TRAID are this year’s partners for the Victoria and Albert Museum’s nationwide design competition Graphic Gathering.

TRAID Education were thrilled to be asked to design a live brief for GCSE, A/S and A Level students. The live brief asks secondary school students to design the artwork to wrap a TRAID clothes reuse bank. The aim? To encourage and inspire the public to utilise this important, but often overlooked piece of street furniture, but importantly, to encourage the local community to reuse and recycle the clothes they are no longer wearing by passing them on to TRAID. By the very nature of the collaboration the live brief would embed sustainability issues but, in addition, has timely links with the current fashion exhibition ‘Fashioned From Nature’ which shines a spotlight on fashion’s complex relationship with nature.

Picture Credit: Victoria and Albert Museum

The project launched in September with a fun Teacher’s Evening filled with workshops, wine and talks led by TRAID Education and the V&A’s Schools Learning Team to unpick key themes and provide educational resources so that teachers could confidently engage their students in this multi-layered graphic design project. The evening provided teachers with the opportunity to ask questions, but also to understand the crucial role TRAID plays in valuing clothes, reducing waste, funding projects to improve global fashion supply chains and a popular education programme that promotes a more healthy relationship with our clothes.

The Graphic Gathering Briefing Day saw approximately 300 secondary school students visit the V&A South Kensington in October bringing together young people, teachers and arts practitioners to learn more about this exciting graphic design project and consider approaches to tackle the brief.

Photo Credit: Victoria and Albert Museum

Edwina Ehrman, curator of the V&A’s ‘Fashioned From Nature’ exhibition gave an overview to students about sustainability in fashion through the lens of the exhibition and her research in the iconic lecture theatre. Whilst TRAID Education delivered a talk about the key points and design considerations to factor into the live brief such as considering language, the environment of the textile bank and its functionality, but also the opportunity the bank can afford to provoke thought amongst passers by and ultimately inspire a call to action.

The dynamic day was complemented by workshops led by graphic designers and weaving artists; an immersive virtual reality experience to ‘see’ the impacts of climate change; whilst Fashion Revolution co-founder Orsola de Castro ran a drop-in activity to discuss fashion campaigning and their manifesto. Students also had the opportunity to explore the collections and see exhibits from the V&A archive to inspire and engage them and set the tone for the project.

Photo Credit: Victoria and Albert Museum
Photo Credit: Victoria and Albert Museum

The project runs throughout the Autumn Term with the shortlisted work presented by students at a special event in February 2019.