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What fashion student doesn’t love a corset, a favourite product with GCSE and A level students and their teachers. Where better to start your research than with the late Vivian Westwood. TSC were lucky enough to visit the Vivian Westwood Conduit Street store to see her ‘revolutionary’ corsets on show.

Vivienne Westwood Corset - article image

Vivienne Westwood’s contribution to modern fashion runs from punk to pearls. But the item that perhaps defines her legacy, the corset, is once again enjoying a moment in the fashion spotlight with shows like the Netflix series Bridgerton and its spin-off Queen Charlotte, at brands including Schiaparelli, Fendi and KNWLS, and worn by celebrities such as Adele, Billie Eilish and the model Bella Hadid.

 ‘Exploring the house’s subversion of corsetry from 1987 to the present day, ‘Vivienne Westwood Corsets’ examines Westwood’s approach to underwear as outerwear. The exhibition illustrates the intrinsic links of the corset to historical dress, culture and fine art — which continue to serve as a constant source of inspiration for Vivienne Westwood collections today.’

Vivienne Westwood Corset-exhibition at Conduit street

The designer reinvented the corset by updating a structure that dates to the 18th century.

Dolce Cioffi, a heritage manager who worked on the exhibition, said: “Vivienne literally revolutionised corsets; she did it with the eyes of the modern era.

“She was the first one who did underwear as outerwear. She revolutionised the way we perceive something that was repressive and that was made into a tool of female empowerment.”

Historical research was central to Westwood’s craft, Cioffi added: “By referencing the old, you create the new – this is what she used to say.”

Corsets for men have been gaining popularity – Bad Bunny, a Puerto Rican rapper, wore a corset hoodie while performing at the Coachella music festival – but they have been part of the Westwood repertoire since the 90s.

Vivienne Westwood beaded corsets - exhibition Conduit street store The exhibition’s highlight is two corset jackets embroidered with glass beads to represent the male torso.

Cioffi said: “Vivienne was a pioneer of unisex. Andreas came up with the idea of developing a corset that was made to fit the [male] body rather than readapting a female structure.

Dawn & Nicky 🙂

What We Are Watching…

What We Are Watching…

Rachel Addy has been checking out what we have been watching this month – here’s her reviews:

On Netflix, Amazon, BBC and Disney Plus this month, there have been a number of fantastic documentaries and series. Listed below are a few of our suggestions for you to set for student viewing:


NUMBER 1: Coronation Tailors:  Fit for a King

Celebrating the Kings coronation with a fantastic documentary regarding the construction, workmanship and expense of custom made outfits for our Royal family.

Patrick Grant of The Great British Sewing Bee visits the family business where hundreds of custom ceremonial costumes were made for the coronation. The Kashket family, tasked with crafting thousands of custom outfits for the big day, has four generations of experience producing magnificent ceremonial clothing.

Duration: 59 Mins

Our Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

#britishculture #Royalfamily #tailormade #bespoke #generations


BBC documentary - Fit For A King


This Netflix documentary examines the upcoming major change in fashion manufacturing and design processes and illustrates what our life might look like when it comes to clothing buying in the future. Designers and academics focus on disposable clothing and explore compostable clothing that combines sustainability and personalisation.

Duration: 23 Min

Our Rating : 5 out of 5 stars

#futuristic #3Dprinting #AIfashion #sustainability


Future of Fashion documentary image

NUMBER 3:  Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist 

Given that Vivienne Westwood passed away this year, we thought it would be appropriate to share this Disney documentary on her life, from her work with the Sex Pistols at her store to the iconic clothing items she created. A refined fashion designer for over 40 years reflects on what she has achieved, from her childhood journey, to the runways of Paris & Milan.

Duration: 1hr 19min

Rating 4 out of 5 star

#runway #ragstoriches #activist #punkmovement #icon



Vivienne Westwood documentary





We are thrilled to announce the winners of our STUDENT TEXTILES ARTIST COMPETITION 2023.

We were overwhelmed at the response, receiving over 350 entries this year!!

The judges said they were ‘absolutely in awe, and love seeing all the students creations’,  ‘there is some incredible work, and it wasn’t an easy decision to select the winners’.

This year’s competition was sponsored by JANOME UK & IRELAND Sewing Machines and DRYAD EDUCATION (formerly Specialist Crafts/Heart Education).

JANOME UK have kindly given a 725S sewing machine for each of the 2 winners.

DRYAD EDUCATION (formerly Specialist Crafts/Heart Education) are giving a £50 voucher to the 2 winners and a goody bag to the first 3 places in each category.

Each winner will also receive a TEXTILES SKILLS CENTRE TROPHY and each school will get a free Online TSC course.


