Five things fashion history can teach us about clothing longevity

Niamh Tuft is Fashion Revolution’s global network manager. She is responsible for coordinating with all 92 of our amazing country teams around the world. Below, Niamh shares 5 lessons in longevity ahead of our Black Friday Campaign

Fashion history can tell us a great deal about where the environmental and social issues in the supply chain have come from. The intrinsic link between the cotton trade and transatlantic slavery, which tells us that fashion was built on and continues to rely on human exploitation, to the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire of 1911, which foretells subsequent industrial disasters like Rana Plaza and last December’s factory fire in Delhi, which killed 43 people. On the environmental front, history tells of rivers running black with pollutants around mills in Victorian England, showing us how producing fashion once relied on toxic chemical pollution just as it does now.

However, fashion history can also shed some light on possible solutions. When it comes to the second-hand trade, mending and clothing longevity, fashion has a few history lessons for us!

  1. Visible mending has been trending for over 2000 years

Child’s tunic | The Whitworth Gallery

An Egyptian children’s tunic in the Whitworth Gallery’s collection in Manchester is dated to 600-700 BC. It’s extensively darned with coloured wool threads making it one of the oldest pieces of evidence we have that humans have been darning for thousands of years. Many cultures have their own examples. Boro in Japan creates new fabrics from fabric scraps and old clothes, it was widely practiced in peasant communities in the Edo period (1600s-1800s) though born out of necessity due to clothing laws which restricted access to new fabrics it is now widely practiced by visible menders around the world. And invisible mending has been going on for centuries too – Rafoogari in India is used to restore valuable pieces of clothing, it is highly skilled using patchwork and darning to restore antique textiles which have been passed down through generations for hundreds of years.


  1. It doesn’t fit me anymore’ shouldn’t to be the end for you and your favourite clothes


Fashion Unraveled | The Museum at FIT

Many clothes in museum collections show marks of alterations – either for different fashions and styles, for different wearers or for changes in bodies over time. A 2018 exhibition at FIT called Fashion Unravelled exhibited clothes that were altered, mended and repurposed during their lifetimes, the catalogue lists ‘a set of stays (otherwise known as a corset) from circa 1750 was enlarged by adding panels of mismatched fabric at the waist, reshaping it for a changed figure or a new wearer’ and a Paul Poiret dress which passed through generations for nearly 100 years and underwent alterations to the hem and fastenings to suit different wearers.

Clothes were regularly taken apart to be restyled and trims were reused and repurposed. This is why some clothes in museum collections seem to have a mismatch between the age of the textiles and the date of the silhouette.[i] Many of the historic clothes in museum collections survived because they were used in theatre before they were collected by museums and bear the marks of multiple alterations and adaptations.[ii] Multiple studies show that fit is one of the main reasons that people dispose of clothing[iii] but fashion history tells us we can embrace the craft of alteration once again. We don’t have to bid farewell to our favourite pieces, instead we can wear them in a new form.


  1. There can be entire professions centred around trading and mending clothes

Dorcas Societies | Rose Sinclair

If we look back in fashion history, we can find many different roles for traders of second-hand clothes and also menders. The names of different roles alone indicate how much specialisation unfolded in this industry, organised from chapmen (peddlers), crokery sellers (itinerant street sellers of second-hand clothes), rag and bone men (ragpickers), slop sellers (second-hand clothes sorters and traders), clothes-brokers (who traded in bulk and sold to smaller sellers), and pawn brokers who bought and sold clothes but also rented them out.

Mending clothes was often done by family members in the home but mending roles were also specialised and households with domestic servants would have a live-in mender.[iv] Alterations could be made by tailors and seamstresses. Cobblers and cloggers who repaired shoes were widespread. Some textile historians even argue that some forms of embroidery originated from mending or patching.[v] So while the loss of mending skills is a key challenge in ensuring clothing longevity, fashion history tells us that skilled specialist roles can be created and sustained to keep clothing in circulation and make loved clothes last.

But it’s not all about the job creation and the economy! Recent research has shown that sewing and mending can have benefits to our emotional and physical health[vi] and across fashion history making and mending has been at the heart of social and political bonds especially among women – from the secret messages carried in patchwork quilts in North America to the political resistance of khadi in Ghandi’s India to early movements for women’s suffrage who often met in sewing circles. Rose Sinclair’s fascinating research on Dorcas societies recently exhibited at Radical New Cross shows us that the value of making and mending is not only economic but social. These sewing societies originated as a philanthropic movement among middle- and upper-class women. They arrived in the Caribbean through missionary women who treated indigenous skills and knowledge with little regard. But the societies become embedded into communities, and Sinclair shows ‘by the 1950s the clubs brought together Caribbean women through textiles to act as networks for social and economic change. As women from the Caribbean moved to the UK in the ‘50s and ‘60s, the clubs moved with them, contributing hugely to diversity in the British textiles aesthetic.’[vii]


  1. Some of the most iconic fashion items were second-hand

The second-hand clothing trade has been a vital part of the industry for thousands of years, in fact textiles and clothing including pre-worn items were used as currency to trade and barter. In Venice, there was a whole guild of second-hand clothes traders called L’Arte degli Strazzaruoli who regulated every aspect of the trade when the plague hit the city they were tasked with working with health officials to ensure used clothing did not transmit the disease.[viii]In Florence, some rigatierri (as second-hand traders were named) were amongst the wealthiest men in Florence and appointed to political positions in the city.[ix] In London, the second-hand clothing trade was so large and well organised that in 1843 they formally established an Old Clothing Exchange.[x]

Some of the most recognisable fashion items of the twentieth century came out of the second-hand trade, many from army surplus or labourers clothing adopted by subcultures like the beats, mods and hippies. The pea coat was US military surplus. Blue jeans were surplus from clothing made for factory workers, miners, farmers, and cattlemen. Corduroys were originally worn by workers in French industrial towns. Parkas were army surplus which reached British shores after the Korean war and were widely worn by mods. Donkey jackets were originally worn by coal miners before being adopted by skinheads. So, we have the surplus and second-hand market to thank for many iconic styles of clothing we still wear now.


  1. The circular economy doesn’t have to be about making more fashion

One of my favourite fashion history facts is rooted in recycling. In the 17th and 18th centuries, one of the most ubiquitous destinations for recycled of clothes was to be turned into paper. Established in 1690, the Rittenhouse Mill in Philadelphia recycled rags, including linen linked to the flax industry nearby, into pulp for paper.[xi] The mill still stands today and if you find yourself in Philadelphia you can visit it. On the other side of the Atlantic, Benjamin Law built up an industry which employed over 500 people in West Yorkshire in producing shoddy – wool fibres made from rags, scraps and cast offs. In its heyday, the shoddy capital of England imported waste cloth from all over Europe to create materials not only for clothing but for industrial and domestic use and processed over 30 million pounds per year.[xii]

Historic Rittenhouse Mill | The History of Textile Recycling

We should think beyond fashion when it comes to giving the materials that are in circulation the longest possible life. While circularity and textile recycling may be considered as a new technological frontier, fashion history shows us it isn’t something new, archaeological studies across the world (including this one dating back as far as 1500 BC) show that garments and rags were used in applications from health and sanitation, to pottery, salt mining, ship building and insulation.


As we like to remind ourselves at Fashion Revolution ‘sustainability has been trending for billions of years —we are hardwired to it. The culture of excess—mass production, mass consumption and accelerated growth—is, in comparison, a historical nanosecond-long error of judgement’ (Orsola De Castro). We only need to look at fashion history to see that.



[i] Farley Gordon, Jennifer and Hill, Colleen (2015), Sustainable Fashion: Past, Present and Future page 6

[ii] Standards in the Museum Care of Costume and Textile Collections page 6

[iii] WRAP (2012) Valuing our Clothes and Laitala, Kirsi ‘Consumers’ clothing disposal behaviour – a synthesis of research results’ International IJC 38 (2014)

[iv] König, Anna.A Stitch in Time: Changing Cultural Constructions of Craft and Mending’ Journal of Current Cultural Research 5 (2013)

[v]. Gillow, John; Sentance, Bryan (1999). World Textiles. Bulfinch Press/Little, Brown. ISBN 0-8212-2621-5

[vi] BBC Arts and UCL and Journal of Public Health


[viii] Allerston, Patricia. “Reconstructing the Second-Hand Clothes Trade in Sixteenth and Seventeenth Century Venice.” Costume 33 (1999).



