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It’s #FashionRevolution week and last night our Green Squirrel hosted a ‘Revive your wardrobe’ workshop with The Sustainable Studio. We had a chat with tutors Julia and Sarah about the true cost of Fashion and what we can do to make a difference…
What is Fashion Revolution week and how do you get involved?
On 24 April 2013, 1,134 people were killed and over 2,500 were injured when the Rana Plaza complex collapsed in Dhaka, Bangladesh. That’s when Fashion Revolution was born. This week, on the anniversary of this tragic event, Fashion Revolution will bring people from all over the world together to use the power of fashion to change the story for the people who make the world’s clothes and accessories. In it’s first year we personally took part in the event by taking a picture of our clothing label and using the hashtag ‘#whomademyclothes’ which was aimed at challenging highstreet and designer brands to look at their supply chains. In 2015 we went to manchester to take part and show our ethical clothing in a fashion show as part of their University tour around the UK. This year we are thrilled to be running this workshop in Cardiff and representing Wales.
What is the true cost of fashion?
Pollution, long hours, grim working conditions, a gritty, global supply chain of fast fashion: a system that has injected the type of speed, disposability and price deflation that has directly led to the worst casualties in the industrial age.
Do you think the fashion industry will ever change?
No one is taking responsibly. There have been numerous calls for the big high street brands to take more responsibility. For instance building purpose built factories or providing a safe environment for their clothing to be produced where by they can have more of a watchful eye over safety and working conditions. But due to outsourcing so much of their clothing production, they have lost control over each process of garment making.
Resources can’t last forever. Cotton is under threat and that’s why there is a rise in sustainable brands looking to use alternatives like PET which is fabric made from recycled bottles. Also bamboo and Tencel are proving more popular choices especially as Tencel is made from wood fibres and has a super quality of keeping you warm in the winter and cooling you down in the summer.
How can we make more ethical clothing choices?
For a very long time we struggled to find fashionable ethically focused clothing on our doorstep. This is why 7 years ago we started upcycling what we had in our wardrobes and mixing with vintage and charity shop finds. The internet and social media has been an amazing tool for us to connect with like-minded people and clothing brands that are trying to do things differently. There is now a huge range of e commerce sites offering clothing from sustainable brands from all over the world, you just have to be willing to look for them.
What is The Sustainable Studio and why did you create it?
The Sustainable studio is a creative space in the heart of Cardiff. We wanted to create a place where individuals, start-ups, families and community groups can gather, learn, educate and share skills with a focus on sustainability.
Cardiff lacks affordable studio space for artists and designers so we will offer space at a good price within a supporting and inspiring environment. We will also encourage our studio users to teach workshops and also exhibit their work within the studio space.
People will also have the opportunity to further their learning by accessing our own more advanced courses in clothing design, pattern cutting and learning to sew on industrial machines. Furthermore we hope to be able to offer accredited training and apprentice schemes in sewing and textiles in the future.