When Claire Theaker-Brown returned to Edmonton after living in China, she felt that there was a lack of community focus around sustainable fashion. Edmonton already had the repairathon, random clothing swaps, craftspeople focusing on upcycling, and recipients of clothing donations; however, there lacked a hub to bring all of these people together. This sparked Change of Clothes, a space for makers to share knowledge and resources while fostering a community where shoppers and brands are brought together in one physical space.
|Change of Clothes 2017's Panelists: Crystal Tracy, Janna Stewart, Brittany Nugent, and Claire Theaker-Brown. |
Photo Credit: Piyush Patel, instagram
Wading into the waters of sustainable fashion can be intimidating. As Claire aptly points out, there are two words that really freak people out: "sustainable" and "fashion." But it doesn't need to be so complex. Fashion doesn't need to be fancy, expensive, or exclusive. And sustainability is about "progress, not perfection", as Claire often repeats throughout the panel discussion. One sure way to know you're making a difference is simply by extending the life of any consumable, offers Claire.
A great example of this was included in the day's activities. The House of Sew, Jillijade Jewellery, and Makers & Mentors were on hand to help participants upcycle jewelry and turn old t-shirts into fashionable headbands, as modeled here by participant Adam.
|Enjoying some relaxed crafting with his crew, Adam rocks the repurposed t-shirt headband. Photo Credit: Ellen|
|Cathy Jackson of Makers & Mentors showcased another beautiful example of upcycled t-shirts in the form of a stylish skirt. Photo Credit: Ellen|
|Kristen proudly showcasing her swap finds. Photo Credit: Ellen|
|Piyush has more control over design, material, and fabric when he shops second-hand |
and repurposes or mends special pieces. Photo Credit: Ellen
|Kassia finds classic pieces by swapping what no longer works for her wardrobe. Photo Credit: Ellen|
What's more, intentional shopping, by design, eliminates impulsivity. It requires research and thought. It requires asking the difficult questions and possibly writing a letter to your favourite brands asking who made the clothes. As Claire explained during the panel discussion, for her, it's less about where the clothes are made and more about who made them. Whatever your main goals, as a consumer, the power is yours. "I'm voting with my dollars," says Brittany who makes the decision to spend with retailers when she knows the story behind the clothes. "We've lost the value of our clothes," says Janna. It's time we rethink this.
These are the exact reasons Chelsey mends her damaged clothing. She believes repairing a favourite piece not only prolongs its life and allows her to continue enjoying it, but she also finds it much cheaper than buying a new item. She focuses on selecting clothes that will last year after year to get their full wear and mends items when necessary.
|Chelsey has damaged items mended to extend their life. She also has clothing tailored to alter their style enough to bring them into current fashion. Photo Credit: Ellen|
- Ellen (Volunteer)