[xi] The Rittenhouse Mill and the Beginnings of Papermaking in America. James Green (1991)


The Rise of Generation Conscious

In a time of national crisis there is always radical change.

The Coronavirus pandemic begs an important question: why would we want to fully return to the status-quo if our needs can be met with our well-being and environmental sustainability in mind? This once-in-a-generation chance to build a better future will propel the concept of ‘conscious living’ to the top of our agenda, with Millennials and Generation Z driving the rally.

Enter “Generation Conscious”: The growing number of individuals proving we can exist beyond long haul flights, online shopping and bricks and mortar retail. They’ll define the new normal from what our world has recently experienced.

Generation Conscious:

It’s long been known that the Millennial generation are willing to pay more for sustainable goods and according to First Insight, 62 percent of Generation Z (who are soon to enter the workforce) prefer buying from sustainable brands, on a par with Millennials. Both generations have grown up with an excess of (often cheap) products and the “wear-it-once” culture has perpetuated the fast fashion model. Match this with on-demand, trend-led manufacturing processes(often at the expense of impossibly low labour costs) and we’ve ended up with an abundance of waste and unsold stock ending in landfill. It’s no surprise that Generation Conscious are pushing back, coveting the idea of minimalism – not simply to tidy up their bedrooms, but to fundamentally change the way they live their lives.

Conscious Consumption:

With so many avenues for sustainability resonating with Generation Conscious, circular fashion models are booming. The creative ecosystem of DIY fashion and re-sale serves them well, as a generation that prizes individuality, ethical concerns, and “access, over ownership” when it comes to clothing. The below movements align with the conscious consumers’ interest in reducing waste, recycling and re-using what we already have:

1) Re-sale: Millennials and Generation Z are leading the rise of resale fashion marketplaces. Companies such as Depop and Vestiaire Collective are disrupting fashion ownership and capitalising on the the re-sale market which is set to be larger than the fast fashion industry within 10 years.

2) DIY Fashion: With Generation Conscious under lockdown, DIY fashion has taken off – they’re upcycling materials to create their own clothes. Leading fashion brands such as Alexander McQueen and Ganni have also pivoted their usual marketing in favour of Instagram tutorials or challenges, aimed at inspiring consumers to embroider and draw.

3) Peer-to-Peer: Sellers using peer-to-peer marketplaces exist somewhere between e-commerce and social media. Betting that they’ll trust their friends’ recommendations more than the outdated “#ad” from influencers, they can visually curate their profiles, follow each other and show off their crafts.

The impact of Coronavirus on consumption:

The concept of owning less and wasting less has been propelled by the current pandemic. With physical stores closed and online deliveries delayed as retailers respond to COVID-19, Generation Conscious are adapting and actively choosing to live with less. Postvirus, they’ll seek out brands that they align with morally more than ever before, with an emphasis placed on conscious products.

And it’s not just about what they wear. Wellbeing and self-care industries will focus on more natural and organic products. From fresh produce to clothing, ‘clean’ and non-toxic materials will drive demand as health continues to be a top priority. This new consciousness will question how we travel too. Beyond the growing pressure to fly less (cue Google Experiences: this is the moment for virtual reality travel), those who can afford it will increasingly “offset” the carbon footprint of their flights by contributing to schemes that either replant forests or invest in energy-efficient products or renewable technology. They’ll opt for lower carbon aircrafts and flight paths, recently introduced as an option in the Skyscanner customer journey. When life commences post-COVID we must ask ourselves: what does the conscious consumer, the brand, the employee of tomorrow look like? Generation Conscious are breaking old habits and finding new, more innovative ways of living. With this profound awakening, what may have begun with the Millennial generation will become a powerful and lasting inter-generational change. Generation Conscious aren’t recanting capitalism, but striving to make informed choices.


Victoria Prew is the CEO & cofounder of HURR, the UK’s first peer-to-peer wardrobe rental platform. 

Sustainable style experts share their #SecondhandSeptember clothing love stories

It’s #SecondhandSeptember, which means folks around the world are embracing resale and celebrating the things in their wardrobe with long histories. At Fashion Revolution, we believe that telling the stories of our most loved clothes calls for a revolution in clothing longevity. With the overwhelming pressure to constantly be seen in new clothes (Hubbub found that 1 in 6 young people don’t feel they can wear an outfit again once it’s been posted on social media), these secondhand loves stories ask us to appreciate the journey and remember that #LovedClothesLast. 


Maggie Zhou, Melbourne, Australia – she/her

About Maggie: “I’m Maggie, an Australian-born 21-year-old slow fashion lover, writer, content creator and podcaster.”

About the piece: “Clothes tell stories and hold so much history. I’m a romantic and so to me, secondhand clothes are a time capsule and peek into someone else’s life. My favourite secondhand item is this brown checked flannel that belonged to my mum. It’s four years older than me and is a quarter of a century old. She bought it in Hong Kong just after my older sister was born and now, it lives in my wardrobe here in Melbourne. I find myself reaching for it often, I love carrying a piece of mum with me wherever I go. Funnily enough, she complains when I wear it – she says it’s too old but I tell her, ‘Mum, that’s the point’.”


Lydia Okello, Vancouver, BC, Canada – 

About Lydia: “I’m a fat writer, model and content creator who has been sharing their personal style on the internet since 2008.”

About the piece: “My absolute favourite secondhand piece is an old, grungy, motorcycle tee that I purchased at the consignment store I used to work in, six years ago. It has a panther on it, and it’s both comforting and confidence imbuing. I wear it when I have a big day ahead or when I’m feeling down on myself. It’s, in my opinion, the perfect tee, even though it’s completely falling apart. The familiarity and the colours make me feel great every time I put it on.”



Pumulo Kasaji, Omaha, Nebraska, USAshe/her

About Lo: “I am a student in Omaha. I am currently majoring in English Communications and I am also minoring in Business and Creative Writing. When not in class, I am usually hanging with my girlfriend and our two dogs!”

About the piece: “My favourite Thrifted item is a skirt I bought on vacation. My partner and I took a trip to Chicago last October and it was my first big trip in the states. It was also the last big trip we took before everything happened. We had found ourselves in a secondhand store and I saw this skirt and knew I had to get it! I love this skirt because not only is it a gorgeous item, but it reminds me of what a great trip I had. I know that I will have this time as long as I can, so it makes me happy that I was able to find such a great time secondhand! I will also always have something to remember my trip to Chicago!”



Julia Ng, Singaporeshe/her

About Julia: “I work at The Fashion Pulpit, Singapore’s first dedicated clothing swap location. I head our new online thrift store, Playdate.”

About the piece:  “It would definitely be this beachy ensemble, which I got right as coronavirus cases within my community dropped to the single digit range and restrictions started easing. Its playful extravagance let me tap into a vivaciousness that I’d been locked out of while moping at home.”

“My fondness for it also comes from the fact that I received the outfit as a part of a vlog challenge I did for The Fashion Pulpit where I only wore secondhand clothing for a month and made a video documenting the experience. It was done in a bid to shift the perception of secondhand clothing in Singapore and Asia as a whole, where the stigma of preloved garments being a last-choice option remains rather strong.” 

“This ensemble thus serves as not only a reminder to be grateful for a life I’d previously taken for granted, but also that what I wear is a reflection of my personal values and beliefs. For the meagre amount of fabric it comprises, the outfit sure does say a lot.”



Marielle Elizabeth, Canadashe/her

About Marielle: “I am a fat positive activist in the Ethical Fashion community, dedicated to advocating for broader size inclusion, helping brands increase accessibility, and celebrate radical body acceptance. My work is centred primarily around reducing barriers for plus size bodies within slow fashion, and I manage a Patreon that both discusses these challenges as a plus size person, as well as shares and creates resources to make slow fashion more accessible for folks at any size.”

About the piece: “My favourite secondhand piece is rather simple, a classic oversized (on me) denim shirt? Duster? Chore coat? I purchased it May, 2020 and wear it multiple times a week because it’s such a wardrobe staple. I purchased it off a straight-sized pal, and am so appreciative that she was willing to part with a plus size vintage garment to rehome it with an actual plus size person. Secondhand clothing is harder to find (and all ethically made clothing for that matter) if you are outside of straight sizing and so prioritizing plus size folks by ensuring plus size pieces are actually sold to them is so important to increasing accessibility of sustainable fashion.”



Learn how to write your own clothing love story here

The Boomtown Revolution: Changing Perceptions of Festival Fashion

Each year, Fashion Revolution’s creative team collaborates with the BA (Hons) Fashion Communication course at Northumbria University to inspire fashion’s next generation to campaign for a fair, safe, transparent and accountable fashion industry. Below, student Rachel Taylor shares her experience with the brief.

A hedonistic array of lights, people and music fills the otherworldly landscape of Boomtown festival. The fashion is unapologetic, a frantic kaleidoscope of colours and prints. Boomtown is a place where people go to dance, laugh and escape; all who enter dive deep into the rabbit hole of immersive sets and spectacle. Behind the wonder though, there is a sinister trend. Each festival goer is dressed up for the occasion – and festival fashion is largely bought to be worn for just that moment. The cowboy hats, the cheap glamour, the need for a myriad of carefully curated outfits and accessories – it’s so tempting!

Yet, when looking for festival fashion, how much time is taken to buy well or to reinvent the clothes you already have? How much thought goes into not just what it looks like, but asking #whomademyclothes? Where does all this festival fashion go afterwards – to the dump, back into the wardrobe for next time, or gifted on to the next fan?

As a Fashion Communication student at Northumbria University, I was given an amazing opportunity to work on a live brief with Fashion Revolution. I was able to learn about current issues surrounding sustainability, challenged to consider how I could contribute to a more thoughtful fashion future and encourage transformation in the Gen Z consumer mindset and subsequent behaviour.

I was tasked with becoming a pro-fashion protestor, and to develop a call-to-action strategic PR campaign to inspire individuals to take account of their actions, to behave in mindful ways and be a dynamic force for good in years to come.

First, I needed to delve into the mind of Gen Z, the audience of my campaign. Shockingly, a survey I conducted of 40 men and women aged between 18-25 revealed that 87% of people said they bulk buy new clothes for festivals. A staggering 69% of people said they would never wear those clothes again. I know from personal experience as a student, the allure of fast fashion is powerful. If I’m being honest, there’s been more than one occasion where I have splurged on fast fashion after booking a last-minute festival (I’m only human). My research made one thing very clear – that Fashion Revolution has a real opportunity to help make the phenomenon of festival fashion more sustainable and to change the trend towards clothes.

In essence, my campaign is a pilot concept focusing on launching at Boomtown festival. The campaign focuses on encouraging the festival goers to customize and upcycle their current clothes instead of bulk buying new ones. The aim is to stimulate creativity, a love of personalisation and imagination, and inspire a mindset shift whereby clothes are loved, have longer lives and nothing goes to waste.

My project proposed that Fashion Revolution partnership with Boomtown festival. With every Boomtown ticket sold, the festival-goer would be sent a Make Do and Customise zine by Fashion Revolution (digital, downloadable and printable). The zine would instruct the reader to find an old item of clothing and sew on the provided Boomtown Revolution patch. Festival goers would then be instructed to wear their customised look to the festival. Hashtags such as #boomtownrevolution and #makedoandcustomise would generate significant hype from Gen Z. This would make noise about the campaign and Fashion Revolution.

Once at the festival, the revolution patch helps festival goers to claim their rewards at the Boomtown Revolution stand: free food, drinks tokens, discount off their next festival ticket, free use of the luxury portaloos (a major incentive to Gen Z!). Experiences on offer at the stand would be inspirational Make Do and Customising upcycling workshops run by Fashion Revolution and guests, – these would consolidate and tell the story of Fashion Revolution, debate sustainable development and our relationship with clothes, and teach people how to personalise their clothes. The potential reach for Fashion Revolution is 55,000 people at Boomtown festival.

For Boomtown, the collaboration with Fashion Revolution would expand and improve their sustainable business strategy. Boomtown has already made positive steps towards its goal of being a fully sustainable city, and this partnership could help festival goers make more sustainable fashion choices.

My campaign was inspired by the Make Do and Mend movement of the 1940s. In the war years, clothes rationing meant people had to Make Do and Mend their clothes. Looking back, it was a very sustainable way to approach fashion. Subsequently, a key source of design inspiration was war-time propaganda posters. The retro red that is used throughout my campaign is often associated with revolutions. I felt that this was a powerful way that Fashion Revolution could assert their presence and message.

Once this pilot launch has gone well, the project would expand to festivals all over the world with Fashion Revolution leading the way to inspire Gen Z to sustainable festival fashion style.

I think it is vital that festivals encourage their participants to dress with ethics and sustainability in mind. Creating a campaign for Fashion Revolution has been eye-opening and fulfilling. Learning about the social and environmental costs of the fashion industry has deeply shocked and resonated with me. It has transformed my mindset and now I am really starting to realise my own individual responsibility and duty to this planet. We have to be brutally honest to ourselves about our own spending habits in order to really make long-term positive changes that prioritise the planet and each other. Since responding to this project and developing my campaign concept, I’ve cut down on the amount of clothes that I buy and choose to follow brands that have sustainability at their core. Fashion Revolution’s Transparency Index has been particularly helpful in me achieving this as I started by reading through this and researching into brands from there. I also sell the clothes I have finished wearing on, so that my clothes get to live on and make new memories with someone else.

When I started the project and began coming up with the initial ideas for my campaign back in February, the world was a very different place. I was also a very different person. I never dreamt that festivals all over the world would be cancelled and we would be in the midst of a global pandemic. I never thought that the fashion landscape could be so affected and it might give us the space to question what have we grown up thinking was normal behaviour? Although the future is uncertain, I feel positive that festivals will return and that we will once again be able to dance together and celebrate life. Lockdown has given us all an opportunity to reflect and think about what is important. We have a true chance now to change our values and bring sustainability to the forefront of everything we creatively do. This is our moment to make a change, question and break our old consumer habits and be resourceful and respectful with what we have, where it has come from and where it may best go on to. This could be a new form of hedonism – let’s get high on sustainable festival fashion.

Follow me on Instagram at: @rachel_taylor_creative

And check out @FashionCommNorthumbria

Don’t Stop Sewing after the Pandemic

How Mending Your Clothes Can Change the Fashion Industry

Home sewing has experienced a boom in participation and visibility after world governments and health agencies began recommending cloth face masks as workable alternatives to medical grade equipment. With many countries finding themselves short on supplies, home sewers have been producing masks for friends and family to help curb the spread of COVID-19. In recent weeks, many with little to no previous sewing experience took up the cause, dusting off old sewing machines hiding in basements and back closets. As an avid sewist and sustainable fashion enthusiast, I loved seeing first-time and haven’t-sewn-in-years posts pop up in my social media feeds. The problem is, sewing isn’t a skill meant only for apocalyptic situations like a global pandemic. Impeding the spread of a potentially deadly virus is not the only reason to pull out an old sewing machine. Sewing tools and skills are perennially applicable to the health and vitality of our closets too. Practices like mending and darning (a technique for repairing holes or worn areas in knit garments) help us develop a deep relationship with our clothes which in turn helps us care for our clothes better long term. And that has the ability to create long-term change in the fashion industry in the wake of COVID-19.

It’s no secret that the fashion industry needs desperate change. Fashion Revolution Week shines a spotlight on pervasive ethical and environmental injustices in an industry that lacks transparency and wields huge power over it’s supply chain. Many brands face increased scrutiny and public pressure to uphold contractual promises to pay suppliers, and while some have publicly promised to do so, real concerns remain about when and how suppliers will see this promise come through.

Applying sewing skills through mending and darning is one crucial way to counter a mindset of disposability towards clothing, curb textile waste, and value the labor, time, and skills of garment workers. Stitching is connective and personal, and we develop deep connections with our clothes when they are cared for regularly and mindfully.

