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Recycled & re-used clothing design through peer learning and social media
Date du début: 1 sept. 2014, Date de fin: 31 août 2017 PROJET  TERMINÉ 

Previously loved items deserve a second chance to inspire us again; people with mental health problems deserve a second chance to take control of their life. In today's throw-away society it seems that nothing is valuable, that we can change our clothes or even the people around us in the blink of an eye. We want people to return to valuing what is all around them, show them that creativity, lifelong learning and empathy are powerful tools than can change the world! Chic&Craft is an on-line training course specially designed for people with mental health issues which aims to re-use and recycle second-hand clothes and waste materials to create a unique European fashion brand where hand-craft designs and original creations play a major role. Hand-craft is a therapeutic activity; through crafts, people can express themselves in a safe, non-threatening manner, which may be easier than sharing their internal feelings verbally. Inspired by this way of understanding the world, a complete set of training modules will be created including the most frequently used fashion design techniques, creative ideas to implement with training groups and the use of social media as communication and empowerment tools. Around 100 people with mental illness (schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, etc.) will be trained in five different pilot experiences in Spain, Slovenia, Germany, Greece and Lithuania during a year. At least 10 trainers from these countries will be involved in the testing phase. Feedback from these experiences will help improving the quality of the teaching materials and will inspire other organizations to reproduce the experience in the future. Employment is recognised as providing people with a social identity, sense of meaning and sense of self-esteem and there is a close inter-relationship between the EU’s policy objectives of prosperity, social inclusion and security and public health on the one hand, and mental health on the other. Although labour integration is a crucial step in the recovery process, employment rates within this target group barely reaches 10%. That is why learning opportunities for people with mental illness are so important and needed, they can pave the way to employment. Through Chic&Craft project, it is expected that some trainees will find a job in the clothing sector and this initiative will contribute to it by promoting the establishment of social enterprises that will hire some of the attendees to the training course. The organization of pop-up stores and catwalks will show the original creations produced during the course. They will not only be a business opportunity but also funny and positive anti-stigma actions that will show the community the potential, creativity and valuable skills that people living with mental illness have. The key innovative factor in this training course lies in the methodology of peer learning which complements the recycling textiles technical knowledge. The choice of these two sectors that will benefit from the project is grounded in previous research and experience of some project partners: it has been proven that hand-craft is an effective therapeutic activity for people suffering from mental health problems and that peer learning is an efficient recovery “vehicle”. The figure of the "Tailor-made" teams will be created (peer trainers) to help the trainees to realise their hidden abilities and commit with their own learning process. Peer learning is mutually beneficial and involves the sharing of knowledge, ideas and experience between the participants. Through practical experiences, trainees will develop skills in organizing and planning learning activities, working with others in a collaborative way, giving and receiving feedback and assessing their own learning process. A methodological toolkit will be published on-line, which will include tips and suggestions to apply peer learning to empower people with mental illness and will be applicable to other training courses targeting people with special needs. Furthermore, Chic&Craft plans to implement a complex PR campaign involving the latest trends in content-marketing to disseminate in the most effective manner, reaching a wide proportion of the public and initiating a dialogue with it. This will guarantee a multiplying effect and encourage partners and local and regional authorities to think about its future large-scale incarnations. The use of social media (blogs, fashion magazines, social networks) and the edition of tutorial videos will help the trainees to open themselves to the world, express their views and opinions as well as to promote interaction with other people interested in hand-craft. Chic&Craft is an explosive mix of creativity, imagination, artistic expression, responsibility, recovery, communication, team building, autonomy and entrepreneurship. Their hands, their willingness to learn and work, together with some support, will be all they need to change their world.



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