Students make an impact with sustainable fashion at John Lewis

Posted: April 8, 2022

Students from Leeds City College have created a ‘stunning’ sustainable fashion display for one of the city’s highest profile stores.

The striking window exhibit at John Lewis features clothes, and art pieces, that have all been created by Fashion and Textiles students out of previous garments or recycled materials.

The students produced the clothes through their Make an Impact Project which, as the text on the window display explains, is all about pursuing upcycling and sustainability in fashion.

That scheme received a major boost after refugee support charity Yorkshire Aid got in touch to offer some donated clothing that it had been unable to use.

The college then jumped at the chance to team up with John Lewis – and the students are now ‘buzzing’ at the results.

A showcase for creativity and environmental responsibility

Visual and Digital Arts teacher at the college’s Quarry Hill campus, Amelia Johnson, said: “The students’ brief was called Make an Impact, and they have done just that!

“They have been buzzing and are feeling very proud about seeing their work in the store’s windows on their walk into college.

“They are eager for more opportunities like this and it has clearly motivated them after what has been a very challenging time in their education.

“Some students also gained work experience through dressing the windows, and the John Lewis staff were very supportive while allowing them creative freedom.”

Leeds City College students beside their sustainable fashion window display at John Lewis

Fashion and Textiles students beside their sustainable fashion window display at John Lewis

Laura Prince, from the college’s Events team, said: “This has been a fantastic opportunity to showcase the Make an Impact project in our city’s John Lewis store, giving our textile learners the chance to both design and dress the windows.

“We are thankful to the John Lewis staff for helping and mentoring the learners during the window dressing, and for supporting their work from the offset. It has helped our students feel proud of their designs and accomplishments.”

Partner & Events and Marketing Coordinator at John Lewis Leeds, Natasha Whalley, was full of praise for the students’ efforts.

She said: “The team was really grateful to have the opportunity to collaborate with Leeds City College and exhibit its Make an Impact Project.

“It was a pleasure working with the students and we hope the experience they had installing their work gave them a real insight into working in a live retail environment.

“They worked in a professional manner and contributed to the creative aspect of the installation, which ultimately resulted in a well executed window.

“The sustainability message ties in with our brand vision and has gained great feedback from our customers and partners. We are excited for future opportunities to collaborate with Leeds City College.”

Yorkshire Aid collects items to send to asylum seekers, refugees and migrants in need.  For more information visit

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