Local fashion designer, Paul Burbridge from Burbo K’Ture, was on hand to give University of Wolverhampton students cutting edge industry advice recently. First year Fashion and Textiles students based in the Wolverhampton School of Art were tasked with an upcycling project as part of their course - fashioning new garments made from unwanted shirts by creating new designs and reusing the fabric, buttons, cuffs and collars.

Paul Burbridge runs his own fashion label and sells his range from his two shops in Birmingham and online through Etsy. He designs and sells custom-made clothes and is eco-friendly when it comes to sourcing material.

Paul said:  “I love working on upcycling projects with students as it frees them from the usual design and pattern cutting exercises and really allows them to let their imagination run free, making them think about how a new design can be created from something that already exists.

“Projects that emphasise eco-friendly fashion ensure that students learn about the structure of garments because they have to take them apart and put them back together.  It’s a pleasure for me to pass on my skills and experience and to give them a sense that they can make a living from what they’re learning.”

Peter Brasenell, 23 from Telford, said: “I always wanted to go straight into tailoring but since coming to University, I’ve had the opportunity to be more expressive and more creative and it’s made me realise that the industry has a lot more to offer in terms of careers.

“Being able to work on a live project with a fashion designer who is the real deal has given me the opportunity to express myself and also has made me realise that anything is possible. My upcycling design is focusing on a Tudor theme and I’m using bleaching and dying techniques to create a very individual look.”

Jo Bloodworth, Lecturer in Fashion & Textiles, said: “The Fashion & Textiles Degree course focuses the next generation of creative designers to learn about the impact they will have in the future and students are challenged to think about how they can instigate change by encouraging sustainability to be at the heart of everything they do. Our aim is to create a whole new generation of young people who can create, design and build brands ethically.

“There are so many things to take into consideration when studying for a degree in Fashion & Textiles.  We want students to look further afield than the catwalk and the design of clothes. We want them to think about how the fashion and textiles industry can make a valid and valuable contribution to sustainability as well as long-term socio-economic and technology issues.”