Decommissioned Fire Kit upcycled into sustainable clothing

A BA (Hons) Fashion Design Graduate from the University of South Wales (USW), Jessica Evans, has created a collection of sustainable clothing using decommissioned fire kit donated by South Wales Fire and Rescue Service (SWFRS) as part of her final year project.

The contemporary collection was inspired by Jessica’s placement year abroad in Sydney, Australia, where she witnessed first-hand the devastation that the 2020 Bushfires had on the country.

Jessica contacted the Service and we were more than happy to get involved! In total, six jackets and trousers were donated towards Jessica’s project. By upcycling the old fire kit, Jessica was able to create several pieces of sustainable clothing for her collection.

After receiving the fire kit, Jessica took apart the materials and used each layer for a different element of her work. She upcycled the fabrics to create jackets, dresses, trousers, jumpers and even hats which are designed to protect the wearer in extreme weather.

South Wales Fire and Rescue Service Area Manager Nigel Williams said:

“Sustainability is a priority for us as Service and we have pledged to reduce our environmental impact and carbon footprint by 25% in just three years. To see how Jessica has upcycled and transformed our old uniforms into a fashion collection to raise awareness of climate change is inspiring. Jessica’s connections to Australia and her understanding of the impact of wildfires on our communities shines through in her designs. By working together we can ensure we all play our part in protecting the environment for the future.”

Kara Bennett, Sustainability Officer for South Wales Fire and Rescue Service said:

“The preservation of natural resources and the protection of our environment are of paramount importance to SWFRS and very much at the heart of our way of working. Improving the longevity of our much loved protective clothing has long been a challenge, and while we pursue opportunities to extend the life of our kit through donation partnerships, not all kit is fit for purpose. Jessica’s innovative and inspired collection gives us hope that all our ex-service kit may soon be able to contribute to a circular economy, providing value long after its protective duties have been served. Huge congratulations to Jessica on her beautiful designs, paving the way for a sustainable and fashionable future.”

Jessica’s collection was displayed during Graduate Fashion Week, an international showcase of Fashion graduate work from over 90 universities and colleges.

South Wales Fire and Rescue Service recognises how important it is for us to make sure we are committed to reducing our carbon emissions and the impact we have on the environment in everything we do. We are continually working to fulfil the objectives and actions identified within our Carbon Reduction Plan.