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Sustainability, identity, digital technologies and material innovations play important roles in creative practice at the RCA. MA Fashion students are encouraged to take a disruptive and critical approach. They question the current conditions of fashion practice and industry, leading to new aesthetics and responses.

From the choice of materials for a more sustainable and equitable means of production, to creating narratives that express identity and explore our relationship with the earth, five fashion alumni and students explore how their practice intersects with issues across these areas.

Jenny Huang

Jenny Huang is a current MA Fashion student. Her practice focuses on developing an alternative method for design manufacturing, by pre-programming and building the desired construction into 2D surfaces.

“I like to ask myself: what if? It’s sort of like a mantra that keeps me rolling. [...] When it comes to my design practice I wonder what if we flip the general design process the other way around. What if we allow the material to inform us as a new design tool, what if it tells us what it wants to be shaped into”

Jenny Huang MA Fashion student
Dilemmas for Earthlings

With a background in graphic and product design, Zongbo Jiang creates digital characters, which often take strange and comedic forms. Focusing on issues such as mental health, animal rights and the environment Jiang offers an alternative digital representation of dilemmas within these areas.

“An earthling is a term that describes all living things on earth. It doesn’t separate or discriminate but brings us together as inhabitants of this planet.”

Zongbo Jiang MA Fashion alumni

While at the RCA Reiss Theodore Dendie explored ways to make sustainable footwear that is cost effective as well as luxurious and desirable. This included devising alternative construction methods for working with canvas made from recycled fibres, as well as implementing a closed loop manufacturing system recycling the waste material from the pattern cutting process.

“When I think of energy I think of consequence, in terms of end of life product, and where that energy is going in terms of me bringing a product into creation [...] My design practice explores the idea of craft in shoe making, led by sustainable methodologies when exploring materiality in construction.”

Reiss Theodore Dendie MA Fashion alumni

Sam Chester is a London-based digital artist and crafts-person whose work orbits ideas of storytelling, moving between the real and unreal, the physical and digital. Inspired by the pagan mysticism and coastal landscape of their hometown, they navigate the relationships and sensualities between nature and magic, the virtual and the cosmos.

“When we are looking at the metaverse and how we engage with different perspectives in virtual worlds [it’s really important to tell] unique and authentic stories, which is where I try to weave in my own identity and my own embodied experience as being a trans woman.”

Sam Chester MA Fashion alumni
Design Museum 'Restore' project

Fashion student Joyce Addai-Davis questions the over-produced mainstream footwear and clothing industry and proposes alternative solutions. After spending time in Ghana’s notorious landfills, heavily caused by second-hand clothing being shipped over by the "Global North", she came to realise that without clear goals as a designer she'll continue to over-produce and fuel over-consumption.

“I look at the process in three stages: we have inception, use and afterlife. For me as a designer, or even a fashion house, you need to look beyond the consumer’s use [...] Whatever you are creating, you need to consider, should your item exist and will it benefit both the human body and the earth’s body. If it doesn’t, then should it really exist?”

Joyce Addai-Davis MA Fashion student

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