ESMOD Berlin International University of Art for Fashion MA programme Sustainability in Fashion is an unique course which allows students to develop practical as well as analytical skills in sustainable fashion design with the aim of setting up feasible businesses. The course revolves around the notions of partnership and collaboration which are crucial to building a paradigm of interdisciplinary exchange and, therefore, a common platform for communication.
The course at ESMOD promotes holistic design practice in which the creative process focuses on economical, ethical, social and cultural awareness and sustainability while not compromising on beautiful aesthetics.
The program is based on four main parts – sustainable design strategies, sustainable textiles and production, sustainable marketing and business and design anthropology – with each student being supported by a high-profile business partner.
While studying on the MA, the students choose their own specific focus which allows them to place their discipline and interest within a broader aspect of study and therefore enrich their own ideas and design practice.
We have selected five designers of the 17 recent graduates from the ESMOD MA course to look at their work a little more deeply.
Israeli-born Renana Krebs comes from a family of botanists which has hugely influenced her Plant Stories project which she developed in partnership with Hessnatur, Smartfibre AG, Spinnerei Feldkich, Comazo GMbH. Inspired by classical ballet and driven by sporty elegance, she designed a 15-piece collection with flowing silhouettes that offer comfort and unrestricted movement while still remaining elegant.
Krebs’s main focus in this project was exploring the interactions between man and nature and the possibility of developing new materials that benefit both the environment and humankind. The result of this was a development of a new yarn combination from the micro-organisms of algae with micro-modal elderweiss and a fabric that releases moisture into the body of the wearer.
Remo Polack looked at sustainable design strategies in his project Remoform developed in partnership with Dutch aWEARness, Lauffenmuhle and Persu at Work. His was interested in garments that were a part of mass production and so he focused on uniforms – a garment which is produced in large quantities and, more often that not, discarded once it is worn out.
Inspired by the Cradle to Cradle circular business-model, Polack worked towards a sustainable standard that sees all uniforms produced from one material which would allow them to be recycled and, hence, adding to them infinite value and saving on the natural resources necessary to produce new garments.
Another student pursuing the notion of sustainability in design is Hira Ahmed, whose project Samrdd aims at close collaborations with traditional artisans. Hailing from Pakistan, Ahmed has embarked on a journey reconnecting her with her roots and developing a longing for cultivating the traditional block-printing textiles technique practices by inhabitants of remote areas of Pakistan.
Due to their poverty and the extremely challenging conditions these people live in, this technique is on a verge of extinction. Ahmed works exclusively with the artisans sourcing all of her fabrics from them with the aim of bringing better income and general life – enhancing investment to the are while practising fair trade and preserving the unique craft of hand-dying of silks and cottons.
Similar sentiments are reflected in Isabelle Regier’s project Ive – which focuses on a sustainable leather concept. Supported by companies Wet Green, YKK and Trippen, Reiger has designed a collection of organic leather bags that build on local resources, recyclability and ethical business practices. Her aim is to create an entirely transparent production chain from the designer all the way to the user, deploying the notions of responsible production and conscious consumption.
Regier used olive leaves to tan the leather so she could create goods that are fully biodegradable. So the bags fully recyclable as well as responsibly produced. The collection has also been created around the concept of timelessness and therefore aims at maximising the longevity of the items despite fashion trends and seasons.
Alice Beyer Schuch explored the possibilities of sustainable textiles and production in her project Further – textile rebirth catalyst. Tasked with establishing a comprehensive business, Schuch worked on creating a new type of textile but also devising a promotional campaign to present the idea to the public and to attempt to instigate wide-reaching change in thinking by the public.
The fabric she worked on is based on a technology which recycles old textiles. The final of this is a 100 per cent cellulosic material which is completely recyclable. The general idea is to create an event that bring brands and designers together so that they can work together eventually producing the end product to the customer.
Sustainability in Fashion MA at ESMOD is a unique course that tackles issues of paramount importance to the modernday world – resource renewability, waste, mindless consumption. It furthermore challenges the notion that responsible and organic fashion comes second style-wise to high-end luxurious design.
Thanks to the comprehensive selection of course units that complement each other the course aims to effectively educate a new generation of designers and business professionals who may be instrumental in a chance of turning around the industry.
by Magda Pirowska
For more details about the course, please visit here: