Don’t miss Fashion Revolution’s Upcycling Queen in the latest episode of Wardrobe Crisis
Orsola de Castro talks to Clare Press in the inaugural episode of Wardrobe Crisis podcast, series 3. They discuss Orsola’s upcycling journey, the unsustainable problem with perfectionism, and Fashion Revolution’s inception.
Recorded while Clare and Orsola were in Hong Kong judging the Redress Award, this episode is a rare window into Orsola’s career prior to co-founding Fashion Revolution, and even before her London Fashion Week initiative, Estethica. Detailing her introduction to both mending and upcycling, Orsola demands that, “Mending is something to be proud of… we have had 30 years in which any human mistake is considered dirty… To me, there is nothing dirty about something mended. There is everything celebratory and exciting. And somebody actually sent us a postcard at Fashion Revolution which said, ‘mending is a revolutionary act’. Mending is a scar. If we are proud of our life, proud of our scars, then mending is the physical externalisation of that”.
To her point, Clare notes that culturally, we shy away from imperfections, like signs of ageing, and blemishes. This same tendency to shame imperfections is exemplified when we discard a garment that could’ve been mended, or when brands burn stock because it didn’t pass quality control.
When Orsola turns to her journey at Fashion Revolution, she talks about the guiding principles she and co-founder Carry established to engage citizens from the start. Namely, Fashion Revolution’s call to “Be Curious. Find Out. Do Something”, as a radical way to give people a ‘way in’ when it seemed like some of the problems facing the fashion industry were insurmountable. Further Orsola says of Fashion Revolution’s #WhoMadeMyClothes campaign, “The truth is that nobody expected such a simple question to be so hard to answer”.
Clare Press is the sustainability editor-at-large of Vogue Australia, and host of the podcast Wardrobe Crisis, named after her book on the fashion industry’s ills, which she published in 2016. The podcast, now in its third season, has hosted conversations with designers including Roland Mouret, Ruchika Sachdeva, and Bianca Spender, along with sustainability pioneers Dilys Williams, Baroness Lola Young, and Ellen MacArthur. In season 2, Wardrobe Crisis also interviewed Fashion Revolution’s policy director, Sarah Ditty.