How can Fashion be Sustainable workshop

Recently, I was invite to speak to sixth-form students about sustainable fashion. I devised an online assembly style workshop: for the for the first 30 minutes I gave an introduction to Ecotainment! & Tip of the Pops. Focussing on some of my most outrageous costumes but also my working practices as a recycling centre operative and delivery driver.

The group of about thirty students was then split into three working-groups to come-up with their own ideas and suggestions how to make fashion sustainable. To give you an idea of what that was like here are some excerpts of my talk along with the students own ideas and suggestions. These student outcomes can then be put into practice by individuals or groups to create their own Sustainable Fashion Action Plan.

The session went really well and I found it really useful to reflect on my own practice

“Once I had my equipment and tunes I turned my attention to my outfit. I was never going to be a world class DJ but I could certainly look and sound unique. Working at the recycling centre meant I would find even more treasures. Back then we sorted the clothing into Rags, Vintage & Re-sale. Working there meant that I had first-dibs on some of the best second hand clothing around, from designer labels to sports and vintage I was spoilt for choice.

When friends from Boscombe Fair wanted to put on a fashion show we ‘borrowed’ clothes from the Recycling Centre and Clobber the vintage store in Bournemouth. Some of the best ‘finds’ I sent to festival contacts who would embellish them with more reclaimed fabrics and accessories. My natural DJ aesthetic was haz-waste industrial meets shabby-chic style. Pink ski-goggles and a hard-hat completed the look!”

“…after [showing] a film ‘The True Cost’ to students at Bournemouth & Poole College. In the discussion afterwards we talked about how difficult it is to do the right thing with so many pressures put on young people. After that event I was shocked to find-out a special event for students in the local shopping centre. Where they had DJ’s and discount cards the shops would stay open just for students and they were encouraged to spend spend spend!

So today we are going to do something completely different. I am going to talk to you about my fashion finds and stories. You will then work in small-groups to come up with answers to this question ‘How Can Fashion Be Sustainable?’. Each small group has 15 minutes to come-up with 3 solutions – begin by brainstorming and coming-up with many suggestions and then refine your ideas and select the best 3.”

STUDENT OUTCOMES

  1. Companies using more natural materials; Cotton, Wool, and avoiding synthetic materials.
  2. International guidelines to prevent sweatshops.
  3. Laws on recycling. Making sure more items are recyclable and there are places available for people to do this.
  4. Making sure brands invest in sustainable materials.
  5. More advertising of sustainable brands – make us more aware of them.
  6. Manufacturers having to put on the label how it was produced/sustainability/miles of travel/
  7. Social influencers to take more responsibility for getting the sustainability message across.
  8. Upcycling, visible information about how to upcycle clothing or how/where to buy them.
  9. Lessen the price gap between mass produced and sustainable clothing.
  10. More ways to recycle clothing  – possibly on-line charity shops.

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