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The Lab E20: 6 Months of Sustainability, Community and Creativity

We reflect on the past 6 months of programming at The Lab E20, ahead of the next season of activity.

Since March we’ve been curating The Lab E20’s cultural programme with a focus on sustainability, community and creativity. From summer schools and fashion shows to knitting clubs and panel talks, we’ve hosted a range of exciting events at the expansive Stratford space designed by Christopher Raeburn and owned by Get Living – and we have a lot more planned for the next few months! Read on below to find out some of our event highlights so far and stay tuned to find out what we have coming up for the rest of the year.

Fashion District: Investment Event Series
Our first ever investment series took place over a single day and featured pitching workshops, 1:1 investment clinics with experts, and a Pitcha Kucha Investment Evening where we spotlighted 8 fashion startups and offered them the chance to pitch to a panel of investors and industry experts. The events gave attendees the chance to upgrade their pitching skills, partake in workshops and get business advice and guidance from experts in communication, investment and innovation.

LOANHOOD preview party and pop-up
LOANHOOD kicked off their weekend-long pop-up with a preview party in collaboration with Project ReGo’s exhibition launch (more details below). With over 150 attendees on the night, including designers featured on LOANHOOD’s platform, as well as their members, the event featured an inspiring panel discussion and a DJ to really get the party started. Over the course of the weekend LOANHOOD also organised an upcycling workshop with Saint Muze and a crochet workshop with Crochet Cookey.

Project ReGo Exhibition
Supported by Foundation for Future London and London College of Fashion, ReGo: Our Story in the Making examined how fashion activism can lead to positive social change. Showcased in the exhibition were jewellery, bags, dresses and garments created from repurposed metal from knives received from KnifeSafe – an organisation that aims to reduce knife crime by getting knives off the streets. The items on display were co-created by young people from East London (Newham, Waltham Forest, Hackney and Tower Hamlets) in collaboration with local fashion brands including Michelle-Lowe Holder, FibreLab, The Reclaimery and CQ Studio.

During the course of the exhibition, Michelle-Lowe Holder and The Reclaimery ran several workshops teaching participants practical skills on how to upcycle their wardrobes.

Design Futures 2022 Launch
We celebrated the launch of our innovation challenge Design Futures 2022 at a special evening event in May. The launch night offered attendees the chance to hear from our panel of judges including Craig Smith (PANGAIA), Shajila Dube (Institute of Positive Fashion), Laetitia Forst (Centre for Circular Design), designer Phoebe English, and fashion journalist Sarah Mower, about the challenge. 

Kicking off the event was our keynote speaker Marilyn Martinez from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation who spoke in detail about designing for circularity, followed by the judges who took it in turns to offer advice on applying and shared their thoughts on what they were looking for in terms of submissions, before answering audience questions. Afterwards, guests stuck around to have a drink, feast on canapes and network.  

Anciela ‘El Viaje’ Exhibition
Commissioned by the Colombian ambassador, Mr. Alvaro Gomez Jaramillo, London-based womenswear brand Anciela hosted her first solo exhibition ‘El Viaje.’ Celebrating Colombian folklore, the exhibition explored the relationship between cultural heritage, memories and sustainability. At the launch the Colombian ambassador gave a speech, before an informative talk took place between Jennifer Droguett (ANCIELA) and Liliana Sanguino Ramirez, followed by networking and drinks, with music from DJ Bushbby.

Colèchi’s You Can Knit With Us
Touted as the coolest knitting club in London, You Can Knit With Us, run by fashion research and co-learning agency Colèchi, takes place at The Lab E20 every last Sunday of the month. Having set up the club to democratise fashion and destigmatise knitting culture, YKNWU has invited several knit specialists including Loupy Studio and Restoration London to come along and teach skills to attendees, as well as running a one-off paint party / upcycling workshop with Freaky Upcycle. YKNWU will continue to run on the last Sunday of every month. 

Green Kids Studio
In June, we hosted our very own Green Kids Studio: a sustainable children’s fashion pop-up that ran over an entire weekend. Demonstrating ways that parents and families can engage with sustainable fashion, attendees checked out functional, fun and environmentally friendly products from leading kidswear brands including Bundlee, dotte, VANDALKIDS, Petit Pli, Pip & Henry, Boy Wonder, By Kala x and Zupcycled. Verte London also ran a children’s clothes swap which offered a great opportunity to buy second hand clothing for children and swap out old clothes at the same time. Throughout the weekend we hosted a range of playful activities for little eco warriors to get involved in, including Pip & Henry’s Bug hunt – a unique storytelling activity; workshops by Art Play London, and drop-in craft sessions run by Community Couture

SOBOYE Fashion Show 
Renowned for their beautiful, handcrafted clothes which champion the African diaspora, SOBOYE’s fashion show and pop-up showcased their latest collection, Lagos 54. Paying homage to the iconic 70s nightclub Studio 54 and the vibrancy of Nigeria, guests got an exclusive preview of the collection, as well as the chance to purchase the pieces on display and meet the designer behind the brand. Marking SOBOYE’s first solo show, the event, which was in collaboration with The Company at Winchester School of Art, was a tremendous success with around 100 people in attendance.

Fashion District would like to say a huge thank you to all the businesses who have taken part in our programme of events to date, including:

Art Play London
BRICKS Magazine
By Kala X
Caramel Rock
Catalyst in Communities
Centre for Sustainable Fashion

Community Couture
Darryl Powis
David Phillips
Here Us Collective
London College of Fashion
Loughborough University
Michelle Lowe Holder
Petit Pli

Pip & Henry
Razvan Pestean
The Reclaimery
Reform The Funk
Sisters in Sustainability
Torro Latino UK
Verte London

Follow us on Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter and keep your eyes peeled for more exciting news on the upcoming programme at The Lab E20.