How Net Zero Barnsley is helping Fashion Toolbox develop sustainable practises

Laura Fish, founder of Fashion Toolbox, is on a mission! She’s passionate about sustainability and wants to promote digital practises in fashion.

Her business, established in 2022, uses fashion design software to help companies reduce carbon emissions. The digital software can visualise garments in 3D, eliminating the need for companies to produce physical samples. Because there are often several iterations of samples couriered all over the world, the potential carbon reductions are significant.

Laura’s uses CLO3D fashion software in her business. She helps companies share their samples online, showing the look and fit of garments in real time. Any changes can then be made digitally during the meeting. It means faster turnaround times, reduced waste, and lower emissions.

“I came across the software completely by accident in 2019 while studying for my Masters. This type of technology has been around for a while, but the avatars weren’t realistic. When I saw the CLO3D software, I was hooked! It ticked all the boxes, and I loved it so much that I decided to learn it.”

Laura Fish, Fashion Toolbox

Fashion Toolbox’s journey to net zero

Laura first heard about Net Zero Barnsley when an email landed in her inbox. Already committed to sustainability, she saw it as a strategic opportunity to deepen her understanding. The programme is helping her look at sustainable practices within her own business. But it’s also giving her valuable knowledge to share with clients.

“I’ve done the baseline assessment workshop, and now I’m working on my innovation plan,” she explains. “I’ve been switching to LED lighting and looking at energy usage. My next step is a deep dive into the power used by all the digital equipment.”

In addition to energy efficiency measures, Laura is digitising her pattern library. With over 100 patterns, this substantial task will help reduce paper waste by providing customers with base block patterns that can be used for 3D digital garment twins, e-commerce marketing, and direct-to-fabric printing. This digitisation also adds an extra service for Laura to offer clients.

Laura says the Net Zero Barnsley workshops have offered valuable insights and practical advice. They’ve already helped her make more informed decisions about carbon reduction in her business but she’s excited to take this further with 1-1 support.

“I’ve begun making some sustainability changes but am ready for a 1-1 session now. Things are completely different for me because I’m home-based, meaning there’s a lot of working out to do. It’s brilliant that Net Zero Barnsley offers this kind of individual support.”

Finding opportunities for collaboration through Net Zero Barnsley

Although the other companies on the programme are larger, Laura has enjoyed learning with them. Seeing the changes they make is helping her think about similar changes on a smaller scale. This collaborative aspect of Net Zero Barnsley has been an unexpected bonus of participating in the programme.

“Kevin Steel has introduced me to designers based at The Business Village. I’ve already spoken with Pollyanna and Thread the Spool about how the software can help their businesses,” she says. “It’s great to find these new opportunities for innovation and sustainable practices in fashion.”

Laura not only provides CLO3D design services utilising the software, but also trains others to use it themselves. Her qualifications in fashion education and a PGCE (post graduate certificate in education) enhance this training aspect of her services. She’s also eager to share her deeper understanding of net zero in the supply chain.

“I offer digital product development too, helping businesses with sustainable sourcing. Learning about net zero in the supply chain means I can do more with companies looking to reduce emissions. I’d love for more things to come back to the UK so, where possible, I’ll point companies in the direction of UK manufacturers and suppliers.”

Laura is keen to encourage other businesses to begin working on net zero. She’s just starting her own journey but says she’s already experienced substantial benefits from joining Net Zero Barnsley.

“I highly recommend businesses look at net zero. Everyone is talking about it right now, so you have a competitive edge if you’re working towards it. It can enhance your reputation but also increase your profits through cost savings. People put this kind of thing on hold because they’re worried about it. But it’s not as scary as it seems, and having the guidance from Net Zero Barnsley makes it so much easier.”


About Net Zero Barnsley

All UK businesses must reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2050, and Barnsley Council has set an earlier target of 2045. Net Zero Barnsley will work with dozens of Barnsley businesses over the next two years to help them work towards achieving this.

The Business Village is delivering the Net Zero Barnsley programme, in partnership with Barnsley Council, as part of the Low Carbon Project, part-funded by the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund. Sheffield City Council is the accountable body for the South Yorkshire region. The Low Carbon project has received £3,445,606 from the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund. Visit