Creating Sustainable Fashion

Discover our competition on sustainable Commonwealth Fashion

By Commonwealth Fashion Council

Caramel Rock

Faith Johnson, MD introduces the Commonwealth, From the Commonwealth Fashion Collection

CR logo (2021) by Caramel RockCommonwealth Fashion Council

Suchada Sae-Khow

Award: Planet. Commonwealth Fashion Council and Caramel Rock would like to acknowledge Suchada’s work with eco-friendly dyes and sustainable working practices 

Suchada Sae, Caramel Rock Student submission. (2021) by Suchada Sae and Caramel RockCommonwealth Fashion Council

Suchada Sae, Caramel Rock Student submission., Suchada Sae and Caramel Rock, 2021, From the collection of: Commonwealth Fashion Council

Suchada is a textile fabric developer, and knitwear designer enrolled on the BTEC Level 2 Certificate in Art and Design. She is passionate about sustainability and ethical design practices in the fashion industry. Her interest in sustainability began when she moved from Thailand to North Wales at 12 years old. As a child of an immigrant family, she grew up up-cycling old clothes and fabrics from charity shops by customising, deconstructing, dying and bleaching them to make each piece unique.

Suchada plans to create knitwear pieces that have less than 10% emissions impact by using recycled year off-cut yarns from charity, unravelling yarn from pre-loved clothing, working with suppliers and manufacturers, as well as using plant-based pineapple leaf yarns, which she is sourcing from NextEvo. Suchada aims to promote sustainable agriculture and zero-waste by working with farmers in the Philippines, Thailand, and Indonesia. Recycling and reconstructing pineapple leaves into fibres.

Matthew Solomon (2021) by Caramel RockCommonwealth Fashion Council

Matthew Solomon

Award: People. Commonwealth Fashion Council and Caramel Rock would like to acknowledge Matthew’s aim to work with insects.

Matthew Solomon Caramel Rock Students work (2021) by Matthew SolomonCommonwealth Fashion Council

Matthew Solomon Caramel Rock Students work, Matthew Solomon, Caramel Rock, 2021, From the collection of: Commonwealth Fashion Council

Matthew is a unisex designer enrolled on the BTEC Level 1 Certificate in Art and Design. He has designed a collection of outerwear, raincoats, ponchos and jackets inspired by research done on fashion designers Christopher Marley and Yves Kline.


Matthew's faith is an important influence in his work. It fuels him to think consciously about his choices, his craft's environmental impact, and how these choices could act more positively. In moving away from fast fashion practices, he hopes to inspire friends and his community to make similar changes in how they consume fashion and how this relates to their craft.

Matthew said his first touchpoint to sustainability was on the course. Learning about this initiative with the Commonwealth Fashion Council inspired him to research eco-fashion and sustainable fashion.

Matthew explained that one constant in this journey he sees playing a big part in the progression of his craft and brand is the research into sustainable practices, materials and processes, which enables him to make informed choices from 2D ideas into 3D.

Alessandro Mensitieri Design (2021) by Alessandro MensitieriCommonwealth Fashion Council

Alessandro Mensitieri

Award: Hope. Commonwealth Fashion Council and Caramel Rock would like to acknowledge Alessandro’s application of sustainable design practices building relationships with millers and fabric suppliers, using end of rolls to make luxury menswear garments.

Alessandro video (2021) by Caramel RockCommonwealth Fashion Council

Alessandro video, Caramel Rock, 2021, From the collection of: Commonwealth Fashion Council

Alessandro is a menswear designer enrolled on the BTEC Level 1 Certificate in Art and Design.

Alessandro aims for comfort, freedom of movement and relaxation, which has led him to create a collection where 'outerwear wraps the body softly, T-shirts slide over the shoulders' and 'trousers support movements'. 80% of his collection was made from off-cuts, end of rolls and discarded fabric.

Alessandro's clean lines and simple shapes were designed in mind to support easy manufacturing of larger scales. As the items are easy to produce, they are suitable for teaching others how to sew and sharing these skills and patterns.