Mending is not especially time-consuming either. Reattaching a button or fixing a hem takes only a few minutes while offering a slew of mental and physical benefits. According to one study, sewists experience statistically meaningful drops in heart rate and blood pressure. After World War I, recovering soldiers were given needlework tasks as a way to cope with the trauma they’d experienced. As one author puts it, “From the unlikely marriage of men of war and fine needlework, occupational therapy was born and has remained a mainstay of medical practice ever since.” According to psychologists, sewing induces meditation-like mental states, acts as a natural antidepressant, and may aid in neuroplasticity regeneration.

All these virtues lead to changed clothing practices. Repair restores agency, empowerment, and choice into our closets. We have the power to make changes, fix seams, lift stains, and darn holes, extending the life of each loved garment. Fixing clothes leads to understanding clothes better. We develop richer appreciation for the time and labor, skill and expertise of garment workers. We start to appreciate that clothing is not disposable and realize that the clothing we wear is a direct product of the earth’s resources and worker’s efforts. Extending a garment’s wearable life can save costly greenhouse gases from entering the atmosphere while offering a sense of pride and creative expression in the process. Clothing swaps and mending circles are fast-growing community activities that will be even more relevant in the wake of the global pandemic. It’s a win-win for everyone.

This deeply personalized, empowered approach has the ability to change the fashion industry. As humans, we naturally care for what we care for. In other words, putting time, energy, and mindful attention into our clothes makes us more inclined to care for what we have rather than searching for the next new thing. Instead of searching for happiness in the next trend or purchase, our closets become a perennial source of joy, comfort, and personal expression.

Sewing disrupts the current linear model for acquiring and ditching clothing, and both key industry players and new initiatives have taken notice of consumer desires. Sustainability champion Patagonia offers fix-it services through their Worn Wear program, and others are offering similar solutions. Brands take notice of what customers want. Taking ownership of our clothing through mending and repair shows fashion companies that people want to own and love the clothes they have for longer. Instead of pumping out never-ending options, we show them we want to care for the options we have, supporting a circular fashion model as recommended by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and others. Mending helps us take ownership of our clothes and encourages brands to help us do the same.

So keep the sewing machines out and keep them running. Together, we can stitch together a new fashion future.

Covid-19 pandemien rammer dem, som laver vores tøj hårdest!

Mens verden er gået lockdown, og de fleste af os er gået i fælles isolation, fokuserer vi hos Fashion Revolution på, hvordan pandemisituationen påvirker de millioner af mennesker, som laver vores tøj. Mange butikker rundt om i verden er lukket ned og opfordrer i stedet for til at shoppe online. Denne her tid gør os usikre på den økonomiske fremtid, og derfor stimulerer det ikke ligefrem købelysten til at shoppe nyt tøj.

For os modeaktivister kan omstændigheder forhåbentlig medføre, at vores #Lovedclotheslast bevægelse, som vi har kæmpet for i flere år, kommer til at fylde mere – både nu og på den anden side af Corona-krisen. Produktionen af fast fashion har været voldsomt stigende de senere år og fortsætter kun derudaf. Der bliver produceret for 150 milliarder beklædning om året, hvilket tærer på vores klode og miljø, og tøjindustrien udleder mere CO2 end fly- og skibsindustrien tilsammen. Det kan ikke fortsætte, hvis vi skal holde os under de 2 plusgrader, som forskere verden over har bedt os om. Netop Fashion Revolution Week 2020 handler om at forlænge tøjets levetid og nedsætte hastigheden af vores modesystem. Som noget nyt spørger vi også #whatsinmyclothes? for at afdække de skadelige stoffer i vores tøj, og vi opfordrer til at gå på opdagelse i klædeskabet og finde ud af mere om de materialer, som vores tøj er lavet af. Vi fortsætter også med at spørge #whomademyclothes?, og fokuserer på lønningerne og forholdene for tekstilarbejderne. Vi opfordrer også køberne til at bruge deres økonomiske magt og stemme, til at stille brands og politikere til ansvar og forbedre arbejdsforhold og foreningsfrihed for alle mennesker, der arbejder på tværs af tøjbrands leverandørkæder. For det er netop de mennesker, der er udsat for de største konsekvenser af den uventede Covid-19 pandemikrise.

Det er almindeligt i den globale modeindustri, at tøjbrands betaler flere uger efter levering snarere end ved bestilling. Det betyder, at deres leverandører normalt betaler forud for materialerne eller fibrene, der bruges, for at brands køber af dem. Som svar på pandemien annullerer mange store brands og forhandlere ordrer og stopper betalinger for allerede bestilte varer, selv når arbejdet allerede er blevet udført. De tager intet ansvar for den eftervirkning, det har for de mennesker, der arbejder i deres forsyningskæder. Fabrikker har ikke andet valg end at ødelægge eller holde på de uønskede varer, der allerede er fremstillet, og afskedige deres arbejdere i hopetal.

På grund af coronavirus udbruddet, er der nu 1089 beklædningsfabrikker i Bangladesh, som er blevet påvirket af aflyste ordrer af en samlet en værdi af 1.5 milliarder dollars. Det fortæller en rapport fra Blomberg.

Pandemien gør, at en modeindustri, som allerede er i krise bliver ekstra udsat. Mere end 1 million beklædningsarbejdere i Bangladesh har allerede mistet deres job på grund af afbestillinger relateret til Covid-19, lyder det fra Center for Global Workers Rights.

Ifølge The AWAY Foundationer mange fabrikker i Bangladesh blevet lukket på ubestemt tid. Nogle arbejdere er blevet givet mindre end en månedsløn, som fratrædelsesgodtgørelse, og mange andre har slet ikke modtaget noget.

Nazma Aktor – Direktør for AWAY har forklaret: “at disse arbejdere ikke ved, hvordan de skal forsørge deres familie, hvordan de skal brødføde dem og betale for husleje samt andre nødvendigheder. De ved ikke engang, hvad de skal stille op, hvis de får brug for medicinsk behandling, hvis de får Coronavirus.”

Generaldirektøren for Den Internationale Arbejdsorganisation(ILO),Guy Ryder, beskriver den menneskelige dimension af pandemien som ødelæggende, og dens samlede sundhedsmæssige, sociale og økonomiske virkninger som den værste krise siden Anden Verdenskrig. Han tilføjer også, at krisen afslører den enorme mangel på anstændig arbejdskraft, som stadig hersker i 2020, og at den har vist, hvor sårbare millioner af arbejdende mennesker er, når sådan en krise rammer.

Mode bliver ikke kun skabt på fabrikker. Mode er også håndværk, kunsthåndværk og ting, der ofte bliver lavet i uformelle miljøer. I henhold til Artisan Alliance er håndværk den næststørste beskæftigelseskilde i udviklingslandene. WIEGOvurderer, at der er omkring to milliarder uformelle arbejdstagere overalt i verden, der mangler grundlæggende arbejds-, social- og sundhedsbeskyttelse. Som et resultat af COVID-19, der truer den globale handelsstrøm, står arbejderkooperativer, håndværksgrupper, lokale håndværksbaserede samfund, hjemmebaserede arbejdere, landbrugsarbejdere og landmænd over for fatale økonomiske forhold.


Fashion Revolution har altid forsøgt at være ærlige over for samfundet om de problemer, der skjuler sig i den globale modebranche. Efter at vi blev dannet som reaktion på den 3 største industrielle katastrofe i historien, nemligRana Plaza kollapset i 2013, hvor 1138 mennesker omkom og over 2000 blev hårdt såret, er vi ikke fremmede for udnyttelse og ulighed inden for branchen. Men vi har været og vil fortsat være fokuseret på løsninger og dedikeret til at finde måder at gøre en positiv forskel på. For os ligger et af svarene i vores manifest for en revolution af moden, og vi vil bruge de næste måneder (og år) på at mobilisere vores samfund til at gribe ind for at opbygge denne fremtidige mode.

