An evening of style and sustainability

Project Harrow Fashion – Harrow Hong Kong’s first ever charity fashion show – took to the catwalk this week (18th March), raising both funds and environmental awareness in the process.

Forty-four pupils, 36 single-use carrier bags, 58 empty soda bottles, 48 empty drinks cans, three metres of chicken wire and countless more recycled or upcycled materials all combined to make a highly memorable and entertaining showcase, inspired by the theme of culture and sustainability.

While final donations are still being received, the sell-out event is expected to have raised HK$20,000 for the School’s pupil-nominated charities. 

Project Harrow Fashion was a new addition to the Super-Curriculum programme for 2018-19.  Reflecting the cultural diversity of the School community, the events management team set the group of pupil designers the challenge of creating their fashion collections from cultural ‘zones’ including the West, Asia, Africa and the Indian subcontinent. 

With an emphasis on ‘reduce, reuse and recycle’, the environmentally-motivated designers chose to gather as much raw material as possible from sources which might otherwise have been classified as waste. 

“The designers worked in teams to create garments which reflected their cultural inspirations and were able to work with a range of techniques,” explained Project Harrow Fashion Creative Director and Teacher of Art, Mrs Gemma Myles.

“As Harrow does not have an existing textiles curriculum, many pupils used sewing machines and explored textiles techniques for the first time. Some were able to use more simplistic construction to create structural statement pieces, whilst others chose a more traditional aesthetic. 

“Pupils used a range of techniques, from traditional sewing and garment construction to staplers and glue guns. By ironing single-use plastic bags they were able to turn plastic waste into usable fabric which could be sewn on the sewing machine without affecting structural integrity.” 

Fifty percent of all garments produced for the evening involved upcycled clothing which was reinvented and customised in varying ways.

With a budget of HK$0, pupils in the events management team raised funds from initiatives such as bake sales and local sponsorships, to pay for catering, props and other elements of the event in order to be able to donate 100% of ticket sales to the School's eight supported charities. 

“Everything came together brilliantly on the night, and we even had a bonus outfit appear that surprised me!” said Mrs Myles.  “We showed 22 outfits in total, which were a mix of wearable fashion items to more sculptured, showstopper pieces. We had a mix of static fashion, where the models were presenting their pieces as statuesque Art installations, with the evening then culminating in a big catwalk down the stairs.  

‘’It’s certainly the first time there’s been an Art event on this scale at Harrow Hong Kong, and there were some really stand-out pupils in the whole process, both on the design and the events management teams.  Dariya and Sophie in Year 10 were brilliant. They were really proactive, and prolific from a design point of view, with the most outfits made. Melody in Year 13 was also amazing in terms of contacting local businesses for support and sponsorship.”

After its hugely successful debut, Project Harrow Fashion promises to return on an even greater scale in 2020. 

The School would like to thank its sponsors Leanne Claxton, Retykle, Carballo, 3E Planet, Bodinker, and Sweet Fashion House, and all those who attended and donated on a memorable night.

Project Harrow Fashion