Corporate to Cool

2020-03-09T16:15:30Z (GMT) by Angela Armstrong Ann Muirhead

‘Corporate to Cool’ has evolved out of an ongoing collaborative project ‘Counterfeit to Counter’. Started in 2010 and involving staff and students from Coventry University (CU), Coventry Cyrenians (CC) (a charity for the homeless) and Coventry Trading Standards (CTS).

CU were approached by CC who had been donated counterfeit goods by CTS with the intention that they would be de-branded by the charity, then sold on to raise funds. CC did not have the skills set to de-brand the counterfeit product and sought the advice of the fashion team at CU. The project led to the development of a concept charity store through which upcycled counterfeit garments could be sold.

With government cuts to local council budgets, CTS began to focus on the seizing of counterfeit pharmaceutical and electrical goods that pose a danger to public health. Counterfeit fashion was no longer a priority and the range of counterfeit product available for development diminished.

CC are currently receiving more surplus or out of date corporate wear and uniforms as donations and the project has developed into one that now upcycles corporate wear that is still sold on to raise funds.

‘Right now, in the UK over 39 million people are given corporate uniforms – that’s more than 16,000 tonnes of corporate wear. Nearly 10% of this is being recycled or reused when it is no longer needed, but that means over 90% goes to landfill or gets incinerated.’ (Uniform Reuse, January 2018)


‘Corporate Cool’ is a range of concept upcycled contemporary fashion garments designed and made by CU academics, ‘Corporate to Cool’ has evolved out of an ongoing collaborative project ‘Counterfeit to Counter’. Started in 2010 and involving staff and students from Coventry University (CU), Coventry Cyrenians (CC) (a charity for the homeless) and Coventry Trading Standards (CTS).

CU were approached by CC who had been donated counterfeit goods by CTS with the intention that they would be de-branded by the charity, then sold on to raise funds. CC did not have the skills set to de-brand the counterfeit product and sought the advice of the fashion team at CU. The project led to the development of a concept charity store through which upcycled counterfeit garments could be sold.

With government cuts to local council budgets, CTS began to focus on the seizing of counterfeit pharmaceutical and electrical goods that pose a danger to public health. Counterfeit fashion was no longer a priority and the range of counterfeit product available for development diminished.

CC are currently receiving more surplus or out of date corporate wear and uniforms as donations and the project has developed into one that now upcycles corporate wear that is still sold on to raise funds.

‘Right now, in the UK over 39 million people are given corporate uniforms – that’s more than 16,000 tonnes of corporate wear. Nearly 10% of this is being recycled or reused when it is no longer needed, but that means over 90% goes to landfill or gets incinerated.’

(Uniform Reuse, January 2018)

‘Corporate Cool’ is a range of concept upcycled contemporary fashion garments designed and made by CU academics, Angela Armstrong and Ann Muirhead.


Futurescan 4: Valuing Practice

University of Bolton

23-24 January 2019


Photographs by Tony Radcliffe and Di Downs.