Highgate School’s February Fast Fashion-Free campaign is evolving

06:00 23 February 2022

A Highgate school’s sustainable fashion campaign goes national and other educational institutions follow suit.

The school’s Fast Fashion-Free February (FFFF) campaign, now in its fourth year, has gained traction.

Year 12 students Daphne and Mia from the Highgate Environment Committee said the project was a month dedicated to raising awareness of the harmful effects of fast fashion and promoting sustainable fashion.

Highgate pupils are hosting a ‘crafternoon’ session as part of their Fast Fashion-Free February campaign
– Credit: Diarmuid McDonald

An entertainment program was organized this month including a uniform-free day, an “oldest garment” contest, a second-hand clothing sale, a knitting, mending and upcycling circle and a making scrunchies and masks.

Daphne said their weekly Zoom ‘crafternoons’ last year were a ‘lockdown highlight’

She said: “A lot of people buy clothes without considering the environmental and humanitarian impacts of their purchases.

“Fast fashion can be very tempting, it’s easy to be seduced by the low prices and the constantly changing stock of brands.”

Students said shopping at favorite high street stores had ‘hidden and distressing consequences’.

These include synthetic materials such as polyester which can take centuries to biodegrade, while the dyes and chemicals used in the manufacture of clothing contribute to water pollution.

Highgate students during the month of February without fast mode

Highgate students during the month of February without fast mode
– Credit: Diarmuid McDonald

Sarah Mynott, head teacher for the environment at North Road Independent School, said the organization of the four major global fashion weeks takes place in February, so launching a simultaneous campaign was “appropriate and stimulating for all of us “.

She added: “The fashion industry is the second largest polluter in the world, after oil and gas.

“It’s something we can all do every day, from buying less clothes and boycotting fast fashion brands, to buying second-hand or ethically sourced clothes, to just maintaining our garments and repairing them when damaged.”

The school has collaborated this year with the UK Schools Sustainability Network to spread the message.

The Fast Fashion-Free February badge by Highgate School students

The Fast Fashion-Free February badge by Highgate School students
– Credit: Diarmuid McDonald

Mia said, “At the meeting, Daphne and I talked about the origins of FFFF and the events that Highgate organizes. We all collaborated on various ideas.

“It has been very encouraging to see how far this important campaign has spread. The more schools that participate, the more people will know how badly clothing can have an impact.”

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