Sustainable fashion in the Graduate Show

Model wearing sustainable fashion.
The students at VIA Design showed off their collections and some of them had sustainability as a theme.
The sustainable attitudes of the graduates from VIA Design will be blatant in their collections at the Graduate Show and at Copenhagen Fashion Week. 

Surveillance, over consumption and posing critical questions to the establishment. These are some of the themes of the 16 collections that graduates from VIA Design are presenting to the fashion industry and everyone else with an interest in fashion and lifestyle at this year’s huge Graduate Show.

The show is named Next Generation – a generation not afraid to make their mark and give their opinion. One of the recently graduated designers is Rikke Hauge, who choose to focus on over consumption in her collection “Wrapped”.

“I hope my collection can be a catalyst for change within the fashion industry by making people aware of the problem of over consumption,” she says.

Rikke Hauge reproduces textures from packaging in her collection. It is to lead people’s thoughts to over consumption. Moreover, she has deliberately chosen to work with both recycling and upcycling, because the materials used in the collection can be recycled into new clothes afterwards.

“Through my bachelor project, I was bitten by working on how design can have a greater meaning and maybe even help to make the world a better place. So I’m trying to influence people to think about the amount of packaging they use with my collection,” she says.

Without the industry there would be no graduates

The 16 talents have been selected by a jury consisting of both teachers from VIA Design and industry professionals.

The final year students will also present their show during Copenhagen Fashion Week and, in a conscious decision, students from mid-Jutland will be allowed to watch the show first, says René Foli, deputy head of the creative educational programmes at VIA University College:

“Upon graduation, our designers find employment in companies at home and abroad. But while they are on the educational programme, the fashion and textile industry of the Central Denmark Region is our primary collaboration partner. Without them, we simply wouldn’t be able to send such talented designers out into the labour market. Therefore, they have to be allowed to watch the show first,” he says.

Thomas Klausen is chairperson of the Dansk Fashion & Textile, the industry and employers’ association for more than 350 Danish fashion and textile companies. He is a regular guest at VIA Design’s end of year show in Aarhus, and he is delighted that there are often more than 100 professionals sitting in the audience with him.

“The fashion industry earns a living from creativity, but we also have to recognise that everyday life in the fashion industry’s companies is filled with a number of other business conditions. The newly-graduated designers live and breathe to create inspired designs without any other disturbing elements, and that explosion of creativity is very inspiring for established industry players. It gives them a breath of fresh creativity and a new way of looking at designs,” he says.

Getting up close to the designers

Thomas Klausen is very aware of the craftsmanship-aspect of the new designers. And he acknowledges that, given his position, he can hardly avoid seeing the graduation show as an important channel for the industry.

“There is always an enormous variety in expression in the designers’ collections. I can’t help but feel a little proud and very confident on behalf of the industry when I leave a VIA show. The level is always very high and you’re never in any doubt about the graduates having done their best,” he says