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Waste-conscious Kilgraston Sixth Form catch Times' eye

The Times spots Kilgraston’s preloved fashion zipping ahead

Ah, the Sixth Form Ball. An annual event, in any school’s calendar, which inspires lashings of anticipation and, usually, fake tan.

Add to this mix, a hefty price-tag for a new dress.

But, not necessarily the case at Kilgraston School; a fact spotted by The Times newspaper, the day before the knees' up.

Dress sense

In a bid to reduce the annual 300,000 tonne tally of textiles that end-up in landfill, girls were, this year, encouraged to think differently about their outfits: a ‘preloved’ ball gown swap-shop was established.

“Just after Christmas, staff and pupils were asked to donate,” said Head, Dorothy MacGinty, who will herself wear her own mother’s vintage astrakhan coat and black, velvet, dress. The Head is a great fan of older clothing, regularly donning 35 year old Dior during the school day.

The idea took off: “Even in one year, I see a huge difference in the girls’ attitude when considering different outfit options.”

Upper Sixth pupil, Abbie, is in tune with the Head: “I now think, ‘am I going to wear this again?’ and, if not, I don’t tend to buy it.”

Flora, agrees with her friend: “There’s a cachet to wearing vintage.”

Leading example

Last year, a speech by Mrs MacGinty initiated a ‘Wear it Again’ day, when all 270 pupils wore vintage.

In it, Mrs MacGinty highlighted the “enormous impact the fashion industry has on the world’s carbon footprint” quoting from a 2015 paper, by the industry-led Circular Fibres Initiative.

This organisation reported that global greenhouse gas emissions, from textile production, totalled 1.2 billion tonnes of CO2; equivalent to more than the emissions of all international flights and maritime shipping combined.

Saturday’s ball pressed-ahead with the drive to reduce textile waste, but pupil ‘rethink’ is not confined to glamorous occasions.

“Even in just a few months, I’m more aware of charity shops and what they have to offer,” says Lola, “there’s also been a huge spike in online retailers who sell vintage – ‘depop’ where you can buy and sell is really popular.” The Sixth Former continued: “Influencers, like teenager Olivia Grace, now wear and promote vintage.”

Mum knows best

Being seen in mum’s old outfit is now definitely de rigueur. Pupil Maggie wore her mother’s full-length, backless, Niteline Della Roufogali dress: “It’s over 25 years old. Mum had it from new and wore it to several events in her 20s. I love the shape but especially the quality of the material. It doesn’t look its age at all and has really lasted.”

Couture clashes were avoided by the girls with the useful initiation of the Sixth Form Common Room’s ‘Ball board’: “Everyone puts up their name and a picture of their outfit,” explains Lola, “if you’re in vintage, you’re definitely unique!”

THE TIMES: A week in pictures


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