Meet the Maker of Charity Fashion Live – the alternative London Fashion Week show that promotes second hand fashion and textile reuse.
350,000 of re-useable clothing heads to landfill each year in the UK alone – that’s around 140 million pounds worth. There’s a throwaway culture that’s been bred by fast fashion and relatively new attitudes to both how we consume, and the value we place on fashion and the purchases that end up in our wardrobes. Emma Slade Edmondson
With Charity Fashion Live Emma Slade Edmondson (along with partners Love your Clothes and Recycle for London) aim to show people who are looking for credible style options (but shopping for fashion with a modest budget), that there is an alternative to buying into cheap fast fashion. Charity Fashion Live is a whole lot of fun for sure, but it also communicates a very important message about minimizing textile waste and reducing fashions’ impact on the environment.
We talked to Emma to find out a little more about the initiative:
Tell us a bit about Charity Fashion Live, how does it work and how do you pick out the outfits?
Charity Fashion Live is a slow fashion initiative that sees us recreate London Fashion Week looks in real time – as they come out on the catwalk, in a charity shop, using only what’s there at the time. Every year during Spring Summer Fashion Week, we work with an NGO partner to demonstrate how wearable, on trend and beautiful many of the pieces that can be sourced in charity shops really are. This year we are thrilled to be working with Oxfam, who are hosting the live event, together with Love Your Clothes and Recycle for London our official partners for 2015.
We wanted to see if we, like many fast fashion brands do, could leverage the biggest fashion event of the year to talk about something really positive. I wanted to prove that you don’t need a massive budget to be on trend and that fashion is for everyone and should be accessible to everyone. I wanted to hero a sustainable fashion retailer and humanitarian organization like Oxfam. Partnering with Recycle for London and Love your Clothes this year has made it possible to scale the event even further – to include #FashionSalvage events where we can offer the London public the opportunity to get involved with up cycling, alterations, crochet and second hand fashion design workshops. So it’s set to be even more exciting this time around.
Why is it so important to you to run this initiative and how does it aim to combat some of the negative effects fast fashion has had on the relationship we have with clothes?
I think fast fashion has encouraged a bit of a throwaway attitude to clothing, cultivating a ‘wear it once’ mentality.
To me this is a real shame as fashion is such a key part of most of our lives. We all wear clothes, many of us use those clothes as a form of self expression – we use them to communicate with the world about who we are, what we’re about – sometimes even what we stand for.
It’s different for everyone and I don’t know about you, but I feel good if what I’m wearing is fun, comfortable and I personally particularly like wearing something that’s been given to me, something treasured by another family member or a friend or a second hand buy, because I like the idea of something being passed on, the thought of an item of clothing having a story before me. I love the idea that through Charity Fashion Live and hopefully see the potential of second hand clothing as an accessible and viable option for them, but also that maybe it encourages people to think about the importance of enjoying and caring for what they already have.
An estimated 350,000 tonnes/140 million pounds worth of reusable clothing goes to landfill in the UK every year and whilst we throw things away there is a section of the industry that continues to churn out more and more fashion product than we could ever really require, encouraging us to consume things that we’ve barely had time to consider whether or not we really want. Through Charity fashion Live I’d love to get people talking and to promote a more thoughtful approach. To me this disposable culture within fashion and textiles detracts somewhat from the real beauty of fashion – creativity and expression. It also detracts from the work of designers that produce extremely well made garments that are made to last and that that (naturally) might feel like they are at a bit more of a premium to buy. Fast Fashion can sometimes seem as though it is the enemy of the artisan that works hard to source sustainable materials at fair cost with the determination to ensure everyone in their production chain is treated fairly and ethically. Ultimately, I’m sure that we’d all be happier to know that we are buying into an industry that puts a value on the environment, people, creativity and profit in equal measure. We all want to subscribe to fashion that is truly ‘feel good’.
Find out more about the initiative here
Emma Slade Edmondson is the founder of Charity Fashion Live