Conscious Contemporary Tailoring

Supported by the Zegna Foundation and facilitated by the Social Responsibility department at LCF, Conscious Contemporary Tailoring brings communities together: the women of the weaving department at San Patrignano, the women of LCF’s Making for Change project and BA Menswear students.

The collaboration allows members of each community to talk about their experiences, and discuss the influence of the projects on their personal journey. 

MA Menswear alumna Bethany Williams used her ethical approach as a menswear designer to develop a range of innovative fabrics, in collaboration with the artisan weavers at the San Patrignano rehabilitation community in Rimini, Italy. BA Menswear students at LCF then used these fabrics to create designs for outerwear garments and semi-structured accessory pieces. Prototypes of selected student designs will be created by participants of Making for Change, LCF’s fashion training and manufacturing unit within a women’s prison.

The project began in February 2017, when Bethany undertook a two-week residency at San Patrignano, working with the women in the weaving workshop to create contemporary fabrics from found materials, using the traditional technique of the handloom. The result was a number of unique textiles, made by interlacing these industrial waste materials with traditional fibers. These fabrics were then used by BA Menswear first year students to produce designs around four key ideas: Protect, Survive, Migrate and Protest. Sustainability and social inclusion became convergent themes, whose connections were explored throughout the design process. 

Bethany developed the fabric designs further to produce pieces for her Spring/Summer 2018 collection, Women of Change. “Attenzione” electrical tape and wine bottle packaging was woven into practical and durable new textiles to create outerwear, and an inspiring story throughout the range.  A second story was created with a printed textile collage using the words of the weavers at San Patrignano, responding to what change means to them.  Bethany’s jersey pieces from the collection are produced collaboratively with the women at Making for Change. Ten per cent of the profit from garments sold will be donated to San Patrignano, and a further 10% will be used to purchase new machinery for the Making for Change unit.

Fondazione Zegna was established by the fourth generation of the Zegna family in 2000, to improve the quality of life of communities and individuals around the world - a mission rooted in the beliefs of the company’s founder, Ermenegildo, for whom ethics, business and aesthetics were intrinsically interwoven.

San Patrignano is a community which focuses on the rehabilitation of young people affected by drug issues. As an alternative to a prison sentence, the young people actively engage with their own transformation through education and learning to be specialists in a craft skill.

Making for Change is LCF’s fashion training and manufacturing unit within HMP Downview women’s prison. The project aims to increase well-being and reduce reoffending rates amongst participants by equipping them with professional skills and qualifications within a supportive environment, providing real work experience as part of their training and offering links to potential employers upon release.