– Deborah Shepherd (Creative director of Janome) and the JANOME team

– Adam Brindley (International Business manager) and the DRYAD team

– Fiona Balding:  Ecoprint and natural dyes artist

– Louis-Christian Pendegrass:  Programme Manager in Apprenticeships

– Nicola Perren: Textile Artist & Lecturer

And our amazing student winners are:

A LEVEL winners:

1st prize:  Laila Green: Woking College, Surrey

2nd prize: Sorine Furnace: Bishop’s Stortford College, Bishop’s Stortford

3rd prize:  Leony Ye: Wychwood School, Oxford

GCSE winners:

1st prize: Edie Bairstow: Gateways School, Harewood, Leeds

Joint 2nd prize: Simran Amin: Royal Alexandra & Albert School Reigate Surrey

Joint 2nd prize: Eleanor Shenderey: Gateways School, Harewood, Leeds


Laila Green - Competition A Level winner1st prize:  Laila Green: Woking College, Surrey

Textiles Skills Centre Textiles Artist A Level winner with her teacherwith her teacher Sinead Merry






Textiles Skills centre artist 2nd place A Level - Sorine Furnace + teacher2nd prize: Sorine Furnace: Bishop’s Stortford College, Bishop’s Stortford
With her teacher Charlotte Munch





Leony Ye + teacher Sarah McCullagh 3rd place A Level Textiles Artist Competition 20233rd prize:  Leony Ye: Wychwood School, Oxford
With her Teacher Sarah McCullagh







Edie Barstow GCSE 1st Prize winner Textiles Artist 20231st prize: Edie Bairstow: Gateways School, Harewood, Leeds

Edie Bairstow + Teacher Della HarrisonEdie bairstow + teacher Della Harrison 1st prize GCSE Textiles Artist 2023






Textiles Skills Cente Textiles Artist competition 2023 - Eleanor Shenderey + teacher Della harrison joint 2nd place GCSEJoint 2nd prize: Eleanor Shenderey: Gateways School, Harewood, Leeds

with her teacher Della Harrison







It was such a difficult decision, as we had so many wonderful entries.

A huge thank you to all the students who entered and to those amazing teachers who presented us with such fabulous work! We are thrilled that you entered your amazingly talented students work and demonstrated your own incredible teaching talents and passion for textiles!

TEXTILES ACTION FOR A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE:  Making it Succeed in the Curriculum

TEXTILES ACTION FOR A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE: Making it Succeed in the Curriculum

TEXTILES ACTION FOR A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE:  Making it Succeed in the Curriculum

Dawn Foxall (Founder Textiles Skills Centre)

This is now an online On-Demand course:


Online Course Tackling Sustainability & Climate Change  &  How we can deliver this through a textiles lens

This course uses presentations and materials collated for the Textiles Action For A Sustainable Future conference in June 2023. It focuses on sustainability and climate change, and how textiles education can make practical differences, using case studies approaches from businesses, NGOs and teachers.


Textiles Skills Centre have taken on board the urgency of Climate and Environmental Sustainability!   We need to become part of the Solution, not part of the Pollution!

As educators, we have been tasked to equip and empower young people with the tools to tackle the climate change challenge. Textiles Skills centre online on-demand course aims to give up-to-date information, advice and practical guidance on integrating climate education into D&T and Art & Design Textiles courses.

The focus is on the Fashion & Textiles industry and curriculum, with sustainability experts from high street clothing brands such as PRIMARK and Marks & Spencers; Designers such as Wayne Hemmingway; Climate experts from the MET OFFICE; Manufacturers and Education leaders, discussing how they are addressing the challenges of ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance – standards measuring a business’s impact on society, the environment, and how transparent and accountable it is) and climate change action and how this can be integrated into the curriculum. They will be identifying and outlining how a step change in climate and sustainability education can be made, so that young people have the skills and knowledge needed for the 21st century.

Fashion climate change image

Sustainability in education is being addressed by several groups and associations, including The British Educational Research Association (BERA) who published a manifesto:  EDUCATION FOR ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY: A Guide For Schools

This guide was based on findings from a study to analyse where we are now with education for environmental sustainability, what change is needed, and the barriers to this change.

A summary of the findings showed:

  • Undervaluing of environmental sustainability in government policy, budgetary constraints for schools, the nature of the curriculum and assessment.
  • Prioritising economic considerations in decision-making, teacher workload, exam pressures and constraints, and insufficient confidence, knowledge and agency for all members of the school community.

Download the report HERE

Textiles, Art and Design & Technology subjects are the obvious place to start to embed understanding and knowledge of sustainability and moral values, which could be carried forward into the new generation of artists and designers. We must, however, address the current issues within the subjects of just ‘designing more stuff’ and re-educating textiles and art teachers right from GCSE through to degree level, to update the curriculum and stay connected to the needs of the textiles industry.

We know the fashion and textiles industry is one of the biggest global industries and the most resource-consuming due to its fast cycles, vast consumption, and global supply networks. The practice of sustainability within such an industry is incredibly difficult, with every stage of a garment’s life cycle impacting on climate and the environment.

