Shwop Lab was a temporary sustainable fashion workshop in the heart of London’s East End, opened as part of a project launched by Marks & Spencer & Oxfam to promote their ‘shwopping’ sustainable fashion initiative.
Conceived by marketing agency Unity, the Shwop Lab was curated by The London College of Fashion’s Centre for Sustainable Fashion, with the aim of exploring the future of fashion through a series of ground-breaking collaborations with the UK’s leading lights in sustainable fashion and design.
Fashion influencers, designers, stylists, thought-leaders and visionaries will work with students and the public to both explore and debate the future of a more sustainable fashion industry. To enter the lab visitors had to hand over an unwanted item of clothing from their wardrobe, using yesterday’s clothes as a ticket to the future of fashion.
The design of the space captures the essence of a workshop with a large table to accommodate the various processes involved in shaping garments, with a series of atelier / workshop lamps overhead. The main challenge was to create flexibility to allow the space to be configured to host parties, workshops and talks, as well as a working environment.
This was achieved though a series of movable elements such as large mobile bleachers that can be configured to face the table for practical workshops, can be set up theatre style for talks and can be set against the perimeter wall to offer seating at planned social events. The bleachers can additionally be used as for displaying the up-cycled garments. A number of open ‘wardrobe’ units, again mobile, have designed-in flexibility to allow the unit to be used either for display or for storage.
Recycled or repurposed materials were used throughout, including repurposed scaffold legs and reconditioned kitchen worktops for the main table and reconditioned kitchen worktops were additionally used to build the bleachers.