‘Repair, reuse, rewear’: XR Fashion Action hold clothes repair workshop to help end fast fashion

  • XR Fashion Action encourages public to shop for sustainable alternatives
  • The climate justice organisation offer the skills of mending in guerrilla repair workshop in heart of city centre
  • Social stigma against wearing outfits more than once needs to end as 'bare minimum'

XR Fashion Action – part of the Extinction Rebellion group – hosted a repair workshop in Manchester to encourage people to repair and reuse clothes.

Activists taught those involved how to repair and mend items of clothing rather than simply throw them away.

A clothes rail with free clothing was set up inviting people to come and swap their clothes as a sustainable alternative to buying new items.

The key message was to raise awareness of the “toxic nature of the fashion industry”.

The fashion industry has a large environmental impact due to its manufacturing and operational processes.

Figures released from 2019 showed top European retailer, Inditex, which own brands including Zara and Mango, were responsible for over 500,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.

Just by raising people’s awareness, that has a massive impact

The Northern Quota spoke with Beth Meadows and Bec Hefferman Clarke, who run XR Fashion for the north.

Beth said: “Fashion is causing more emissions than shipping and aviation combined, it’s so, so bad.

“I think people often think about industries like oil, but actually fashion is related to oil very much.

“A lot of the clothes people wear are made out of oil and made out of fossil fuels.”

Beth said that in the past people were more accustomed to making their own clothes and repairing them when needed.

“As a society, we’ve got to change the way we think and relate to fashion,” she said.

“There is a social stigma that once you wear something once on a night out, you can’t wear it again. We should really normalise re-wearing, that’s like bare minimum.”

Activists say many brands bring out ‘sustainable collections’ made out of recycled materials but charged at a higher cost. Many simply can’t afford to buy these sustainable clothes.

Bec said: “We are not targeting those people at all, it’s the brands that need to change themselves.

“Just by raising people’s awareness, that has a massive impact”.

She said the workshop in Market Street was a success and that being a part of the group and having conversations with the public gave her hope for the future.

Beth added: “Even the small conversations we’ve had over the course of this year with passers-by may have planted seeds.

“We may never see how those seeds grow but it could very well be to a more conscious sort of consumer behaviour patterns, which is really positive”.

The group wants to bring attention to sustainable alternatives to the fashion system, aiming for a transformation within the fashion world to work towards climate justice.

More information about the group and upcoming events can be found here.