12th July 2012

Brisbane school students will learn about the body's biggest organ - skin - at a Queensland University of Technology (QUT) workshop that will bring together fashion, design and a sun-safe message.

Second Skin: The Power of Clever Design, offered in conjunction with Queensland Academies, will introduce 30 year five to nine students to innovative, hands-on research at QUT's Creative Industries Faculty.

The workshop on Saturday is part of fashion lecturer Dean Brough's investigation into the role fashion can play in promoting sun-safe practices among teenagers.

"Skin has enormous inherent strength but it can't withstand our harsh climate," Mr Brough said.

"This program will look at how clothing and shelter can form a protective 'second skin'.

"Through clever design we can create a considered and often beautiful defence barrier."

Students taking part in the Young Scholars workshop will use a 'hot-house' approach to explore the design process behind creating garments.

They will then develop 'wearable' design objects addressing a sun-safe brief.

The end creations will be paraded before a prestigious judging panel including Brisbane architect Shane Thompson, 2012 Queensland Smart Design Fellowship winner; Project Runaway runner-up Leigh Buchanan; and Louise Baldwin, executive manger of Cancer Council Queensland.

QUT interior design lecturer Natalie Wright will co-facilitate the workshop as part of her research into socially responsible design and the role universities can play in implementing design thinking into schools and communities.

More than 1600 Australians die from skin cancer each year, and two in three Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer before age 70.

Mr Brough said 50 per cent to 80 per cent of a person's lifetime sun exposure occurred in childhood and teenage years.

"Fashion and design are the missing part of the equation when it comes to sun protection," he said.

Make sun safe clothing fashionable
Do we need a third wheelie bin for fast fashion cast-offs?

Media contact: Stephanie Harrington, QUT media officer, 3138 1150, stephanie.harrington@qut.edu.au

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