We marked the completion of our first intake of Clothing for Change this September with a day in which graduates showcased the fruits of their labour over the last 6 months and were awarded with an Open College Network qualification and certificate. 

The course forms part of a two strand initiative to incorporate practical and entrepreneurial training skills for graduates from our courses, with the development of clothing label that acts as an income generator for Foundation for Change.

We wanted to pilot bringing our approach to a training environment in which participants tackled demanding technical content over a longer period of time. They also had the chance to, revisit, practice and implement some of the lessons from our other courses as they encountered new challenges and had to overcome difficulties in a more professional setting.

Based in our studio space at Camden Mews in London, trainees spent two days a week in our specially kitted out sewing workshop, completing a portfolio of work alongside a demanding training schedule.

Participants were supported by project staff Bex and Heather, who offered guidance in the form of six-weekly supervision, ongoing encouragement and feedback. Bex, a former PfC graduate, initiator and lead for the project said:

Our trainees have produced a collection of work that has not only been exceptional in terms of quality they have also found their own unique voice when it comes to garment construction.

Mica, a talented college artist and graduate of our Feminism for Change course, wanted to explore new ways of incorporating textiles into her work. We loved watching her imagination play out on random pieces of fabric. She said, "I didn't realize I could draw on a sewing machine!"

Another of the graduates set himself the challenging task of unpicking and reconstructing an entire suit jacket, demonstrating the need to practice both patience and persistence in the face of frustration and in order to overcome all-or-nothing thinking.

Wendy found that the course gave her a space to experiment with identifying a role for herself outside a 'recovery' setting and in more professional environment that was both creative and therapeutic.

We're exceptionally proud of all their work and excited to see how this strand of work develops as we move into the second stage of the pilot and a new intake beginning in October.

Follow our instagram page to find out more about the project, view samples of works-in-progress by our trainees and sneak previews of the latest collections from our clothing line, also available for purchase from our online shop.

You can also find out about how the project came to be by reading Bex's blog.