MEDASSET’s (Mediterranean Association to Save the Sea Turtles) exhibition of clothing made with yarn reclaimed from the sea has reached the second stage of its journey, after a month’s stay at Golden Hall shopping centre in Marousi. CRETAquarium, one of Europe’s largest and most contemporary aquaria, near Heraklion, Crete, has opened its doors to the “Healthy Seas Fashion Project” and presents the exhibition until the end of September.
The exhibition was created with the support of the Representation of the EC in Greece, on the occasion of MEDASSET’s first anniversary as coordinator in Greece of the European initiative: “Healthy Seas: A Journey from Waste to Wear”.
The “Healthy Seas” initiative aims to remove fishing nets that have been caught up on wrecks or snagged by rocky outcrops on the ocean floor. The deadly “ghost nets” go on trapping all kinds of marine creatures, such as turtles, dolphins, seals, etc., but once they are removed they can be processed, along with other waste products, and recycled to make ECONYL® – a premium quality yarn that is ideal for use in the manufacture of clothing and other products, such as carpet. The initiative promotes a new model of sustainable development that is based on the concept of a circular economy – maximising the potential of existing resources while reducing their waste. It is being run in 5 European states (Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands, Greece and the United Kingdom).
Once visitors to the aquarium have admired the 2,000 individual marine creatures from 200 different Mediterranean species, they will have an opportunity to enjoy a unique exhibition that demonstrates what can happen when environmental awareness, fashion, and the principles of the circular economy meet. Behind-the-scenes videos illustrate how the Fashion Project came into being, while breath-taking underwater footage, which show just how damaging “ghost nets” can be to marine fauna, complete the experience.
The garments displayed in the exhibition have all been created by students and recent graduates of the fashion department of AKTO College of Art and Design. They represent the work of finalists in MEDASSET’s competition, “Healthy Seas: A Journey from Waste to Wear” Fashion Project, which took place in May 2016 in collaboration with the DoitEco Project. Each of the 10 exhibitors, chosen from an initial entry of 23, has used fabric woven in Italy from ECONYL® yarn together with other environmentally-friendly materials (such as organic cotton, plant-based dyes, re-purposed cloth, linen and canvas) to create a pair of garments based on a common concept; one a ‘ready to wear’ piece and the other a more ‘conceptual’ one.
“Healthy Seas: A Journey from Waste to Wear” Fashion Project is run under the auspices of the Hellenic Republic Ministry of Culture & Sports, UNEP/MAP – the United Nations Environment Programme’s Mediterranean Action Plan under the Barcelona Convention, SEV Business Council for Sustainable Development, and the Greek Council for UNESCO. It is supported by the Representation of the EC in Greece, ASAP Athens, Kosmocar, ΑΝΕΚ Lines και Blue Star Ferries.
The General Secretary of the Ministry of Culture and Sports, Ms Maria Vlazaki, declared: “The highly original concept that underpins this exhibition, and the emphasis it places on taking environmentally sound action and the value of using recycled materials in the manufacture of useful new products, point the way toward strategies for raising awareness in society of how interconnected culture and the environment truly are.”
The exhibition stage was designed and built by Greek Architect Evi Polychroniadou.