Vores evne til empati styrkes af vores fælles globale erfaring, og selvom vi nu sidder indendørs, kan vi stadig bruge sociale medier til at gøre en forskel, især når vi taler sammen. Derfor beder vi vores globale samfund om at være mere aktive end nogensinde før. At spørge #WhoMadeMyClothes? og kræve, at modebrands beskytter arbejderne i deres forsyningskæde, ligesom de ville gøre med deres egne ansatte, især under denne hidtil usete globale sundheds- og økonomiske krise.

Hvis vi ikke gør noget nu, vil modebranchen vende tilbage til den sædvanlige forretningsmodel, når dette er over. Lad os i stedet antænde en revolution og opbygge et nyt system, der værdsætter menneskers og jordens velfærd frem for profit. Det betyder, at vi lige nu skal stå sammen for at beskytte og støtte de mennesker, der fremstiller vores tøj.








Det kan du gøre:

1. Send et brev til dine foretrukne modebrand og kræv, at de overholder de ordrer, de allerede har lagt hos deres leverandører, og sørg for at arbejderne, der fremstiller deres produkter, er beskyttet, understøttet og betalt korrekt under denne krise. Vi har oprettet en template på vores hjemmeside her, hvor du hurtigt og nemt kan sende en mail til de store tøjmærker som vi har listet. Mailen er skrevet du skal blot indtaste din mail og vælge det brand du vil spørge?

2. Giv penge direkte til almennyttige organisationer, der yder støtte til tøjproducenter, der har mistet deres job. Vi anbefaler at give penge til:

AWAJ Foundation– En non-profit organisation, der er grundlagt og ledet af beklædningsarbejdere i Bangladesh, der yder støtte til over 740.000 arbejdere. Dette inkluderer retshjælp, sundhedsydelser, organisation af fagforeninger, uddannelse af arbejdstagerrettigheder og industri og politik fortalervirksomhed. Donationer går direkte til arbejdstagere, der har mistet deres job. Dette vil hovedsageligt være i form af kontantudbetalinger for at sikre, at deres grundlæggende behov for mad og husly bliver opfyldt. Hvis du ønsker at yde et bidrag, så skriv til

GoodWeave International– En non-profit organisation, der arbejder for at stoppe tvangsarbejde og børnearbejde i globale forsyningskæder. De har lanceret COVID-19 børne- og arbejdstagerbeskyttelsesfond for at levere øjeblikkelig humanitær hjælp og tjenester til sårbare befolkninger i Indien, Nepal og Afghanistan. de indsamler penge og betaler for levering af mad og ressourcer til arbejdstagere og deres børn. Doner her.

The World Fair Trade Organisation (WFTO)har lanceret #StayHomeLiveFair-kampagnen til støtte for sit globale netværk af arbejdere, landmænd, kunsthåndværkere og samfund under krisen. Du kan støtte ved at besøge deres webshop og støtte deres medlemmers crowdfunding-indsats. Støt her

CARE, den globale NGO for social retfærdighed, har arbejdet i beklædningsindustrien i over 20 år og fokuserer på at beskytte og støtte kvinders og pigers rettigheder og behov under pandemien. CARE’s Emergency Surge Fund matcher alle donationer og bruger midler til hurtigst muligt at give familier hygiejniske masker, håndvaskestationer og hygiejnesæt. Doner her.


Forhold dig nysgerrigt og spørg #whomademyclothes #whatsinmyclothes

Gå på opdagelse i dit klædeskab, kig på dine labels og undersøg dine tøjbrands hjemmesider, for at se hvad de fortæller dig om, hvordan de har produceret dit tøj!


Vi opfordrer stadig til, at man forlænger levetiden af sit tøj. Ved at fordoble en t-shirts levetid har du sparet 44% CO2. Så vask på få grader, reparer dit tøj, når det går i stykker, og byt eller sælg det, når det endelig skal videre og køb genbrug. Stil krav til virksomhederne, så de gentænker deres strukturer, implementerer bæredygtige praksisser og kommer ned i hastighed. Vi opfordrer til, at man laver kærlighedshistorier på nettet om sit tøj eller en #haulternative, som betyder, at man viser frem på sine sociale medier, hvad man allerede har af tøj i sit klædeskab, og hvordan man kan style det på nye måder. Brug ekstra tid på din garderobe, kreer noget ud af tøjrester og reparer det du har, hvis det er gået i stykker.

Når du kigger efter nyt tøj så gå efter de små, bæredygtige brands. De har som regel mere kontrol med deres leverandørkæder end de store kæder, som har lange og komplicerede forsyningskæder, der er svære at gennemskue. Men hold øje med hvad brandet selv fortæller. Desuden er GOTS certifikatet et mærke, der både garanterer ordentlige miljø og sociale forhold i en produktion. Så det er også værd at kigge efter om tøjet har det mærke.

Følg vores organisation OG elsk jeres tøj meget mere.

Upcycling Fabric Waste into New Scrunchies

Lockdown is a testing time for many, with days merging together it is important to plan fun and creative activities whilst staying at home. This is a straight forward step-by-step upcycling project. Its purpose is to upcycle fabrics into new accessories whilst you learn/practice skills about sewing and upcycling. You can then celebrate your creation by wearing it, posting photos of it or sending it to a loved one.

There is an art to upcycling, to see the potential in what could be labelled as ‘waste’, to be a new item or in this case an accessory to be cherished. Upcycling means that those discarded items avoid landfill, with an estimation of £140 million worth of clothing going to landfill annually (Wrap, 2020) this comes at a critical time. Crafting is also a mindful activity that helps you to relax whilst focusing on your creation. You become absorbed in the activity, entering a flow state which calms the mind and reduces stress.

You Will Need: 



Step 1

Cut your fabric around 45 cm x 11cm – this is a rough guide you can make it longer (if your hair is particularly thick or wider if you want a wide styled scrunchy). If you have fabric that is too small you can add it to other fabric by measuring it and sewing along the seam.



Step 2

Fold the fabric long ways in half and give it a quick iron so it stays in place.


Step 3

Attach the elastic to one end of the rectangle with a pin and then sew the open side and the end with the elastic, go over the elastic a few times to secure it in place.


Step 4

Attach a safety pin to the loose end of the elastic, so it is easy to find, then turn the tube inside out (so it will be the right way round), by using a chopstick or similar.


Step 5

Sew the elastic on the other side so that it is securely attached and pop the closed end in the open end of the scrunchie and sew together, going over it a few times so it is secured.


Enjoy and share your creations online using the hashtag #UpcycleRevolution.



Fashion Revolution Scotland: Students embrace the Second Hand Haulternative

Student ambassadors at Glasgow Clyde College kicked off the school year by putting a twist on the Fashion Revolution ‘haulternative’. Taking students on guided walking tours across different ‘shopping routes’, GCC’s Sustainability Collective is fighting fast fashion by celebrating sustainable style in their local neighbourhood.

What’s a ‘haulternative’?

A ‘haulternative’ is a sustainable take on the traditional shopping spree or fashion haul, showcasing the power of refreshing your wardrobe with exciting new clothes, without actually buying anything ‘new’. Haulternatives are not just for influencers making Youtube ‘haul’ videos though. Anyone who loves clothes, but doesn’t want them to have a negative impact on people or the planet, can get involved by shopping from vintage stores, charity shops, clothes swaps and resale sites, and then showing off their favourite finds both on and offline.

Why second hand?

According to WRAP, more than 300,000 tonnes of clothing is thrown away in the UK every year! Opting for second-hand extends the life of clothes, save some of these perfectly wearable garments from sitting in a landfill for decades – if not centuries, not to mention it bypasses the vast amount of resources used and carbon emissions produced to create new clothing altogether.

Plus, thrift shopping can be so much more fun (not to mention much more affordable for students!) than the traditional high street. “It’s more of a treasure hunt, not just straight off the mannequin. In a group, there’s a real sense of community; it’s a fun day out for people”, Cara Roxburgh, one of Glasgow Clyde’s student ambassadors tells me.

The Glasgow Haulternative

Over the past month, the collective have hosted Haulternative guided routes in Glasgow, one covering Queen’s Park and Victoria Road, and the other covering Kelvinbridge and Hillhead – areas where the city’s shoppers are spoilt for choice with second hand shopping! After two successful shopping days with diverse groups of students, they are now planning a third event across central Glasgow and the Barras.

