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Learn how to reduce your environmental impact with a short course

Student work by Núria Gil
  • Written byCarys Thomas
  • Published date 18 October 2022
Student work by Núria Gil
Student work by Núria Gil

It’s no secret that our consumer habits are driving climate change. The fashion industry is one of the worst offenders, accounting for around 8-10% of the world’s carbon emissions.

According to environmental charity ‘Keep Britain Tidy’, the current appetite for fast fashion means that approximately 10,000 items of clothing are being sent to landfill every five minutes.

Now is the time for change. At UAL Short Courses, we offer a range of short courses with a focus on sustainability. Students learn about sustainable and ethical practices in fashion and discuss ways to tackle the challenges facing the industry. Read more about how sustainable initiatives are shaping the fashion world.

To find out more, we caught up with 20-year-old fashion student, Núria Gil. Núria recently took our Introduction to Sustainable Design Approaches in Fashion Short Course and tells us about her experience at Central Saint Martins.

I live in a small town with not many opportunities, so being able to study in London – even if only for a week – has completely changed how I approach my studies. Studying at UAL was one of the best experiences of my life.

— Núria Gil, Short Course Student

Núria Gil is currently studying fashion at Easd Alcoi School of Art and Design in Spain. She recalls a passion and interest in art and design from a young age. “Art, and particularly fashion, have always been present in my life,” she says.

Núria remembers making clothes for her dolls as a child, a hobby that fuelled her love for fashion and textiles. “When I was little I didn’t play with barbies – I made them fancy clothes,” she explains. “Then I started making bags with old jeans that I had at home and that was where my passion for fashion started.”

“I would describe myself as someone inquisitive,” says Núria, “I’m interested in what’s going on within my surroundings and trying to find ways to make art out of it. I have always had the urge to create.”

Photo of student, Núria Gil
Núria Gil

Sustainable fashion design

Núria enjoys working with sustainable fabrics and her practice is often informed by her interest in sustainable fashion design. “My work is mostly focused on conceptual sustainable fashion design,” she says, “I love to experiment with new and innovative materials such as sustainable or bio fabrics.”

“There is always a story behind my designs,” says Núria, “the backbones of my work often relate to women and nature. Recently I have been inspired by the human body and its tissues, as well as microorganisms. It is impressive how something so small and insignificant can be what sustains us and how it can be so hypnotising with its shapes and colours.”

The joy of upcycling

The Introduction to Sustainable Design Approaches in Fashion Short Course is designed to introduce students to various approaches to sustainability with a particular focus on upcycling.

During the week, students explore techniques that can be used to repurpose and upcycle fabrics, including patchwork, fabric manipulation, pattern cutting and embellishment. Students finish the course with an understanding of how to reduce their environmental impact and work more sustainably.

“On the first day, after some theory work, we upcycled a shirt from a thrift shop,” says Núria. “Then we worked on a zero-waste jacket, and to finish we made a garment by upcycling clothes that our teacher brought.”

“I had always wanted to start upcycling but I didn’t know how to start,” Núria explains. “I ended up upcycling some pants, a jumper, a tie, a top and some lace curtains into a three-piece outfit.”

Building confidence

Although Núria was nervous to start the course, she quickly found her confidence building as she soaked up the friendly and creative atmosphere at Central Saint Martins.

“When I was travelling to London I felt really nervous about not being up to the task,” she says. “I had seen the fashion studios so many times on Pinterest that I couldn’t believe I was there! But when we met our teacher I knew I didn’t have to worry because she was really nice.”

“The course really boosted my confidence in so many ways,” Núria tells us. “I live in a small town with not many opportunities, so being able to study in London – even if only for a week – has completely changed how I approach my studies. Studying at UAL was one of the best experiences of my life.”

Núria recommends the course to anyone looking to explore their creativity. “It’s something I would recommend to every creative to do at least once in their lives,” she says. “The experience is unforgettable.”

Find out more about Núria’s work by following her on Instagram.

Are you interested in sustainable design? Take a look at our guide on breaking down sustainability terms to find out more about some of the most important sustainability principles.

Fancy trying something new? We offer a huge range of short courses for all levels of experience. Check out our upcoming short courses to find out what's coming up.

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