London street embroiderers get into “fast fashion”
Double on stools outside a well-known South London clothing store, around 20 needleworkers battled ‘fast fashion’ on the streets, showing shoppers how to revive shabby clothes. Their message is “sew, don’t throw away” – fix clothes rather than throw them away and buy more, despite the temptations of low-cost fashion. The traveling tailors set up their camp on Wednesday in the London suburb of Bromley, in the shadow of a Primark store, symbol of “fast fashion” increasingly criticized for its impact on the environment.
Their slogan is displayed on the back of their stools and folding chairs, often sewn with brightly colored threads. Organizer Suzi Warren wants to educate people about alternatives to constantly buying cheap, easy-to-throw clothes. “It doesn’t mean don’t buy it, it’s saying, if you buy it, try to make some kind of contract to keep it as long as you can,” she told the AFP. “We cannot keep producing clothes at this rate,” she added. Warren, who runs an online store selling clothing with humorous designs, kicked off the street sewing movement this year after hearing about the damage done by “fast fashion” and his Instagram page has developed a loyal fan base.
Among the embroiderers on Wednesday, Madeleine Tanato was hard at work mending a dress. “In recent years, I’ve realized that fast fashion has a very bad impact on the environment,” she said. As intrigued passers-by stopped to ask questions, the craftsmen hoped to show that mending was a source of pleasure. “Healing is very meditative and a healthy mental health thing,” Warren said. “It’s easy, cheap, just a needle and a thread.” Passers-by were invited to participate by scanning a QR code giving them access to online tutorials.
The event was one of many held simultaneously in cities across Britain and around the world to mark UK Sustainable Fashion Week, which took place on Friday ahead of London Fashion Week. Low-cost fashion retailers are regularly criticized for their production of waste and pollution and for the poor pay and working conditions of their staff. The image of the sector was further tarnished by the collapse of the Rana Plaza garment factory in Dhaka in April 2013, which left more than 1,100 people dead. He was also touched by reports that some brands use cotton produced by the forced labor of Uyghur Muslims in China.
Facing criticism, Primark on Wednesday pledged to make all clothing from recycled materials or more sustainable sources by 2030 and cut carbon emissions in half. Asos, another British brand, pledged Thursday in favor of more sustainable manufacturing and carbon neutrality by 2030. – AFP