The idea for this ‘alternative haulternative’ came about after Cara attended a talk by Fashion Revolution Scotland’s country coordinator Niki Taylor, which prompted her to apply to be a student ambassador. It turned out that 2 other students from the fashion and textiles courses were also interested, so they decided to form a group with other classmates so they could grow the movement across the whole college.

Fashion is an accessible starting point for the wider conversation about sustainability, because everybody wears clothes!” Cara says.

“We decided to promote Fashion Revolution at the Freshers Fayre by handing out flyers that helped people take action as individuals, so we thought it was a good idea to promote charity shops and small local businesses in Glasgow that people coming to the college for the first time could connect with in their local neighbourhoods”

From designing a nifty little map of the best local shopping spots, the team took it a step further to make sustainable fashion accessible for new students.

“After creating the map, we wanted to create an event to engage people with the different business on it, so we took Fashion Revolution’s concept of the ‘haulternative’ and turned it into a group activity”.

“I would love for the routes to become well-known so that people can go independently too, a permanent ‘route’ that lists all the best ethical shops in glasgow as a go-to-resource. It would be great to have more independent boutiques with locally made clothes taking part too.”

Top tips for hosting your own haulternative event

At the college, Cara and her collective of ethical fashionistas say that there’s a level of cognitive dissonance amongst students, who tell them: ‘I know that I should care but I just don’t’. That’s why starting the conversation in a fun, positive way is a great way to reach people who feel outside of the sustainable fashion bubble.  “Second hand shopping is an access point” Cara says; her aim is to engage with as many people as possible across the student body through these types of events. Here are some of the things her team has learnt through their haulternatives, so that you can host one in your own local area too.


You can follow the Glasgow Clyde College student ambassadors on Instagram and Facebook to keep up to date with upcoming events and campaigns, or get in touch with the Sustainability Collective to join their student group!

Find out more about becoming a Fashion Revolution student ambassador at your university or college here.

Interview with Sara Arnold: Part 4 in the Power of Influence series.

This month’s Power of Influence takes us in a bit of a different direction. On a 15 minute walk from London Euston to London Kings Cross, Fashion Revolution co-founder Orsola de Castro and renowned fashion critic and columnist Sarah Mower spoke with Sara Arnold of Extinction Rebellion (and Higher Studio) about the recent protests, the aim of the movement and the next steps in their fight for climate justice. Shortly after this interview, the UK Parliament declared a climate change emergency.

A little bit of context: On Saturday April 27th, during Fashion Revolution Week and towards the end of Extinction Rebellion’s 2 week occupation of Central London, Slow Factory hosted “Study Hall: Sustainability as a Culture”. The event (in its first international edition) was held in London, UK. Before the event, the Fashion Revolution team along with Sara Arnold, Sarah Mower, speakers, attendees and supporters took a walk to discuss the current happenings.

Here’s what was said:

Orsola de Castro: So the response to the protests… people are really prepared to put themselves out there. There were over 1000 arrests you say. Did you find that the overall response was positive?

SA: There has been criticism of the tactics used, there has been criticism of disruption, but that’s not we’re worried about. We want people to hear our demands, that’s what people should be focused on. I think we are making progress on that. Everyone is talking about climate change in a different way. Talking about it as an emergency. It doesn’t matter if they don’t agree with how we’ve gone about doing things. As long as it works.

OdC: I’ve found that one of the reasons why we (Fashion Revolution) wanted to do this is the symbolism of joining hands. Even if everyone has a different way of doing things. The fact that the message is one of urgency is what we want to show. We need to all join together.

Could you tell me a little about how you guys started?

SA: Yes, so Extinction Rebellion were a group called Rising Up which started, in 2016, as a group of activists who wanted to theorise how they would go about creating this social change that we needed. They researched and put into practice different tactics. A member of Extinction Rebellion, Roger Hallam, who is currently doing his PhD at King’s College on these issues, one of the things he did was engage with an activist group at King’s that for years had been trying to get the University to disinvest from fossil fuel. They decided to stage a hunger strike. They were told that this process, even just the bureaucracy of disinvesting from fossil fuels would take a year to sort out. They said  ‘okay, so let’s just try it’. So they went on hunger strike.

Sarah Mower: Because the university was investing in fossil fuels?

SA: Exactly. The whole process, from start to finish, from them going on hunger strike to all the investment coming out was 2 weeks. When they were told it would take years. So it just goes to show that direct action makes change. People do what they think is not possible when they are faced with disaster.

OdC: When I went to the first extinction rebellion meeting, you were talking about in war and in emergency, people make things happen. So the factories go from producing kitchenware to producing arms. When it is a state of emergency, historically, we’ve known citizens and organisations to take action pretty rapidly.

SA: Exactly. Now we have to get this declaration through to them so they can act.

OdC: And so what about the involvement of Greta (Thunberg)?

SA: Greta was there when we held the Declaration of Rebellion on the 31st of October 2018. So we’ve had her support since the beginning. It’s really great that she came back at this time for the protests.

SM: She has changed everything.

OdC: She has changed everything.

OdC: You have other hubs in other countries, do you find there are other meaningful partnerships with local organisations in the rest of the world? Are you finding that people want to join you or do you find that they are hesitant to do so?

SA: The International Rebellion was in 33 countries. We have groups set up in 49 countries.

OdC: So like Fashion Revolution, you are de-centralised in the sense that it is volunteer run and people start their own groups.

SA: Yes. So we have 200 groups in the UK alone. The groups outside of the UK can have different demands to ours. They can adapt what we have done to respond to their own political situation. We’re so fortunate here to have police that are peaceful. And we have to use that privilege. We have a really engaged group in Ghana but if they did the same thing we are doing, they are looking at being arrested and then disappearing. It’s important for us to have solidarity with them. We keep a list of the names of those people so if anything does happen, we can protect them. It really interesting to get into that and see how we can help to take it further, internationally.

OdC: There are issues when you are a global group and you are dealing with law in different countries, even though the message is the same. Its important to recognise that.

OdC: How do you deal with citizens apathy out of fear? That people are so scared over what will happen, that they tend to go home and not know where to start.

SA: We need to really bring about this sense of urgency. That this is an absolute emergency. I feel its important to make people understand what the consequences are. We are talking about mass starvation, the death of billions of people if we reach a certain tipping point. Starvation is something we are really heading towards. We have 30 to 40 years left of fertile soil in this country, other countries are already hitting that. Let alone all the other problems. We are so dangerously close to hitting the tipping point.

Everyone is going to react to this differently. Everyone will go through a process of grief. And for a lot of people, grief will mean denial. That’s fine, you just have to feel compassion towards that. With extinction rebellion, what we are saying, is that when you give people the truth, a certain percent of the population, we think between 1 and 3% will rise up. And that is all we are aiming for. We need that 1 to 3% to rise up, to bring this to the governments and to take control.

OdC: And speak truth to power.

SA: Yes. We’ve been trying for the last 30 years to give people this positive message that we hope people will engage with and that great, but we don’t have time for that now.

SM: So what do you think when Greta Thunberg stands in front of Michael Gove and he acts all Mea culpa. How do we hold him to account and get through real change?

SA: It’s a difficult question.

SM: If we’re talking about footfalls and governmental change.

SA: This is stage 1 of the rebellion. We can rise up and be bigger next time if we need to. I think. As we are doing that, we are waking people up to this emergency and its not something you can turn the clock back on. I think sooner or later the government will have to act.

OdC: I thought Mary Creagh was very honest at the recent Fashion Question Time when she was saying that we cannot do 2025 but working towards 2050, hoping it will gradually get faster and easier.

‘We aren’t going to get to net zero by 2025. The science will tell us what to do to get to net zero by 2050, and then in five years’ time to 2040 and then we’ll aim to get there for 2035. We have wasted the last 10 years, we’ve had no new policy in this country to change behaviour and we’ve done some policy mistakes along the way.’ Mary Creagh, Fashion Question Time at the V&A

SA: I think that we have to hit 2025. The Arctic is melting. We could lose it in a few years. That could be the tipping point that takes us into oblivion. We have to set our targets at something that seems impossible because then we are forced to look at system change. It is not about what we can do within the existing system, we have to look beyond that and listen to the science.

