Sustainable Challenge returns to Barcelona

Between November 10 and 12, the 4th Edition of the Sustainable Challenge took place at the Disseny Hub in Barcelona. This year was the first time that it was done in person due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The MODA-FAD and Design Manchester project ended this Saturday with a parade on the 4th floor of the museum from 6:30 p.m. until 20:30.

Over two and a half days, 30 students from British and Spanish schools have been divided into six mixed groups to develop a design that will be adapted to this year’s theme “Fashion for body diversity”. Cristian Lago, head of training and knowledge of the ECOM Federation (a movement promoted by people with physical disabilities who work to achieve an inclusive society) has been surprised to see the results. “I am very proud to see all the talent that young people have and what they can contribute to the fashion industry and to society”, guaranteed Lago.

Marina Vergés, responsible of Sustainable Challenge, fashion stylist and journalist, co-founder of Free Form Style (an inclusive and adapted clothing brand) has assured that “fashion is a form of expression and identity”. For this reason, the first thing that the students have done has been to have a conversation with their models. “We wanted to understand their needs and make them feel comfortable with the design,” explains Ariadna Martínez, an LCI student in Barcelona.

The show began with a speech by Vergés in which she thanked Barcelona and British Councils for her support. Then the six models wearing the designs began to cross the catwalk. Once the event was over, there was a catering to celebrate fashion, sustainability and the inclusion of all bodies. Finally, the host concluded that “every body is valuable and growing more inclusively is the best we can do”.

Sustainable Challenge adapts fashion to every disability

Eulàlia Pedrola in her red and black dress I Claudia Salinas

Eulàlia Pedrola in her red and black dress

The first team designed a kimono with different fabrics for Xavi Carregal, a young blind man, and his group has adapted to it. Their focus was sensory impairment so they included braille embroidery.

In the second look they have taken into account the wheelchair that Aina Tejedo uses and have accommodated to it. They wanted their design to be easy and simple, but at the same time sexy. It is a long, silver and reversible dress with a circle in the chest area to make it look more feminine. “We wanted to empower her disability,” said Ayah Almashri, a student at the University of Huddersfield (UK).

The third model was Lydia Juvanteny. After asking her what problems she finds when looking for clothes, as she is plus-size, they have set to work on her. They have decided to make a dark grey vest/corset that can be adjusted on the sides to personal taste.  At the bottom they have opted for a flared orange skirt to give it a touch of colour.

In the fourth group, the model Claudia Martín has Down syndrome. The outfit they have chosen was more casual with a crop-top sweatshirt and a tight skirt to highlight her figure. They wanted it to be comfortable and functional.

The fifth to cross the catwalk was Alejandro Urbano. The young man has autism and they have created a look with a soft touch and joined seams. Giving it a touch of contemporary menswear with velcro and elastics.

Last but not least, Eulàlia Pedrola, with a prosthesis on her right leg, wore a very daring red and black look. “Everyone wants to be fashionable, they just need a chance,” explains Ruanda Farooqi (a student at the University of Central Lancashire).

Work by:

Khalid Ansari and Claudia Salinas

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