Fashion project finds a new use for leather

University of Wolverhampton Fashion & Textiles students have been designing clothes and accessories from car interior leather donated by a local business.

Aldridge Trimming, based in Wolverhampton, donated 13 bags of leather cut-offs to the Wolverhampton School of Art’s “New Use” project which tasked students with designing and creating clothes and accessories from the material as part of Career Development Week.

Aldridge Trimming was founded in the 1930s and initially provided a local general trimming service for cars of the 1920s and 1930s era.  It now provides quality British-made interior trim fitting services for over 100 classic cars per year.

Jo Bloodworth, Lecturer in Fashion & Textiles in the Wolverhampton School of Art, 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.

“As part of Career Development Week, we offered students a two day workshop to allow them to study different techniques and to give them the opportunity to explore other ideas. Leather is a recyclable textile, and since it is a sturdy, long-lasting fabric, it can have a second life in a number of ways and students really engaged with the subject matter, being given the freedom to explore new ideas.”

Aldridge Trimming was founded in the 1930s and initially provided a local general trimming service for cars of the 1920s and 1930s era.  It now provides quality British-made interior trim fitting services for over 100 classic cars per year.

Lauren Neville, 23 from Penkridge, who graduated with a Fashion & Textiles degree in 2016, now works as a Trimmer for Aldridge Trimming.  She said:  “We’ve developed a really good relationship with the University and we want to continue to build on this. As a former student I know how difficult it can be sourcing good, quality fabric for use on your course.

“As a business, we would have to pay for leather off-cuts to be picked up and recycled which is why we thought it would be a great idea to make a donation to the University in order to extend its life further.  We use the leather to trim centre consoles, door panels and gear gaters and it’s a real contrast to see the off-cuts being used to create handbags, clothes and even jewellery!”

Keith Makombe, 31 from Wolverhampton, is a final year Fashion & Textiles student. He said:  “I’ve been learning how to attach things to the leather garments I’ve been making and also learning how to cut it – it’s completely different to cutting fabric so it’s really interesting to be able to use new materials.”

Anyone wanting to study Fashion & Textiles at the University should register to visit the next Open Day on Saturday 21st April 2018.

Picture Caption: From left to right Dan Austin, Marketing (Aldridge Trimming), Rachel Williams (Visiting Lecturer at the University) and Lauren Neville (Aldridge Trimming).  Bottom picture: Keith Makombe, Fashion & Textiles student.

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