Fashion Revolution - let's talk about what we wear!

Whether you love clothes for how they make you feel or are all about function it's fairly easy not to think about the journey each piece has been on to before it gets to you. In fact it can be very difficult to find out much about what you buy, even if you want to... but Fashion Revolution is trying to change all that and you too can be a revolutionary - or perhaps you already are.

So, here's an explanation of why we're involved, some simple ways you can join this revolution and details of our Open Studio event next weekend.

The Fashion Revolution movement started on the 24th April 2013 when 1,138 textile workers died and 2,500 were injured when the Rana Plaza factory collapsed in Bangladesh. This human tragedy caused shock-waves around the world and moved a group of people to try and make a real difference. The manifesto they produced is clear and simple and includes all of us: 

"We are Fashion Revolution. We are designers, producers, makers, workers and consumers. We are academics, writers, business leaders, brands, retailers, trade unions and policymakers. We are the industry and the public. We are world citizens. We are a movement and a community. We are you.
We love fashion. But we don’t want our clothes to exploit people or destroy our planet. We demand radical, revolutionary change.
This is our dream…"
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I'm writing this on World Earth Day 2019 and Fashion Revolution have just announced that they have signed the Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action and declared a Climate Emergency. This really is a movement which can inform, motivate and support change... and it starts with all of us!
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One of the main things Fashion Revolution is asking us to do is to ask brands 'Who made my clothes' and to be accountable and take responsibility for the whole life-cycle of the garment. There is a link to this and other actions at the bottom of this blog.

Because Turtle Doves is a textile recycling business we are really interested in the effect our purchasing and discarding decisions have on the environment. Much of the positive action you can take to reduce your wardrobe's impact on the environment is really easy to do and to share with friends.
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Here are my top 5 Fashion Revolution actions:
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1) Love the clothes you have - look after them, treat them as trusted friends and they will give you good service. It's easy to put items to one side once we've had them for a while and forget to appreciate them. It's worth a forage through your wardrobe looking for those items which bring you joy. Look after them, appreciate them and consider building future purchasing decisions around the things you feel good in rather than current trends.
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2) Buy better, buy less, wear it more - where possible buy quality items which will last. This doesn't mean they have to break the bank or even be new, charity shops are a great place to find quality clothes. If a garment still looks good when it's been worn and loved by someone else the chances are that it will look good for you in the long term. If you're buying new ask yourself why you are buying it. It is often better to buy one higher quality item and spend what you might have spent on three cheap alternatives. Buying from artisan companies can be a great way to invest in quality, know the provenance of the item and support your local labour force.
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3) Swap, swish, rent and buy second hand - there are so many ways we can access clothes if we are prepared to be imaginative. Giving away clothes you never use, asking friends for a loan of party wear, joining in with local swishing events and renting garments are all great ways of making sure you use less space in your wardrobe and waste less of our planet's resources.
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4) Donate your clothes responsibly - Waste isn't waste until you waste it, so think about where your old clothes go when you no longer need them.  It’s great to donate your clothes to charity shops when you don’t want them anymore. But consider carefully where you choose to donate. For example, you might donate your clothes to help people get to back to work with organizations like Dress for Success or Career Wardrobe. Or you might look out for local clothing collections to help the homeless, refugees or people in crisis. If an item is no longer wearable take it to the nearest clothes recycling bank rather than popping it in the bin. In the last 15 years clothing production has approximately doubled. In the same time, the number of times a garment is worn has decreased by 36%. Around 300,000 tons of used clothes go to landfill in the UK every year; this shouldn't be the case.
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5) Make, mend and customise - If you love a garment and it has given you good service then the odd mend can be part of its history. There are lots of ways to mend things either invisibly or decoratively. If you're not a dab hand with a needle and thread then a local tailor will be able to help you and that will be supporting local industry too.
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Point 5 brings me on to our own Fashion Revolution event. On Saturday 27th April we are hosting an Open Studio at TD HQ. It's free to come and needs to be booked through Eventbrite, I'll drop in the link at the bottom of this blog. There are 40 spaces and as I write there are still a few available but if you miss out we will be live streaming it and sharing out mending tips later. Watch this space!
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We're having a Zero Waste wardrobe talk by Ali Thomas from Zero Waste Events, a panel discussion including Ali and Daisy Snow from Ian Snow Ltd, a Fair Trade, ethical importer. We're then hosting a workshop to share some hints and tips on how to mend knitwear and make your woollies last longer. 
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It really is amazing what can be done with garments which have come to the end of their first life. Our closed loop production system means that we are always doing our very best to avoid waste whilst making lovely new items from old. We love making things last longer in an imaginative way.
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Making big changes is possible with a little effort from all of us. Loving what we already have, using it more rather than buying new and asking 'who made my clothes' when we do buy new is a great start. 
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Whether you are an concerned consumer, an academic, a writer, a business leader, a brand, a retailer, a trade unionist or a policymaker. We are all the industry and the public. We are world citizens and we can change things together.
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Here's to a future fueled by the changes we need to make!
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Warm wishes, Kate and the Turtle Doves team
Links:
Fashion Revolution Website: https://www.fashionrevolution.org/
See Turtle Doves Recycled Cashmere - https://www.turtle-doves.co.uk/

Comments

Idea for you… saw an fb post for a co called Karigar wraps in NL… it’s like your large wrap but with holes for arms… maybe an idea.. Not in a position to order at the mo but struck me you could add to your range and do it more ecologically.

Is the offer for three pairs of slightly faulty fingerless gloves ,still on please?

Tv,interview today,BBC,all about the above. I totally agree with all that is said, I still have a dress,30 years old. I still fit it!
I also wonder where the unsold stock goes.

Thank you for this. I love your clothes, and it helps me be more mindful about my clothes

I agree with you emphatically I am 65 I love fashion and for my age I think I do well I keep clothes for years and reuse I love your fingerless gloves I live in Cyprus but bought them in U.K. when I flew back UK was cold so I wore them when I arrived home we had worst weather since 1901 and I have worn them here and the ear warmers I still wear jeans I bought 30 years ago. Keep up the good work

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