And so the story begins…
There’s a pressure, to begin a tale, especially one that started a few months ago over a pint in a South London boozer on a rainy Monday evening, and make it sound worthy of being the beginning of an exciting adventure. I feel there should be a build up, to create the mood, set the scene, introduce the characters slowly, weave a plot, but we’re long past that now. We’ve reached the stage of staying in on a Saturday night, writing lists, sourcing an overlocker and looking into funding applications. So, to use some artistic license and make this blog in any way interesting I’ll try and refrain from reporting on the complete mundane, but stay true to our journey with its highs and lows.
There are some exciting movements going on in the sustainable fashion industry, people looking to slow fashion down a bit and to help us understand, once again, the value of our attire. There’s a story of a woman stepping out of Primark on Oxford Street with several bags stuffed full of cheap clothes into the heavy rain. She continued to walk on despite one of her overstuffed bags getting wet and breaking, spilling her brand new purchases all over the pavement. The woman failed to pick up her clothes, I suspect, because they weren’t of any particular value to her in the first place. This is a tale of when throwaway fashion simply becomes littering.
Recycling fashion comes under many guises: vintage, second-hand, swapping, upcycled or DIY. There are some brilliant people working away on different areas of the fashion cycle to improve it, whether it be from sourcing new, more sustainable or organic materials and fabrics, or improving manufacturing conditions for workers that feel the repercussions of our demand for cheap clothing by being paid poorly and treated inhumanely. There are people that are attempting to tackle our consumerism and waste, to dispel the myth that eco means ‘hemp’ (itchy), recycling means ‘second-hand’ (dirty or, as someone once said to me “but someone might have died in that”), or reserved for people with ‘no money’ who can’t afford the luxuries of wearing the latest trends. There are some beautiful and innovative labels working to ethical, sustainable or fairtrade values producing trend-led ranges, and there is something to be said about finding a unique garment from a vintage shop that no one else will have.
With so much material in existence we decided to look to extending the lifecycle of our clothes. To intercept clothes and materials that would end up in landfill or in an incinerator (or even strewn across the pavement). If someone has spent the time to make this, if someone once loved this and we can re-use the fabric, then we shall. And this is how USED was born.