How a piece of vintage fabric inspired my love of sustainability and ethical fashion

My journey in fashion is continually evolving and changing, but my values have never wavered. I started out in the fashion industry when I was 18, launching my own sustainable fashion brand straight out of school. I’d learnt the basics from Home Economics, my grandma filled the gaps, and the rest I taught myself.

I’ve always loved vintage and retro things, and my label was heavily inspired by that love. Every garment I made, was made from recycled fabric or repurposed materials, and I donated my off-cuts to another local label which turned them into hair accessories for little girls. My label was 100% waste-free, sustainable, and ethical, and it was this experience that taught me how much blood, sweat and tears go into slow fashion.

Understanding how a garment came to be, has a lot to do with why I advocate for ethics and sustainability today. When I inherited my great grandmother’s (on my father's side) fabric collection and the contents of her vintage shop in my early twenties, it was like all my Christmases had come at once. Every time I used some of the fabric though, a little bit of what I had inherited disappeared. This was when I learnt the true meaning of sustainability and value; when you use something, it’s gone. Once I’d cut up the incredible bright green 60s floral fabric to make a little shift dress, the material was gone, and it was my responsibility to make sure what I had made – was worth it. I never sold that dress and it still hangs in my office because I can’t part with it, but it reminds me every day of why I started.

Values are what make us human. Values are what connect us, but they’re also what separates us. I value ethics and sustainability, and Burberry values their ‘reputation’, which is why they burn their end of season stock. I value transparency, which is why I ensure each designer I work with signs an agreement and promises their honesty. TopShop values profits, which is why they release 7000 new styles every single year, ignoring that 87% of them end up landfilled or incinerated.

My values are built on personal experiences, my love of my planet, and my empathy for people – all over the world.

Seasons rotate, and trends change, but the values shared by our community of designers at The Fashion Advocate are concrete, and we work every day to #advocateforbetter.

The Fashion Advocate x

How a piece of vintage fabric inspired my love of sustainability and ethical fashion

How a piece of vintage fabric inspired my love of sustainability and ethical fashion

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