St. Clement’s Redefining Design: the construction of sustainable fashion

Posted: 15 September 2021


Now in its 14th year, Lumina is the much anticipated annual fashion design show at St. Clement’s School. This student-organized event brings together Junior, Middle, and Senior School students to produce a united collection of choreographed scenes which showcase the designs. This year, students were challenged to “redefine design” and to produce clothes that are more sustainable and environmentally conscious, while aiming to educate the school community on the environmental issues in the fashion industry. The theme also aligned well with The Kasiisi Project, the organization receiving the proceeds from ticket sales.


Planning and organizing started in September and ran through to March, followed by video production prior to the final webinar/live viewing. This year, the overall production was led and planned by Sophie Brigis in Grade 12 plus a committee and volunteers, and a staff advisor to provide support and any assistance as needed. Sophie had a very detailed calendar with deadlines and key production milestones; it was remarkable really how she kept everyone organized.The theme was central to planning for all roles as it influenced design, patterns, fabrics, and aesthetics. Designers had to plan and research how sustainability would be woven into their concepts and to redefine the notion of “fast fashion” as the norm. The theme also helped redefine the show itself as a virtual event rather than a live, traditional catwalk. The scenes were pre-recorded, with live segments from Sophie.

Each scene involved a Designer, in charge of constructing the clothing; a Creative Scene Designer, who focused on the presentation of the outfits; and Design Support Members, who assisted the Creative Scene Designer. Together, the scene members were challenged to work together to develop a shared vision for their scene, following the overall guiding theme of sustainability. Other roles such as Design Lead, Tech Advisor, Graphic Designer, and the Website Team were also involved with the production. As part of the planning process, students researched designers, trends, fast fashion, sustainable fashion, and what a contemporary show looks and feels like. Students interviewed a fashion designer from a well-known label in Italy who was able to give some advice to the designers.

Sophie and the committee eliminated vocabulary such as ‘choreographer’ and ‘model’ and changed this to ‘design lead’ and ‘design assistant’ as she wanted it to be fully inclusive, and for all students to feel they could participate and not conform to stereotypes.

This was the first year where Sophie opened up opportunities to Grade 9 students, and also asked for designs from our Junior School (Grades 5 and 6). The younger students worked with the designers to create their designs and so it was a great collaboration.



The show was split into approximately 10 “scenes” where designers explained how they interpreted the theme and the sustainable elements used in their designs. Their collection was then worn by students, set to music and choreography which complemented the concept of the clothes. Concepts included one item four ways, monochrome, neutrals, nuance, Renaissance, world of fantasy, the forest, and the Olympics. 

Students filmed each scene, and the final show was edited together with introductions and interviews from key people involved.


For this year, Lumina focused on constructing sustainable fashion and redefining design by respecting sustainability and its meaning. Sustainable fashion is the movement and process of fostering change to fashion products and the fashion system towards greater ecological integrity and social justice.

Lumina encouraged students to be inventive and use sustainable design practices, and focused on embracing a “zero-waste” approach. Students did this by up-cycling fabrics, using zero waste patterns, and utilising timeless designs and natural dyes.

The research the students did into fast fashion really hit home for them. During morning meetings, students would share facts, such as how it takes 700 gallons of water to make a single T-shirt and how the majority of clothing ends up in landfill. This really surprised them and inspired them to make more sustainable choices. 


Proceeds from Lumina’s ticket sales went to an SCS global community partner, The Kasiisi Project. During the show, attendees had the opportunity to hear from the Director, Elizabeth Ross, as well as a Kasiisi Project Board Member who is also an alumna of St. Clement’s. Over $4,000.00 was raised, which is incredible given the minimal charge per ticket as it was an online event. 

The mission of The Kasiisi Project is to help conserve Kibale National Park, Uganda. Projects are aimed at the local primary school children who are supported through programs that promote education, health, and care for the environment. The money raised will help support and educate communities to protect Kibale’s wildlife and habitats.


Students want to be part of Lumina. It gives students confidence, the chance to be creative, and to problem solve. There is serious talent in the School and it is sometimes the most unlikely students who create the most stunning and creative designs. Students develop important teamworking skills, as students from across the School in different year groups with different interests collaborate. This year especially has allowed students to think outside the box and get inventive in order to transform this annual event into a virtual one. Students are proud to be part of the production, which this year, is  testament to Sophie’s extraordinary work ethic and vision.

We hope the messaging from this year’s theme has helped to build a commitment to sustainability and embed a spirit of Environmentalism. 


Author: Louise Melville, RS Rep, St. Clement’s School

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