Stitched Up - Action for sustainable fashion .

Presentation by Amy Twigger Holroyd creator of keep and share.

Brainstorming ideas ......
Amy showing how garments can be deconstructed to create new designs .
Lizzie Harrison founder of Antiform.
Creating  new outifits from old shirts donated by Oxfam.
Antiform's knitted items , made from surplus yarn .
Details on an antiform sweater. 
Collaborative embroidery. 
Jo showing some of the students reconstructed outfits.
a small bit of lace making.

Last week I was lucky enough to attend this amazing event at Wolverhampton University , A day of talks, workshops and collaboration learning about sustainable fashion. 

I posted briefly about the fabulous day I had on my Instagram page, and thought I would add a more detailed post about the day and the inspiring people involved in this ongoing project.

The event kicked off with a brief film made by Orsola de Castro, founder of Fashion Revolution   , a global movement aiming to make big changes across the fashion industry .
In their own words -
'We want to unite people and organisations to work together towards radically changing the way our clothes are sourced, produced and consumed, so that our clothing is made in a safe, clean and fair way.
We believe that collaborating across the whole value chain — from farmer to consumer — is the only way to transform the industry.
Our mission is to bring everyone together to make that happen'.

Fashion revolution produce an online or print fanzine, which I can not wait to get my hands on , with contributions from artists, illustrators, designers right through to garment workers. The fanzine is not for profit, the money goes straight back into furthering the movement.

The next speaker would undoubtedly fit in well with the Fashion revolution movement, Amy Twigger Holroyd, now a Senior lecturer  at Nottingham Trent university, she calls herself   - 'a designer, maker and researcher and writer, active in the field of fashion and sustainability' 

The main idea she shared with us was her experiments in  'Reknitting ' , essentially finding new and fascinating ways to reinvent existing knitwear items. I'll admit some of Amy's  ideas were way beyond skills that I hold ( as a non knitter ) , her attention to detail in some of the items which she laboriously Stitch hacked (unpicked stitches re knitted into new patterns),  like this St Michael sweater are quite spectacular. Luckily she had plenty of inspiration for simpler ways to 'reknit' items that we may be bored of, including adding pockets, applique and inserting panels. After the talk she sat with us and showed us how to unpick some knitted items ( good eye sight needed here !). It was great to sit and chat with some of the other guests about what had brought them to the event. There was a fantastic age range of people with differing skills who were all interested in how they could become  more conscious about their making and fashion choices.
Not only did we learn how we can personally make changes to our own garments, we also heard about some of the exciting companies who are providing sustainable fashion. Lizzie Harrison of Antiform gave us a hands on experience of her companies journey through a 'Show and tell' of her garments. Founded in 2007 , Antiform produce collections made from a variety of reclaimed materials all  from within the UK and  local whenever possible. I was particularly struck when she talked of 'collections' , how typically in fashion designers will bring out new designs every 'season' and how this is in reality the antithesis of  slow fashion. To this end she is working on eradicating seasonal collections , which she admitted is a work in progress ( mainly due to the expectation from stockists for new items for repeat customers ) .
( Lizzie also showed us some of her favourite items from her own wardrobe made by Lydia Higginson - who made her own clothes for a year , and gave any bought clothes away , she now runs workshops *  and Tamay & me a  fascinating collaboration which will also have its own future post.)

The afternoon was taken up by a variety of workshops, one with Course Leader Jo Bloodworth looked at how shirts (donated by Oxfam which would have otherwise been scrapped due to their poor condition  ) could be refashioned in to new outfits. We had a go ourselves and saw outfits that some of her fashion students had created.
I then  sat for a calm half an hour creating a leaf out of lace with some lovey ladies who told me about how lace used to be used and the change when machine made lace was introduced.  ( something I would quite like to do more of, very therapeutic !) tried some 'Hooking' on fabric , embroidery on fabric swatches ( which were later stitched together into a collaborative piece) , and did some great brainstorming with ideas of how we can become sustainable clothing citizens (a question I will be continuing to ask myself ! )

So much food for thought and this is an ongoing project with the university and also locally at the Hive so I'm really hoping that I can stay involved and learn more !

(big thanks to all who organised  and took part in the day, get in touch if there is any information you would like me to include here or in a future post )

Emma x


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