F4TE, ‘Fashion 4 The Earth’, by FS was established in autumn 2020 as a week-long event dedicated to introducing the students of St. Andrews to the sustainability sector of the fashion industry. The week marked the starting steps of the pursuit for a sustainable and flourishing future for the fashion shows, with a lasting impact of a consciousness of sustainability upon their audiences. Epitomised in their website, “FS aims to be part of the solution, not the problem”.
Emerging out of a post-Covid society, both FS and the fashion industry more widely have been forced to consider their interactions with the environment, communities and targeted audiences. Sustainability for FS encompasses two major components; the environmental impacts of fashion alongside its ethical impacts. With an attitude to implementing sustainable practices, FS have dedicated themselves to both educating students on and practicing the values of environmentally friendly fashion, ditching temporary trends for lasting connections and values. Parallel to their work for the environment, FS strives to support victims of domestic abuse through their partnership with FearFree, a service in Scotland for LGBTQ+ victims of domestic abuse. Integrating both matters of the environment the mental health of the community encompasses how FS seek to promote sustainability in their work, both ethically and environmentally.
This year, FS is celebrating Scottish history and environments to emphasize the impact that working within localities can make on the fashion industry, breaking down the complex supply chains of fast fashion in favor of something closer to home. The fashion show’s ties to the local area go beyond an appreciation of the beauty of Scotland’s landscapes, however. The show is also collaborating with Mossy Earth to support the re-wilding of Scotland’s natural habitats. Within St Andrews more immediately, F4TE by FS sought collaborations with local organizations, such as an up-cycling workshop with student-run Sustainable Style, acknowledging a social responsibility to build connections and networks within the local community in an effort to promote sustainable fashion within the student community.
Sustainability for FS is a continuous mission, with a long-term aim of incorporating an awareness of ethics and the environment in the fashion industry into its projects and events throughout the year. F4TE is designed to act as a platform to promote sustainable fashion through its catalogue, encouraging students to delve into sustainable brands and explore individual designers as an alternative to sweeping, fast-fashion companies. With a drive to educate and inform students on the values of sustainability, F4TE hosted two virtual panels, one on ‘the indispensability of mental health in sustainability efforts’ and the other on ‘reconstructing paradigms in fashion.’ Each panel took on a different side of FS’s sustainability goals, dedicating time to both the ethical and environmental aspects in turn.
With the foundations of F4TE solidified, the prospects of the expansion and growth of the sustainability movement within FS for both the academic year ahead and those to come are exciting. The show has set environmental aims for itself to both limit its own environmental impact and to expand awareness of sustainable fashion within St Andrews. These goals include an emphasis on panels to educate and inform students on their fashion choices, with the potential to shift such panels from virtual to in-person over the coming years. In an effort to limit the direct environmental impact of the shows, FS has set the goal of planting 400 trees to make it a carbon negative organization. Both of these aims demonstrate an ambition to encompass the values of F4TE Week into the broader FS organization, branding future shows as acts of advocacy for sustainable fashion.