Posted Friday 25 June 2021
A student from Kingston School of Art has been crowned winner of the Considered Fashion Award at Graduate Fashion Week for her sustainable clothing collection using repurposed fabrics.
Mimi Simpson was recognised for her outstanding contribution to sustainable fashion design by a panel of esteemed judges. Previous recipients have included Saskia Lenaerts a Kingston School of Art fashion alumna, who won the award in 2018 for her ethical fashion collection.
Mimi's sustainable, gender-fluid collection incorporates repurposed clothing and upholstery sourced from boutique charity shop Mary's Living and Giving in Teddington, south west London, and donations Mimi received from the wider Kingston community.
The 21 year old explained she wanted her designs to draw inspiration from everyday life during the pandemic and to show that waste products can be made into high-end pieces. "A lot of the waste products I was given by the community were interior pieces, including armchairs and curtains. As everyone was in their home so much because of the pandemic, I wanted my collection to resemble the surroundings we found ourselves in during that period, but in a sophisticated way," she said. "There are few luxury brands that are re-using waste products. I wanted to show the raw edges of sustainability but also highlight that waste products can be made into luxury products to deliver this to a new type of customer", she added.
The six looks embrace gender-fluid style, Mimi explained. "I didn't want to put labels on the clothes as to whether they are for men, women or non-binary individuals. I just styled it on the individual model and what suited them," Mimi said. "It was a challenge getting the silhouette to suit all genders but it ended up bringing a new sense of style, depending on the individual who was wearing it, and this often made the look more playful."
Mimi said an internship organised through the University at knitwear brand Pringle of Scotland helped shaped her interest in sustainable fashion. "When I interned at Pringle of Scotland, I took part in a number of sustainable projects including looking at using waste products. I think this is where my passion for sustainable fashion first started and it proved hugely valuable to know how to integrate elements of it into my own work," she said.
The ambitious graduate is now looking at progressing into a career in sustainable fashion and has plans to sell some of her pieces from her collection and develop her range further to see if it can be delivered to a mass market.
Wendy Baker, Senior Lecturer of the Fashion BA (Hons) course, commended Mimi on her achievements. "We are immensely proud of all our students this year and Mimi Simpson is no exception. Mimi spent time establishing a relationship with the charity shop in Teddington where she sourced her fabrics. This gave her collection a strong personal point of view on sustainability, and this is what made her collection stand out from others in the category," she said. "Mimi's collection and the class of 2021 illustrates our pursuit of excellence, even in the challenging circumstances of this year," she added.