OdC: The science…the science corroborates that if we did stop now, it would get worse before it gets better.

SA: That’s the thing, pollution is currently cooling the earth. We are now 1.1 degrees warmer than we were during pre-industrial times. We need to keep ourselves below 1.5 if we are to avoid the most catastrophic consequences. BUT..If we slam on the brakes right now, the pollution will clear, causing an abrupt rise in temperature. This increase has been predicted to be between 0.5 and 1.1 degrees and so we may well have already used the carbon budget associated with 1.5 degrees of global heating. And that also puts us dangerously close to tipping points that will lead us into a so called ‘hot-house earth pathway’ of runaway climate breakdown. Its predicted that we reach this tipping point at around 2 degrees of global heating. Prof. Jem Bendell released a paper, ‘Deep Adaptation’, that puts together all the science to conclude where it is we are headed. His conclusion is that the collapse of civilisation is soon and inevitable. That immense catastrophe is likely and extinction possible.

‘I have chosen to interpret the information as indicating inevitable collapse, probable catastrophe and possible extinction.’ – Prof. Jem Bendell, Deep Adaptation: A Map for Navigating Climate Tragedy

So that is why we have to think about how we are going to adapt our culture, how we can reconnect with the thought of what it means to have a fulfilled life. What is important to us? This is why we say it’s not really about providing hope to people its saying we just need the courage to get through this and do what is necessary.

OdC: If we look at precedence, historically, the last time there was a massive mobilisation was in the 60’s. I often joke that the peace sign embroidered on jeans practically stopped the Vietnam war but it essentially sparked consumerism.

SM: Its true and now that generation, who are now grandparents, see their grandchildren protesting against it. It’s something I find very moving.

Further reading: 

BBC: UK Parliament declares climate change emergency

Fashion Revolution Blog: Fashion Question Time at the V&A

The Guardian: Human society under urgent threat from loss of Earth’s natural life

Open Democracy: Britain just declared a climate emergency. What happens next?

IPCC: Special Report: Global Warming of 1.5 ºC

NASA: If Earth has warmed and cooled throughout history, what makes scientists think that humans are causing global warming now?

Life Worth: Deep Adaptation: A Map for Navigating Climate Tragedy

The Library: Study Hall: London Central Saint Martins

Check back every month for more in the Power of Influence series. We’ll post a new entry on the last day of each month throughout 2019. If you think there is someone we should be talking to, drop us a line on instagram.

We host Fashion Revolution Week in April of every year. This year kicked off on the 22nd of April. Throughout the week we encouraged people to ask brands ‘who made my clothes’ in hopes of shining a light on the unknowns of the fashion industry. By doing this, we hope to shift the focus from consumers to brands, and to all the hands involved, be it producers, workers, farmers or otherwise. We track the reach and impact of collaborators throughout Fashion Revolution Week and use the findings to fight for change worldwide, through government and policy. We are able to do this through the generous support of people like you. Please consider donating. Thank you.

Fashion Revolution Climate Emergency Measures

While we support the urgent actions of our friends at Extinction Rebellion, Fashion Revolution does not advocate boycotting brands. There are many ways to campaign and we welcome differences of approach. As a solutions-based campaign, we are conscious of how our actions as consumers effect the lives of the people who make our clothes. Fashion can provide independence and an income, particularly for young women in developing countries. We continue to focus our efforts on campaigning for a more transparent supply chain and supporting the garment workers and unions in striving for better pay and working conditions.

We are also highlighting that we are in the midst of a climate emergency, and we urge citizens to remember that Loved Clothes Last and to limit our consumption, buy better, buy less. We entreat brands to look at their waste and production levels and create new systems making use of existing textiles and their own deadstock.

Heather Knight

We advocate that everyone should buy less, buy second hand, wear your clothes longer and if buying new then to support young and sustainably minded and Fairtrade designers/brands – but if you do shop on the high street, then ask those powerful questions like #whomademyclothes because it lets those brands know their customers care and expect better.

We have a whole range of resources and ways in which to enjoy clothes without adding to the impact on the world’s resources. Check out our Emergency Measures to find out ways to make creative use of our existing clothes and textiles.

Heather Knight
Heather Knight
Interview with Mutha: Part 3 in the Power of Influence series.

Sparked by the buzz around HRH Meghan Markle choosing to shop amongst sustainable brands (yay), we found ourselves interested in learning more about the conscious and subconscious effect of social influencers and how that can shape our buying habits. Throughout 2019, we will be sharing our ‘Power of Influence’ series, talking to people within the fashion and social media realms about how they are using their platform for positive action. In this post, we celebrate Mutha.

Mutha are my favourite new source for all things sustainability. They not only have great fashion related content but they also delve in to other areas such as food, tech, sport and feminism. Their youtube channel is hosted by an insanely engaging team of presenters and their #relatable language and design aesthetic is something to be envious of. Current faves in their playlists include ‘Zero Waste Man‘ and ‘Black Friday Madness‘. To find out more about how it all happens, I chatted to Susan Adegboye, Mutha’s social media coordinator.

[youtube v=”6XqRPsULEnk”]


What is Mutha and how did it start?
So Mutha stemmed from wanting to celebrate the individuals and organisations operating in the world of food, fashion, travel and sport that are making a conscious effort to look after this planet of ours. We wanted to create a platform dedicated to the forward thinkers that were shifting the dial for a sustainable future, highlighting the importance of looking after the planet but without the scaremonger tactics. 

We partnered with the UN to be the bridge between them and Gen Z. Both sides care about the planet, but we felt that the way that information around sustainability and the environment was being portrayed hasn’t always resonated with a younger audience.

Can you explain a little about the kind of content Mutha is creating to bridge that gap?
We tried to bridge that gap by including communities and groups that have previously never really been involved. A good example of this is SpAir Max Day, where we decided to tap into the sneaker community.

Coinciding with Nike Air Max Day on March 26th, we filmed a two-part series with renowned sneaker head Kish Kash, encouraging the sneaker community and a few household names such as Annie Mac, Clara Amfo and Leo Greenslade, to look into their vaults and donate some of their used, worn-in and probably landfill destined kicks to launch the first ever pop up sneaker shop where customers donate instead of buy. With the aim of collecting 1000 pairs of Air Max, cleaned by the team at Jason Markk and donated to the Brixton Soup Kitchen clothing and shoe bank.

We wanted to show the Mutha audience that upcycling and donating our used clothing and shoes not only has a positive impact on the environment, but that it can help people in our community in need. We wanted to work with the sneaker community to show how they can come together to do something good.


[youtube v=”ABaUzcJk33Q”]


I think thats a really interesting point – including communities that haven’t previously been part of the conversation. At this point, it feels like there is something everyone can do to play their part.

One of Muthas instagram post states ‘you don’t have to be perfect, just do your best’. Do you think there is a tendency to shame when it comes to issues of sustainability?
Nobody’s perfect and we all make mistakes, we’re human after all. It’s about what we do after the mistakes that really matters.

On that note, the team of presenters on Mutha feels very natural, honest, like they are part of the communities they interact with and they are experiencing the challenges and issues at the same time the audience are. Was it a conscious decision to work in this way?
Our presenters and the rest of the Mutha team, do not want to preach, but rather learn and share to inspire positive change. They represent the team behind the scenes who create the content and more importantly the audience who watch it. Our presenters come from varied backgrounds and have passions in totally different areas, but are all connected in the quest to learn and to live in a more sustainable way.

Thats definitely something that personally resonated with me when I first came across Mutha. It’s an inviting atmosphere. You sympathise and relate to the faces and voices you see and hear. Have you seen a positive reaction to this approach? Do your audience get it? Are they realising what they can do?
Ah we’re happy to hear that! At Mutha we believe that change has to start from within, we’re all on a journey here and in the 9 months since we started it we’ve all seen changes in ourselves and in our habits. The world of sustainability is often filled with doom and gloom, but a lot of us feel more optimistic now than we did before we started this journey. All the people that we’ve featured on our channel (and most of the feedback that we’ve received from our audience) is that Mutha feels like a celebration and inspires us to take the small actions that lead to big change.


