking on different roles and collaborating together. It was a very quick paced project and the students responded with a lot of energy and imagination. Considering it was the first contact with image making in a fashion context for some students, the outcomes were fresh, diverse and represented students’ identity very well

LCF’s Outreach Manager Michele Buchanan said:

Hopefully we have inspired loads more to consider studying fashion in the next few years.

Later on this term UAL Insights will deliver tailoring workshops at Newham College and invite Leyton Sixth Form College to visit LCF Pattern Cutting facilities at Curtain Road.

Read the full article on the Guardian website.

Poplar HARCA win Guardian Public Service Award for transforming east London


Poplar Housing and Regeneration Community Association (Poplar HARCA) have won a Guardian Public Service Award for their ‘cultural, social and economic transformation’ of this area of east London.

The Guardian praised the organisation’s ‘innovative thinking and doing’ working with communities in the area to support projects such as gardening, community choirs and even a swing dance festival. The idea is to work with locals to support their ideas, to regenerate the area from the inside.

The award also recognised Poplar HARCA’s partnership with London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London on the forthcoming ‘Fashioning Poplar‘ project which will transform a series of disused garages by the A12 into an incubation, enterprise and makery hub in 2018. The hub makes use of the existing environment and structures in its design, and aims to provide employment and training to a local workforce, as well as supporting local businesses.

Congratulations to Poplar HARCA, and check back for updates on the Fashioning Poplar development.


Cabinet Stories open to the public at Emmaus Greenwich Poplar Shop

Earlier this year we announced Cabinet Stories – a collaboration between the Centre For Fashion Curation and the Social Responsibility team at LCF. The project explores different aspects of fashion, through a series of seven themed exhibitions, organised by curators working in London, and displayed in a cabinet; the traditional form of museum display.


It launched at a London-based women’s prison and went on to appear at two more locations: the East London NHS Foundation Trust – a facility for patients with borderline personality disorders, and Silk Court home for the elderly in Bethnal Green.

Cabinet Stories will now be open to the public for the first time at Emmaus Greenwich, Poplar shop. At Emmaus all the exhibitions will be on display at the same time, accompanied by a free workshop programme, some of which will be open to the public on a first come first served basis. Follow LCF on Twitter to find out details about the workshops.

A limited edition tote bag has also been made using fabric donated by Peter Jensen, to be sold at Emmaus Poplar shop. The bags cost £16 and were handmade by women at the Training and Manufacturing Workshop based at HMP Downview, an initiative which is run by LCF. All profits from the sale of the bags will go to Emmaus charity.


Cabinet Stories was devised by curator Alison Moloney and commissioned along with Jessamine Tierney from the Social Responsibility team at LCF. It will be on display from 7 October to 2 November 2016. Alison told us:

“It has been a privilege to have worked with these partners and audiences. It reinforces the ability of clothing and fashion to speak to a wide and diverse audience and has provided valuable research and multiple perspectives on what fashion exhibitions can communicate.”

All photpgraphy on display is by LCF BA (Hons) Fashion Photography graduate, Hanna Puskarz.

LCF and Create London collaborate to deliver tailoring workshops to college students

During the summer, LCF in collaboration with Create London, delivered an ‘Introduction to the Waistcoat’ to students at Barking and Dagenham College, as part of a series of bespoke tailoring workshops.

Students from Barking and Dagenham college taking part in the tailoring workshop

Students from Barking and Dagenham college taking part in the tailoring workshop

The workshops were delivered by BA (Hons) Bespoke Tailoring tutor Winston Rose, and supported by Outreach ambassadors Eva Samuel and Paige Rene, BA (Hons) Bespoke Tailoring students at LCF.  Winston, Eva and Paige worked with the students to produce waistcoats, teaching them specialist tailoring and handcraft skills.

Tailoring workshop at Barking and Dagenham Collegg

Tailoring workshop at Barking and Dagenham College

Create London is a social enterprise that seeks to explore the ways artists can contribute to the lives of people in cities and they are currently working on an extensive project celebrating the life and work of Hardy Amies. The project aims to highlight and celebrate The White House’s history and its connection to the iconic British tailor, who lived there as a child during the 1920s and 1930s. Whilst Hardy Amies is probably best known for being a personal designer to the Queen he has also worked in film, costume design and interiors.

Winston Rose teaching the college students tailoring skills

Winston Rose teaching the college students tailoring skills

It has opened my mind to the possibilities of other fashion courses and pathways  – Stephanie, Barking and Dagenham College student.

Thoughts from students

I would definitely do this course again, I loved it” – Eleanor, student

It was very challenging as I have never done tailoring before, but I really enjoyed it” Kayleigh, student

I really enjoyed learning new stitching techniques and skills” Ellie, student

I loved seeing my waistcoat come together” Paige, student

Thoughts from Winston

‘This was an ambitious project, creating the waistcoats required the use of advanced tailoring skills for these students, who were just completing their first year of a 2 year BTEC Diploma in Fashion and Garment Construction. The students were determined, and working together with the LCF Peer Mentors and myself were able to rise to the challenge of completing their waistcoats over the two-day workshop. It is a wonderful experience working with the College. It gave me the opportunity to reflect upon my teaching practice, and to work with younger students; I felt uplifted and inspired working with these creative young minds. I enjoy giving young people an opportunity to experience what it is like to study at LCF, and I hope it encourages them to consider studying fashion in Higher Education.’

It made me realise I really did want to work in the fashion industry” Benie, student

I am now thinking of doing tailoring at university” Samira, student

I am interested in the ethical side of the fashion industry and would like to learn more about that” Eleanor, student

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