New clothing design award announced to target environmental impact of clothes

8th October 2014

The search is on for fashion or textile designers that can show their flair for sustainable fashion; the brand new SCAP Extending the Life of Clothes Design Awards (SCAP ELC Awards) is looking for designers to develop innovative solutions to clothes that are wearable for longer.  In return, the winner will receive £5,000 and the opportunity to progress their work and develop it for a commercial market.

SCAP ELC Awards is being brought to you by WRAP, the organisation behind the Sustainable Clothing Action Plan (SCAP) and Love Your Clothes, with support from Defra, British Fashion Council, The Knowledge Transfer Network, InnovateUK and ModeConnect.

Targeting the wearable lifetime of clothes through innovative design offers the biggest opportunity to tackle the environmental impacts of clothes. WRAP research shows that if the active life of clothes were extended by just nine months it could reduce the carbon, water and waste footprints by 20-30% each, and save around £5 billion worth of the resources used to supply, launder and dispose of clothing!*

The SCAP ELC Awards will challenge designers to address the key reasons for garment failure, which lead to items being thrown away. The concepts not only need to achieve solutions to longer life times, but also deliver ideas that are fashionable and saleable. 

‘Extending the life of clothes’ is a key focus for the sector commitment, SCAP 2020, with many retailers, brands and even reprocessers signed up to it; all aiming to reduce the environmental impacts of clothes**.

Marcus Gover, WRAP Director and ELC Awards judge, said: “This is a great opportunity for designers to bring this issue to life.  By applying their creativity and innovation to either sourcing or developing low impact, high quality fibres, and engineering garments that will last longer, they can instigate real change.

 “We need the sector to embrace this new approach to designing clothes.” 

Resources Management Minister Dan Rogerson said: “I’m delighted to support the launch of this award which celebrates the vital role designers have to play in developing and promoting sustainable fashion. Their innovations can bring us closer to a more circular economy which will benefit both businesses and the environment.”

The SCAP ELC Awards will be open to final year fashion and textile design undergraduates, MA students and professional fashion and textile designers from industry that live, work or study in England. Fashion designers can enter individually or collaborate with a textile designer to present their concepts. 

All submissions will be assessed by a panel of judges made up of industry professionals and academics that collectively hold a wide range of knowledge and expertise in the sector; including: Amanda Johnston, Lecturer at the London College of Fashion and Consultant and Curator at the Sustainable Angle; Colin Thompson, Designer and Academic Programme Leader for Fashion Studies at the University of Derby; Clare Southworth, Head of Sustainable Products at Defra; and, Marcus Gover, Director at WRAP.  

All interested applicants must register by 12 November 2014. Only registered applicants can submit their ideas. The closing date for submissions is midnight on 19 January 2015. Three finalists will be chosen and interviewed by the judging panel in February 2015 and the winner announced shortly after.  

For details on how to register and to view the full awards brief and supporting information please visit

Follow the progress and get involved on Twitter by using #design4longevity. 

For any applicant enquiries please email 


Notes to editors: 

* Valuing Our Clothes – The true cost of how we design, use and dispose of clothes in the UK

**SCAP 2020 signatories and supporters, including – Stella McCartney, ASOS, John Lewis, M&S, Ted Baker and Whistles.

Key fact: More than a million tonnes of clothes are supplied onto the UK market each year, and UK consumers spend £44 billion a year buying them.  However, more than a third of these purchase end up in landfill when they’re finished with. Valuing Our Clothes

SCAP: SCAP’s ambition is to improve the sustainability of clothing across its lifecycle. By bringing together industry, government and the third sector it aims to reduce resource use and secure recognition for corporate performance through sector-wide targets. The SCAP 2020 Commitment sets out these targets. Leading clothing sector companies have signed up to the Commitment and pledged to measure and reduce their environmental footprints. SCAP 2020 has seven action areas – ‘Design for Longevity’ is one of these areas and the SCAP ELC Awards sit within this. SCAP is overseen by a Steering Group, consisting of major retailers, brands, recyclers, sector bodies, NGOs and charities, and include four working groups: Design, Re-use & Recycling, Influencing consumer behaviours and Metrics.  

Love Your Clothes – is the consumer campaign, launched by WRAP in early 2014. It aims to raise awareness of the value of clothes and help consumers make the most of the clothes they already have. It’s focused on encouraging people to think about way they purchase, use and dispose of clothes. It provides easy and practical tips and advice on how to: make clothes last longer; reduce the environmental impact of laundering clothes; deal with unwanted clothes; and, make the most of what’s already in the wardrobe.

About WRAP

WRAP’s vision is a world in which resources are used sustainably. It works in partnership to help businesses, individuals and communities improve resource efficiency. Established as a not-for-profit company in 2000, WRAP is backed by government funding from England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.

Visit and follow us on Twitter at @Wrap_UK


Clare Usher

PR Officer
01295 819678