So what does the future of Mutha look like?
The future of Mutha looks bigger and better, creating a lasting impact on an even wider scale. We hope that we can continue to provide a place where people can learn about sustainability and appreciating the world that we live in.

Thanks, Susan!

To keep up to date with all things Mutha, you can follow them on instagram and subscribe to their youtube channel. The second part of their two part SpAir Max Day initiative launched April 4th – see the video here.

Check back every month for more in the Power of Influence series. We’ll post a new entry on the last day of each month throughout 2019. If you think there is someone we should be talking to, drop us a line on instagram.

We host Fashion Revolution Week in April of every year. This year kicks off on the 22nd of April. Throughout the week we encourage people to ask brands ‘who made my clothes’ in hopes of shining a light on the unknowns of the fashion industry. By doing this, we hope to shift the focus from consumers to brands, and to all the hands involved, be it producers, workers, farmers or otherwise. We track the reach and impact of collaborators throughout Fashion Revolution Week and use the findings to fight for change worldwide, through government and policy. We would hugely appreciate it if you would be willing to share a story or celebrate a brand you love or simply ask #whomademyclothes during Fashion Revolution Week in 2019.

Interview with Ashley (bestdressed): Part 2 in the Power of Influence series.

Sparked by the buzz around HRH Megan Markle choosing to shop amongst sustainable brands (yay), we found ourselves interested in learning more about the conscious and subconscious effect of social influencers and how that can shape our buying habits. Throughout 2019, we will be sharing our ‘Power of Influence’ series, talking to people within the fashion and social media realms about how they are using their platform for positive action. In this post, we talk to Ashley AKA bestdressed.

There is something different about Ashley’s videos. There is no big agenda, no preaching or bragging, no shaming when she talks about clothes. There is just this subtle little undercurrent of care and attention in the way she approaches her wardrobe. Thrifting, flipping (making new things out of old things) and the occasional scattering of self-deprecating humour makes for some exceedingly entertaining videos. Being an avid fixer and flipper myself, I wondered what made Ashley start working in this way and what effect, if any, she thinks it has on her audience.


Could you share your name and various media handles:
Ashley (aka bestdressed)
Youtube: bestdressed
Instagram: @best.dressed

Upon first glance, your youtube channel might seem like many others – OOTDs, clothing hauls and ‘day in the life of’s. When digging in though, your approach to sustainability through thrifting, upcycling and flipping your finds is totally ingrained into everything you do and say. For us, this is such an important and positive message to be spreading, something that others on the platform can seem to ignore. What made you start working in this way? Was sustainable fashion something you’ve always been conscious of?
I’m flattered, but honestly I never made a conscious choice to be a ~hero~ of sustainability! My love of thrifting and tendency to rewear clothes really comes from a financial perspective. When I was a younger, I never liked thrifting, My sister would always find gems, but I’d get bored and frustrated 15 ugly sweaters in and go play Doodle Jump in a corner. But two summers ago, when was in full on chipmunk mode post-wisdom teeth removal, I needed something to pass the time before my cheeks deflated. Lo and behold, I decided to go thrifting, and finally found some cool stuff. From that point on, I was obsessed – mostly because at that point I was still working for $8 an hour at an ice cream shop and could use the cheapest clothes I could get. Plus, I was about a year into my (vastly unsuccessful at that point) YouTube career. I would post a haul or OOTW here and there, but I could never seem to keep up with other girls who would have five completely new outfits each week. Thrifting, for me, was a way to experiment with my style and make interesting content, and rewearing clothes for years (even “fast fashion” clothes from Forever21) was just a product of not having that much money.

In a lot of your videos you alter, adjust, flip your existing clothes (or second hand clothes) into something totally new. Do you think it’s something everyone could and should be doing? Does this satisfy the itch to own something new, without playing into the fast-fashion world?
For me, it’s even better! It’s like Marx’s theory of alienation from the work product, right? There’s something so satisfying about making or altering something yourself. Every time you look at it or wear it you get to be like “Damn! I did that! And nobody else has anything like it!” I know everyone’s not the craftiest or has time to alter their clothes, but I hope I can encourage people to at least give it a try! Something as simple as patching up a hole instead of throwing a shirt out, or cropping an old t-shirt are a great place to start!



Do you feel the pressure from brands to buy? Do you think it’s possible to stay fashionable without buying in excess?
Absolutely. That’s the whole job of the marketing industry. And now social media is overtaken by the marketing industry. So every day, tons of images and videos are telling you that you want new things. Honestly I fall victim to this too. It’s usually only when I’m bored or procrastinating or feeling shitty, but I’ll go into this fervor of opening tabs and adding items to my cart. Normally the total price at checkout stops me though, haha. I don’t go to malls anymore because they make me crazy. Literally my brain just goes: clothes! clothes! more clothes! I sound insane but I swear this probably happens to a lot of us. Luckily, a lot of what’s “fashionable,” at least for a certain segment of internet hipsters, is shifting towards thrifted and vintage clothes. I love that it’s cool now to wear an old oversize t-shirt or a vintage linen dress. Since my entire job revolves around fashion, I do still buy new clothes, but I always think about my purchases thoughtfully and try to mix in thrifted, vintage, sustainable, and altered clothes.

Do you see an uptake in responsibility from your followers when you share content that focuses on sustainable issues? Do their responses show that they’re thinking differently about what they buy and how they buy?
Honestly unfortunately I think it’s a bit of singing to the choir when it comes to sustainable vs. fast fashion. There are still crazy amounts of $300, $500, $5000 Wish/Zaful/Shein hauls online, with audiences willing to watch. I’m chillin over here in my corner of the internet with gals who already love thrifting. And who’s reading this article? Surely people who already care about sustainable fashion. Perhaps that’s just me being a bit of a pessimist. In the long run, I think sustainable content can change how people think, but it takes time. I hope that at least some people who have subscribed to my channel from a fashion video have found their way to a thrift haul, and after watching a couple, have tried thrifting on their own! And maybe my thrift flips makes fellow sewing nerds like me feel a little cooler lol.

Okay now for some quick ones…

  1. Current favourite piece in your closet?
    A sherpa jacket I thrifted from the men’s section! So cozy and looks like it cost a fortune
  2. Do you remember the first piece of clothing that you ever bought for yourself?
    A gray American Eagle hoodie in 6th grade
  3. Do you still have it?
    I wore it nearly every day to school for 3 years (I was one of those kids) but we had to part ways after it was pretty much falling apart.
  4. Do you know who made the clothes you are currently wearing?
    My top is thrifted (so not sure who made it originally) and my jeans are Redone vintage Levi’s made in the US.
  5. Top tip for others wishing to shop more responsibly?
    Start with browsing a vintage or thrift store, finding a few quality sustainable pieces to invest in, looking through your own closet to find old gems you forgot you loved… or even remembering to return items you don’t end up loving – that’s a huge one! It’s so easy, you get your money back, and you don’t end up with clothing sitting in the back of your closet. You’d be amazed by how many people buy stuff and can’t be bothered to return it. I think sustainable culture can be a bit intimidating and make you feel guilty for your past purchases or if you aren’t perfectly sustainable at the start. It’s all about starting small – even if you just stop and think about one fast fashion purchase per month, that’s still awesome!

Thanks, Ashley 🙂

Check back every month for more in the Power of Influence series. We’ll post a new entry on the last day of each month throughout 2019. If you think there is someone we should be talking to, drop us a line on instagram.

We host Fashion Revolution Week in April of every year. This year kicks off on the 22nd of April. Throughout the week we encourage people to ask brands ‘who made my clothes’ in hopes of shining a light on the unknowns of the fashion industry. By doing this, we hope to shift the focus from consumers to brands, and to all the hands involved, be it producers, workers, farmers or otherwise. We track the reach and impact of collaborators throughout Fashion Revolution Week and use the findings to fight for change worldwide, through government and policy. We would hugely appreciate it if you would be willing to share a story or celebrate a brand you love or simply ask #whomademyclothes during Fashion Revolution Week in 2019.