Alessandro states:
My collection is based on carving out one's own space, stopping, reflecting and recharging, to avoid being engulfed by the hectic lifestyle. Only this way can man be saved from a 'system crash' that I fear will inevitably come if we fail to give the right time.

Alessandro Design, Alessandro Mensitieri, Caramel Rock, 2021, From the collection of: Commonwealth Fashion Council
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Alessandro represents a hope for the sustainable production and design of luxury fashion, working with off-cuts and end-of-rolls to create and dictate the outcome of his designs. He supports local businesses by purchasing trims and treads needed in production. He is keen on developing relationships with local millers and fabric suppliers.

Diva Stoilova Garment by Caramel RockCommonwealth Fashion Council

Diva Stoilova

Award: Planet. Commonwealth Fashion Council and Caramel Rock would like to acknowledge Diva’s thrifting and sustainable practices that influence her design and craft by saving objects and garments from going to waste.

Diva Stoilova (2021) by Caramel RockCommonwealth Fashion Council

Diva Stoilova, Caramel Rock, 2021, From the collection of: Commonwealth Fashion Council

Diva is a womenswear designer enrolled on the BTEC Level 1 and 2 Certificate in Art and Design. She is a hunter-gatherer of unique objects and garments as well as being passionate about sustainability, this being her driving force.

She has created an ever-changing wardrobe of button-down skirts that can be connected using the button stands of opposite shirts. Through this, Diva has identified that there is no need to buy one shirt for one use, but one garment can have multiple benefits and functions in your wardrobe.

Diva Stoilova, Caramel Rock, 2021, From the collection of: Commonwealth Fashion Council
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For this competition, Diva has outlined a plan to source materials with her local community. Diva has outlined that though working with local councils, donation boxes could be set up to get residents involved with sustainable fashion practices. Diva has also outlined the possibility to work with larger organisations in the vintage and thrift shop sector like Rocket or Beyond Retro, who gather and source materials to sell.

Through connecting and skill sharing with her local community, Diva aims to bring old clothes and a new lease of life by mending clothes with different embroidery techniques from Commonwealth countries and makers and crafters throughout the Commonwealth.

Diva hopes that clothes will be saved from landfills and that unique embroidery techniques and histories can be passed on through generations and throughout the Commonwealth Community.

Irza Shafique (2021) by Caramel RockCommonwealth Fashion Council

Irza Shafique

Award: People. Commonwealth Fashion Council and Caramel Rock would like to acknowledge Irza’s passion for up-cycling and working with her local community to re-use saris as fabric for new creations and encouraging friends and family to make more sustainable design choices.

Irza Shafique (2021) by Caramel RockCommonwealth Fashion Council

Irza Shafique, Caramel Rock, 2021, From the collection of: Commonwealth Fashion Council

Irza is a womenswear designer enrolled on the BTEC Level 1 Certificate in Art and Design. She aims to aid family and friends in re-framing the uses of pre-worn special occasion saris.

Merging Western and traditional south Asian attire, Irza aims to create outfits that are fit to sparkle and dazzle for those special times a year when friends and family come together to celebrate whilst making some separate wearable pieces to build a sustainable wardrobe.

In Irza's South Eastern culture, it is tradition to buy something new as a good deed for the day. She wanted to make something that she could wear time and time again whilst introducing sustainable design practices. This was an excellent project for during lockdown as it helps keep her mind focused whilst fasting.

Irza said: "I want to create something new, using stuff I already had in my wardrobe, merging my Southeastern culture and western cultures, making something that is special for Eid but can be worn separately after the celebrations.

​​Irza wants to connect with tailors and fabric merchants to use their end of rolls and off-cuts to create new pieces within her community. Irza has also outlined that these new pieces must be still wearable after occasions. Sourcing clothes from charity and vintage stores will aid her and her community to tie these pieces into their everyday wardrobe.

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The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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