It is Make Smthng Week this week, an anti Black Friday week and collaboration between Fashion Revolution, Greenpeace and a whole host of other amazing charities challenging our throw-away culture. Events are taking place around the world to encourage spending time with friends, family and our community. ‘By sharing, repairing, making and doing it ourselves we transform old things into something new’ is the initiative behind the week.
Reducing Textile Waste
As an individual and a small business owner I worry that I’m not making a difference. This quote by Stella McCartney encourages me to persevere. By selling only vintage and pre-loved fabrics I hope to reduce the textile waste issue that is one of many problems facing the fashion industry. I love the vintage style and stories behind the prints and textures of vintage fabrics. Buying second hand prevents the fabric from being thrown away, giving them a new lease of life. Find out more about textile waste in this article I wrote for Pebble Magazine earlier this year after attending the Festival of Sustainable Living in Melbourne. The fashion industry is a significant environment polluter, where as buying second hand reuses the resources we already have. Reducing the amount of fashion and textiles that is produced puts less pressure on the Earth’s resources.
Fast Fashion Therapy
My Monday evenings are dedicated to sewing. I wanted to share my sewing skills by teaching people to sew and encouraging the creation of new outfits from upcycled fabrics and garments. This includes teaching how to repair items already hanging in the wardrobe. On alternate weeks I run the Bow Sewing Bee at Snap in Roman Road. A welcoming space for people to come together, chat and have the space and time to sew without distractions. Suitable for beginners and more experienced sewists, the variety of sewing projects, not to mention chats is amazing. When I am not in Bow I am at The Create Place in Bethnal Green. I collaborate with Eleanor Tull, who recently graduated with a MA in Sustainable Textiles. We run a group called Fast Fashion Therapy, designed to encourage people to repair, recycle and refresh their clothes. Eleanor came up with the fab name, which I love as it is therapy for the clothes and for us. I enjoy the mindfulness of sewing, concentrating on the task at hand. Eleanor also designed and embroidered the beautiful logo too. Click here to find out more details on both classes.
Festival of Sustainable Fashion
Fast Fashion Therapy went on tour at the weekend and took part in the repair café at the Festival of Sustainable Fashion in Shoreditch. We were in good company as there was a panel discussion from Sustainable Threads and Betsy’s closet shop organised a swishing event. We were very industrious helping visitors fix their clothes along with a group of super talented Savile Row Tailors. Carefully darning many moth holed jumpers, I’ve nicknamed Eleanor the knitwear doctor. I enjoyed fixing Aoife’s gorgeous vintage Levi 501s and helping Huzaifa create a new outfit from psychedelic leggings and a purple t-shirt.
Our usual mending class will be taking place this evening and every Monday (apart from 3rd of the month). This week we are part of the global initiative Make Smthng Week. Find out more on our Facebook page. If it is easy for you to get to Bethnal Green, come along and see what clothes you can rescue from the throw away pile.
Ethical Shopping Values
I love fashion, sewing and vintage style and of course I am tempted by discounts. Some of which I did use over the Black Friday weekend. A useful tip I took away from the Sustainable Living conference was having a set of values to shop with. It is overwhelming to consider every ethical angle of a product but creating a personal list of values it is a good starting point. I created a list when I first started blogging about sustainable fashion and I still refer to it today.
The sustainable fashion conversation is about being considered in our shopping and style. Reuse the resources we already have, whether they are hanging in our wardrobe or have been previously in someone else’s. If buying new is the only option, how much will it be loved and used? I will keep this in mind when I am shopping over the Christmas period.