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Fashion for the future: London students present sustainable designs

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The Royal College of Art's All At Once show looks at the fashion industry's impact on the environment.

London

CLOTHES grown from slime mould and tupperware handbags were among the environmentally friendly designs and ideas presented by fashion graduates at a London arts school on Friday.

The Royal College of Art is holding its annual fashion show, in which students in womenswear, menswear, knitwear, footwear, accessories and millinery unveil their creations.

This year, the All At Once show looks at the fashion industry's impact on the environment at a time when many designer houses are seeking to improve their green credentials to appeal to increasingly environmentally conscious consumers.

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"Fashion and sustainability have to now be one. You have to be thinking in different ways," student Andrew Bell told Reuters at a preview.

"Fashion has been doing the same thing for so long, we've created the same black top and the same black jeans and we're constantly calling them new ... there's actually nothing new about these items."

Mr Bell uses ultrasonic welding to make clothes that fold completely flat, like coats with non-fray linings. His garments are "mono-material", meaning they can be recycled more easily.

That is something Margot Vaaderpass is also looking at when making tops, coats, trousers and skirts using pineapple leather, biodegradable buttons and knitted tailoring.

"That's one of things that I have taken up as a challenge - how can we create a suit that's knitted," Ms Vaaderpass said. "The advantage of that is that we can shape the garment, that means that we can produce less waste."

Piero D'Angelo hopes fashionistas can one day grow their own garments with slime mould. The living organism is applied on pre-designed patterns, and can grow up to one centimetre (0.39 inch) per hour.

"We designed a 3D printed prototype ... Once we apply the slime mould it will just grow, spread all over, connecting each of those holes," he said. " REUTERS