ReGo Project Participants holding their manifestos. Photo by Francesco Mazzarella_-12.jpg

ReGo means to rethink our ego and go again and again through a continuous process of change both in oneself and in society. It is a strategic design project connecting creatives across disciplines with the aim to illustrate to young people that they have a choice in shaping their lives to be more purposeful. It leverages the power of fashion, making, and storytelling to shift the prevailing narrative around youth violence initially, and then focusing on other societal issues that the participants want to address through design activism.


Funded by Foundation for Future London, the project comprises a combination of training in fashion design, media and social entrepreneurship delivered by London College of Fashion (LCF), alongside transformational mindset coaching from Catalyst in Communities, and hands-on work experience with local businesses.


Throughout the initial project campaign, knives are transformed into a collection of fashion items, co-created by young people from four east London boroughs (Waltham Forest, Newham, Hackney and Tower Hamlets) and local fashion brands. The ReGo project team will then move on to using fashion activism to raise awareness and challenge additional societal issues.


The project provides opportunities for the young people involved, to gain new skills and build employability. The project aims at exploring the meanings of fashion, supporting learning about materials and making processes, leading to valuing more the garments which we wear, nurturing diverse competencies, and catalysing change in others as well as in oneself.


ReGo uses fashion activism to address societal issues and offers educational and employment opportunities for young people in the fashion industry.

Fashion Activism Against Knife Crime 

Levels of serious violence between young people in London are persistently high. Knife offences involving people aged 10-17 have risen from 2,639 in 2013 to 4,652 in 2019 (Ministry of Justice, 2020). This is not a new story, and not much is changing to address this issue. Within this context, the purpose of project ReGo is to turn knives – the very weapons that can take a life – into something that could support a life. The assumption behind this project is that a knife is only dangerous in someone’s hand; up until that point, it is just a piece of metal. To shift this narrative, the ReGo  project team receives knives from KnifeSafe – an organisation that collects knives in bins to make public places and venues safer and securely disposes of them, by crushing the metal. Project ReGo transforms – through water jet technology – the metal of the knives into items of a bespoke fashion collection (including jewellery, bags, and garments) manufactured by local brands.

In doing so, the project contributes to demonstrating that adopting a public health approach is needed to give youth agency and produce social change in order to subvert the potent allure of knife crime. With research showing the multiple factors inherent in knife crime, working across public agencies, community stakeholders and industry professionals to bring about positive action is essential. With this in mind, project ReGo enables a multidisciplinary team to come together to share their knowledge and respond to the experiences and aspirations of local young people, determined to activate positive change.

Project Outcomes

ReGo builds on the success of pilot project ‘CUT’, which transformed 270 knives into buttons and rivets which were used in a bespoke collection of 150 jeans, donated by Blackhorse Lane Ateliers, a denim design and manufacturing business based in Waltham Forest, London. The CUT project team organised co-creation workshops with young people from Waltham Forest to customise and produce a collection of jeans, aimed at protecting young lives, through fashion activism and raising awareness. Participating in the project, the young people have gained agency and new skills that will make a lasting impact on their lives. Project CUT has received a ‘Good Brand 2021 Award’ from Sublime magazine in recognition of advancing social and environmental sustainability, evidencing the potential for socially engaged innovative and collaborative business models and inspiring and leading the way for future fashion brands.


Project ReGo demonstrates how design operates within a cultural context and provides room for relational engagements and strategic experimentation. It illustrates the power of fashion to shape better lives, and shows how culture, creativity and collaboration can play a crucial part in tackling some of the most challenging issues facing society. Putting young people at the heart of the creative project has enabled them to influence the shape of the project, leading to meaningful connections and lasting impacts. A public engagement event (consisting of a panel debate, film screening, a music performance, and exhibition of the project outputs) has been delivered. To accompany the exhibition, and to launch the fashion collection, the team collaborated with creative street advertising specialists JACK, part of BUILDHOLLYWOOD, across sites in East London, showcasing an exclusive photoshoot starring the young people involved in the project. The ReGo collection is available to rent exclusively via LOANHOOD, the innovative rental platform offering a sustainable and accessible way to refresh wardrobes and wear unique high-end items that people might not otherwise have has access to. All proceeds raised will go towards supporting on-going educational and employment opportunities for young people in fashion.


Project ReGo offers a generalisable framework that can apply meaningful techniques across different settings linked to diverse subject foci. Such a project sought to work locally to map the drivers and barriers for knife crime, co-creating knowledge as well as products with young people and youth workers, to make a difference in local communities, and to increase relational networks. Building on the experience of the young people, new skills, relationships and opportunities are generated. The potential focus of such a fashion activist project as well as its creative network, skills and techniques are numerous and scalable and offer further opportunities for incremental knowledge exchange.


For more information, watch the short film below. 

Project Team

  • Dr Francesco Mazzarella, Senior Lecturer in Fashion and Design for Social Change at CSF

  • Robin Lockhart, Director of Catalyst in Communities

  • Cassie Quinn, Project Coordinator

Get Involved

Interested in joining the project?

Sign up via YouMeUs and select Fashion from the list of options. 

Contact for the project 

Dr Francesco Mazzarella, Research Fellow in Fashion and Design for Social Change




Project ReGo was funded by Westfield East Bank Creative Futures Fund, funded by Westfield Stratford City and delivered by Foundation for Future London.