Wardrobe Crisis - Christopher Raeburn, Remade, Reduced, Recycled | Ethical Listening

I can't get enough of Clare Press and her hugely, likeable idiosyncratic approach to the issue of sustainable fashion. Self confessed fashion magazine junkie, she's been writing about fashion for twenty years and is the author of the book Wardrobe Crisis; How We Went From Sunday Best to Fast Fashion. Based in Australia, her podcast Wardrobe Crisis, introduces us to designers, activists and all manner of folk with a sustainable philosophy whom we may not otherwise come across.

She manages to tackle the issues in her book and through her podcast, with steely assertiveness and a lightness of touch making the prospect of actually doing something about it seem quite achievable. Clare Press has described how she has feet in both fashion camps and serves each with equal passion; she adores the world of fashion for all it's frippery and show, but has also become a respected advocate of Sustainable Fashion as well as an activist.  Indeed, Australian Vogue are so impressed with how she flits between the two worlds that they created a role especially for her, Sustainability Editor-at-Large.

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This podcast features English fashion designer Christopher Raeburn, tracing his time in art college when he first began de-constructing army surplus supplies to re-make into something contemporary and wearable, to his free repair service enabling people to prolong the life of their Christopher Raeburn clothing, to his community workshops in his London studios giving people the opportunity to get creative themselves, plus his use of organic cotton and PET recycled plastics.

Christopher talks about how people question what they can do as an individual, but for him 'that's the entire point. It's about what we can do ourself, but also as a collective'. And I love, as Clare Press points out, how he tells his stories and talks about the future of the planet in his own reasonable, sensible and ultimately relatable way.

Tamsin  ✂️

A New Year (ethical) Resolution

Sewers (as in someone who sews) are often exceptional collectors of fabrics, trimmings and buttons and we have cherished relationships with our respective collections. I realised long ago that the enjoyment I get from acquiring new supplies and imagining what they could be made into is almost as fulfilling as completing the finished piece. Visualising options – so may possibilities! - is a necessary part of the design and planning process. It might look like daydreaming to some, but there's a lot going on behind those faraway eyes.

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My own selection habits have had to sharpen up, taking into account how garments made in different fabrics have to hang together as at least some kind of coherant collection. I've had to broaden my gaze as I'm not only choosing shades that I'm personally drawn to, I need to consider colours that suit other complexions and tastes. Still, I find myself experiencing that magpie twitch when faced with a gorgeous sample of fabric or exquisite button. I'm improving at resisting the temptation of buying without knowing quite what I'm going to do with it. Without a plan, these compelling new supplies are both charged with opportunity and a rueful reminder of that already over high fabric pile.

Recently, a couple of likeminded textiles addicts have offered me lengths of fabrics that they, too, have hoarded over time. With the proviso that I'll only use natural fibre fabrics, I've acquired a new stack of small amounts of irresistible fabrics. Interestingly, these unplanned adoptions are less emotional than the ones I make on my own. Alone, I fall for colour combinations I rarely see, prints that evoke something from the past or a novelty that I think I'll never come across again. Whereas the fabrics that have been bequeathed to me, lovely as they are in their own right, present more of a design challenge to figure out how to incorporate them. The challenge of using what I already have is not only my challenge; before buying more and more, I think it's important for all of us to remember what we already have and consider if there is a way to re-purpose or re-use before opting for introducing more new material – any kind of stuff, really - into the world. To me, a resolution is a promise you make to yourself and it doesn't need to be scheduled by the commencement of a New Year. If a resolution is to be made, then make it whenever. So, my Un-New Years Resolution is to be discerning and considered with my acquisition of the new and embrace the challenge of using what already exists.     

Tamsin  ✂️