Have you ever considered what happens to all those clothes you bought cheap from Primark and got rid of without wearing? With masses of textiles sent to landfill every week, the recycling factories simply can’t cope with the amount of waste. Sadly the golden age of charity shopping for the bizarre and unusual is in the past.
The new charity shop army don’t want your vintage dresses or your retro sportswear, they are trying to make the shop look as close to a new clothing shop as possible. On the plus side there is a sustainable fashion revolution going on in Bristol, promoted by the family run Bristol Textiles Recyclers (BTR), who do a fantastic job sorting through all these unwanted garments and fabrics diverting as much as they can from landfills to prevent mass waste, which can be up to a staggering 100 tonnes a week.
BTR arrange monthly Fashion Salvage events at their factory at Victoria Terrace in St Phillip’s Marsh, just off Feeder Road, where everyone is welcome to rummage through tonnes of pre-loved items which include everything from quirky one-offs, vintage, retro and high street finds at only £6 a kilo. It’s an event not be missed and it is only a pound to get in!
So, what else can you do with your unwanted fashion items? In Bristol we have a range of brilliant sustainable fashion upcyclers. These include reuse queen Helen Brown from Kecks Clothing who holds talks and inspiring workshops on how easy it is to upcycle and reuse garments. Clic Sargent’s Fix Up Look Sharp create wonderful, brightly coloured streetwear fashion items from donated fabrics including duvet covers in bold graphic 80s/90s prints with 100 per cent of their sales going to charity. And then there are the fashion upcycling gems at Antiform who save old rolls of unwanted faulty fabrics from fashion houses and create contemporary fashion pieces from them.
Still not convinced by upcycling? I admit the idea of rummaging through old clothing doesn’t sound that appealing and making new may sound a bit WI or leave images of hippies in beetroot dyed hemp garments. To be honest, that sort of thing is still a feature in the eco upcycling world but open your eyes and see the new fashion light. It’s streetwear, its contemporary, it’s new. Get involved!
For more fashion content check out Emma Gorton-Ellicott’s Blog no-debutante.blogspot.co.uk