The damaging effects on the environment of the fashion industry and fast fashion culture are widely recognized with more greenhouse gases than aviation and shipping combined, a cargo of textiles dumped or burned every second, our oceans polluted from plastic microfibres from synthetic clothes and the human cost of poor working conditions.
Sustainability and environmentally friendly fashion have never been more important.
Greyfriars and Grace produces sewing patterns with an environmental focus on reusing existing clothing and fabrics. This has the environmental benefit of helping to reduce excessive textile production and landfills, and the practical benefit of avoiding having to do some of the more difficult sewing elements such as buttonholes, collars and cuffs.
I launched Greyfriars and Grace in April 2021 and already three of my designs have been shortlisted for this year’s British Sewing Awards: one for Best Sewing Pattern and two in the Best Green Product category alongside corporate giants like Hobbycraft and Gutermann.
It’s a bit of a David and Goliath situation, but it’s wonderful to receive industry recognition for sustainability and environmentally friendly design. In October, I started a series of presentations to secondary education fashion and textile students to discuss how the fashion industry can take positive steps to change and help raise the profile of fashion and textile recycling with the next. generation of designers and retail buyers.
There are many things you can do to make your wardrobe more sustainable, such as buying and selling at the flea market, repairing, choosing greener brands and renting clothes, especially for special occasions.
Online platform ThredUp estimates that the second-hand market is one of the fastest growing retail areas and is projected to double to $ 77 billion by 2025.
I believe it is possible to change shopping habits. Ten years ago, hardly anyone carried a reusable bag to the supermarket. Now, most people do.
Fortunately, hardly anyone would wear real fur for fashion nowadays. It was once the symbol of opulence, glamor and wealth, but now it represents cruelty and inhumanity.
I believe it is possible that environmental priorities affect fashion choices and textile production in the same way that animal rights have nearly abolished the use of real fur in the fashion industry and animal testing in the cosmetics industry.
In April 2021, H&M announced a goal of using only recycled materials or other materials of sustainable origin by 2030. Last year ASOS launched its first circular collection and Zara wants 80% of the energy consumed. in its offices, factories and shops comes from renewable sources and its facilities to produce zero waste in landfills by 2025.
They are just a small piece of the puzzle, but I hope that Greyfriars and Grace can help make a contribution to combat the harmful environmental effects of fast fashion culture and, at the same time, create some happiness and assist people who love to sew. to create beautiful, individual and quality clothes, made with love.
Fiona Alexander, Founder and designer, Greyfriars and Grace