Working together in partnership with the ZU-UK, the young people shared skills in fashion design and social entrepreneurism.
“Creative Youth Network have partnered with ZU-UK, an organisation based between London and Rio, who were funded by the British Council and the Co-Creating Change programme to link creatives and cultural organisations together,” explains Emily Bull, creative producer at CYN.
“Young creatives from Brazil’s third largest favela (a Brazilian slum) in the Belo Horizonte, known as the Garota Hacker group, have collaborated with young emerging fashion designers here at the Creative Youth Network in Bristol.
“The Garota Hacker are a group of young Brazilian people brought together by ZU-UK, who are all LGBTQ+ and non-white females, both of which are very marginalised groups in the favela, who have set up a social enterprise fashion company called Hameshe, upcycling found garments at their cultural centre, La Da Favelinha.
“They have been teaching the young Bristol designers about social enterprise and entrepreneurial skills in a workshop, sharing techniques and fashion skills”. continues Emily. “Together they have created a collection that is non-binary and all about sustainable fashion”.
Alongside the fun fashion designs modelled by their makers, the show featured dance and animations all inspired by topical issues such as climate change and the impact fast fashion has on the environment. Additionally, Brazilian street dance group Favelinha Dance raised awareness of the violence and abuse suffered by young people for dancing to funk music, which has been criminalised in Brazil.
The fashion ranges created by both sets of young designers featured upcycled jeans made into dungarees and dresses, jackets and denim shorts embellished with ruffles and trims or spray painted with graffiti. Upcycled retro sportswear pieces and co-ords created from end of roll fabric samples also featured; combining a fun street style collection that is young and vibrant.
Caitlin Baber is a young designer who has been taking part in the project since September 2019 alongside her studies in fashion production at City of Bristol College and says: “I want to learn new skills and get more experience before I go to university and I would recommend Creative Youth Network to anyone who wants to do fashion in the future.
“I was enticed by the first session and really intrigued to see where it would go. We would meet once a week and talk over ideas, experimenting with different fabrics that were donated or from charity shops and scrap stores. A lot of the fabrics I used for my piece were upcycled from friends, family and my own wardrobe! Sustainability is such a big thing in Bristol, so it has tied in really nicely.”
This unique collaboration has also inspired the young Bristol designers to set up their own social enterprise group named Re:Wurk – a sister company to sustainable fashion line Remexe – linked to the Brazilian cultural centre La Da Favelinha.
Creating their own sustainable fashion brands at their studio, inside the favela in Brazil, Cadu costa dos Anjos, centre manager at La Da Favelinha, is passionate about changing the future of fashion.
“The most sustainable clothes are the ones that already exist so we do a lot of upcycling with the clothes, I think the last thing the world needs right now is another brand but at least it is sustainable,” says Cadu.
“We were very excited to come to Bristol and the group of young people were super creative and hardworking, they were awesome,” adds Cadu. “I want to take the Bristol designers to Brazil! We just connected and bonded.”
Read our fashion editor Emma’s blog No Debutante
Read more: Generation Upcycle