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Making for Change: Waltham Forest

“Making for Change: Waltham Forest” comprises a programme of community engagement, educational and design research activities grounded on the themes of makers, fellowships, and radicals, using fashion as catalyst for change in the borough, with long-term legacy.

With the aim of ensuring a pipeline of skills training and acquisition leading to employment, three schools (i.e. Leyton Sixth Form, Waltham Forest College, and Belmont Park School) have been selected for engagement through the following programmes: Fashion District’s Innovation Challenge themed around “A Store of the Future”; Fashion Unit; Fashion Futures 2030; Fashion Clubs. Moreover, research residencies will be undertaken in 3 (large, medium, and micro) textile and fashion design and manufacturing businesses based in Waltham Forest. For 3 months, 3 LCF researchers will collaborate with staff at Wagland Textiles, Blackhorse Lane Ateliers, and Cactus Leather, addressing issues of economic, environmental, social, and cultural sustainability. Furthermore, the local community (especially young people and hard to reach groups) will engage in a range of participatory making activities using fashion as a catalyst for change: “I WANNA BE ME I WANNA BE (E)U”, a series of 6 co-making workshops, Garden Party, 1000 Coats, 3 symposia, and 2 showcases.

GenGreen Workshop at Waltham Forest College - Photography: Curtis Gibson

Rationale

“Making for Change: Waltham Forest: is a partnership project developed between London College of Fashion (LCF) and Waltham Forest Council (LBWF) for London Borough of Culture (LBOC) 2019. The project aims at engaging, through fashion and making, local residents, businesses and hard to reach communities, developing and retaining creative talent in LBWF. The project aims at addressing local issues, such as deprived youth, skills shortage, fashion manufacturing decline, and unemployment. It also aims at positioning LCF and LBWF as long-term partners with aligned strategic objectives and shared plans beyond LBOC 2019 and inview of the College’s move to Stratford in 2022.

Creative Repair Workshop at Forest Recycling Project - Photography: Francesco Mazzarella

Process

To scope the project, at the end of 2018 Francesco undertook ten weeks of R&D based at Waltham Forest Town Hall collaborating with different Council’s departments and local organisations (schools and FEs, fashion designers and manufacturers, social enterprises). As an outcome, Francesco has identified collaborators, refined the focus of the project, detailed its objectives, outcomes, budget and timeline (from March 2019 to February 2020).

Throughout the project, a series of fashion and making activities are being conceived and developed to engage the diverse community living and working in Waltham Forest in collective explorations of what might be of value to them and develop ways in which fashion can be used to listen, respond to, and engage with sustainability issues.

GenGreen Workshop at Buxton School - Photography: Curtis Gibson

Outputs

The project is expected to develop makers’ skills and career pathways, nurture a culture of fellowship, and activate radical change locally. As one of the legacies of the project, a Fashion Hub will be established in a formerly disused supermarket. It will provide affordable workspace and support for local businesses, flexible gallery space and delivering shared services for the borough. Furthermore, a joint study supported through a Local Partnership Fund will produce a Partnership Plan for LCF’s Fashion District and Waltham Forest Council. They will collaborate towards addressing the following strategic objectives: developing in-demand skills, creating career pathways, generating business growth opportunities for fashion SMEs, and enhancing stakeholder engagement networks across the sector to raise the profile of fashion within the borough and beyond.

“I WANNA BE ME I WANNA BE (E)U”, Panel Debate - Photography: Gisela Torres

Partners and Funders

“Making for Change: Waltham Forest” is led by Dr Francesco Mazzarella (Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the Centre for Sustainable Fashion) in collaboration with Laura Gander-Howe (Director of Public Engagement and Culture at LCF). The project involves different departments at Waltham Forest Council (i.e. Culture, Education, Business Growth, Regeneration) and engages a wide range of staff across London College of Fashion. The project is part-funded by London Borough of Culture 2019, Waltham Forest Council and the Great Place Scheme, supported by Arts Council England and the Heritage Lottery Fund

Connect with us via #greatplacescheme #MakingForChange

With thanks to our partners – London College of Fashion, UAL, Arts Council England,  National Lottery Heritage Fund, Waltham Forest London Borough of Culture 2019, Waltham Forest Council and LBWF Business Growth.

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Contact: Francesco Mazzarella

“I WANNA BE ME I WANNA BE (E)U”, Event - Photography: Gisela Torres