However, a recent study with students demonstrated there is still a lack of awareness of the full impact of the industry and understanding of what sustainable fashion actually is. When pressed further, most students focused on the repair, reuse, and recycling as their interpretation of fashion sustainability, with little consideration of ethical/social injustice involved in making garments/textile products and the impact that raw materials and resources (water, energy, etc.) had on the planet. This links to the potential barriers of consumption around price and consumers lack of awareness of the environmental impacts that enable fast fashion to be so cheaply priced.
Drapers : Sustainability and the Consumer Report 2022 

Sustainable fashion image

The fact is that as educators we are in the perfect place to deliver this message and ensure that young people understand fully the impact of their consumption habits and change their attitudes towards consumption. Textiles, Art, Design and Technology subjects are where skills and understanding of sustainable practices can be taught.

Respondents believed that intervention in school curricula was the best way to educate future generations about sustainability and that having the skills to maintain longevity in clothing use was a key factor to a more sustainable fashion future.’
(Educating for Change? An investigation into consumers’ perception of sustainability and the educational drivers needed to support sustainable consumption) Kirsty Bennetta & Jemma Oeppen Hill  (Sept 2021)

In 2015 the UNITED NATIONS announced the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, introducing 17 goals with the purpose of meeting the future needs of the planet.
The aim is that by 2030 the sustainable development goals will be taught in every classroom (United Nations, 2021).

Through the introduction of EBACC, limited options above KS3 in the UK were made available in schools past 2018, meaning textiles subjects were merged with Art and Design & Technology, leaving fewer opportunities for young people to understand sustainability issues and acquire vital life skills needed to upcycle or repair clothing.

Incorporating sustainability into the curriculum is the most effective way to educate the future consumer. The embedding of fundamental sustainability practices from a young age is the most successful way to influence and change consumer habits – it is understood that knowledge acquired at school forms lasting habits. An understanding of the negative impacts of fashion and/or how to partake in sustainable practices would provide the future consumer the power to decide on their purchasing decisions and which ultimately affects the cycle.

Eco Printing in the classroom

Eco Printing in the classroom with Fiona Balding

But it isn’t just about circular design and increasing longevity of textiles/fashion products that we can teach. As designers and creators our students can work with a host of options and opportunities to develop new products and ideas to support environmental issues, such as producing natural dyes, experimenting and growing new biomaterials, such as mycelium and creating their own textile waste action plan for school. There are numerous ways to embed the skills and messaging and a whole variety of cross-curricular activities.

If business and education act together, we can overcome the apathy of having inherited a huge problem and focus on being an active part of the solution.

Join the Textiles Skills Centre to focus on sustainability and climate change, and how textiles education can make practical and real differences.













Art Textiles Workshop @ The National Trust Emmetts Garden

Art Textiles Workshop @ The National Trust Emmetts Garden

Art Textiles Workshop @ Emmett’s Garden, Kent 2022

Nicky Simpson – Course Leader: Textiles Skills Centre

Emmett's Garden National Trust, KentAs the nights drawn in and the weather gets colder, the beauty and colours of Autumn and the incoming Winter are upon us. Where better to celebrate this season, than at the National Trust, which is where Nicky led a creative workshop at the enchanting Emmett’s Garden in Kent.

Autumnal Leaves at Emmentts Garden workshop




This National Trust Garden is an Edwardian estate that was owned by Frederic Lubbock and standing on one of the highest spots in Kent it offers panoramic views of the unspoilt Weald.

During October Half Term, Nicky lead the ‘Woodland Banners: A Children’s Collective Art Workshop’, in which children aged 7 to 15, came to make botanical banners using fresh foliage, collected that morning from the garden’s fallen autumnal leaves. The participants worked together with Textile Artist Nicky Simpson, to create nature inspired decorative banners using a heat press, which are now on display in the Stables Tea Room at Emmetts Garden.

Heat Press Workshop at Emmetts Garden in Kent Autumn Leaves Banner using heat press{ainting the leaves









What is truly lovely is that the children who participated were enamoured by the fact that they would be able to see their own artwork on display at Emmetts as part of the collective art project. Some have even been back to pose for pictures next to the art!


Hanging Leaf Banners









Not only did they work on a collective piece, each child also printed and took home their own keepsake mini banner. They loved this creative experience, as did their parents.
Nicky was amazed at how easily they experimented with painting their leaves, creating different patterns and colours, they weren’t afraid of colour as you can see by their results. Many oohs and aahs were heard as they saw the colours they had painted be transferred onto the fabric. It was smiles all round!

Childrens autumn leaf banners

Nicky’s own passions focus on creating Arts and Craft with the heat press, featuring both machine and hand embroidery. Many of her own works involve the flora found naturally in our beautiful English countryside, so this was a lovely project for her to be involved with.


Nicky would like to extend her thanks to the National Trust, the team at Emmetts Garden and the wonderful group of inspiring young people who joined her in the workshops.


“Anyone who thinks fallen leaves are dead has never watched them dancing on a windy day.”   Shira Tamir

Final Banner Artwork


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