Twelve students in our Senior Learning Community (SLC) participated in a STEM with Style workshop on Wednesday 18 August. The STEM with Style workshop aimed to combine the understanding of fashion and textiles with upcycling clothing through various wearable tech such as LED lights and electronics.

The STEM with Style workshop was facilitated by Gold Coast Innovation Hub, through Sharon Hunneybell and Sam Winter, the team behind Startup Apprentice and the STEM with Style fashiontech program.

By combining traditional crafts with technology the workshop aimed to bridge the divide between creativity and engineering. Through the workshop, students were able to draw parallels between the fashion industry and engineering with the shared need to design and follow accurate patterns, analyse and test materials for their appropriate use, and the economic considerations associated with the garments that are produced.

“Technology is an enabler of creativity. There are so many ways to apply electronics, programming and engineering skills beyond building websites and apps. STEM with Style showcases that,”

Ms HunneybellSTEM with Style fashiontech

While the use of technology in fashion is a growing trend across Europe and the United States it has not been widely seen or developed in Australia. As well as a fun introduction to wearable tech and futuristic fashion, the workshops aim to raise awareness around sustainable fashion and upcycling practices.

By being aware of the impact of textiles and our social responsibility on how we manage our disposable items including the disposal, recycling and upcycling of our garments. By upcycling to create a new product or to create an art piece from used materials such as textiles helps reduce waste and ultimately our environmental impact.


There are both positives and negatives from our textile waste and while we “recycle” a lot of these garments get shipped overseas. Some of these impacts were explored in a documentary from the ABC.

Please see below for more details.

On a social and environmental issue, clothes that are not recycled or upcycled can end up in third-world countries overseas in the textiles trade. While this has created a boost to the local economy in the form of the second-hand clothing trade, it also has a significant environmental impact on clothes that are unsalable in the form of textile waste. In some cases, large mountains of textiles forming waste piles which also end up in rivers and oceans to form large textile “tentacles”.

The more upcycled or recycled options we can create from unwanted textiles, and being mindful of our consumption and recycling habits, are important lessons to consider as our students become more independent consumers.

You can read more about textile waste from this ABC documentary which aired in August 2021.

Images from ABC / Foreign Correspondent article (source)
Textiles ABC foreign Correspondent