On Sunday 24 March, Edinburgh venue The Jam House on Queen Street was packed out for an event raising the awareness of sustainable fashion. The R SustainableFashion Show, organised by Edinburgh students, Milda Lebedyte and Daniela Groza, showcased work from 17 international exhibitors, and featured clothing and jewellery collections on the catwalk from designers passionate about sustainable clothing and reducing waste. The fashion industry is the world’s second-worst polluter, something these students are hoping to change.
The letter ‘R’ stands for reinvent, reclaim, re-innovate, encouraging the reuse and reimagining of materials to prevent waste. Clothes featured included ocean plastic debris to form incredible structured dresses; reused scraps from other runway items reborn as beautiful jewellery; recycled tartan and tweed and a showcase from One Cherry, featuring SHRUB Coop clothes,an Edinburgh-based social enterprise working to put charity shopping on the digital map. Not many people realise that shopping second-hand counts as a sustainable way to shop, so making charity shop clothes available to view online aims to make charity shopping more accessible for everyone.
The evening was led by Ruth MacGlip, an award-winning, ethical fashion blogger, who gracefully and smoothly guided the audience through this spectacle of eco fashion design, featuring a myriad of varying designs, showing that the opportunities are vast for sustainable fashion.
The show began with an introduction from Fashion Revolution, a global movement and organisation of people who love fashion but believe it shouldn’t be at the cost of human lives or at the cost of our planet. They pioneered the hashtag #whomademyclothes to promote transparency in the fashion supply chain and foster connection between the garment workers and the customers buying the end products.
22-28 April will be Fashion Revolution week, marking the anniversary of the Rana Plaza tragedy, when a Bangladesh garment factory collapsed in 2013, killing 1138 people and injuring many more, due to brands’ negligence and pressure to produce quick, cheap clothing to satisfy our fast fashion frenzy. Check out their website: www.fashionrevolution.org to find out more about the organisation and to discover events near you.
The evening ended with a raffle with an array of eco-goodies to be won, including vouchers from functional clothing brand, Finisterre; jean label, Monkee Genes; prizes from Mia Cosmetics Paris; food from Edinburgh’s own East Pizza and Gautam’s; and many more.
The support from local Edinburgh businesses, and even further afield, was heartwarming and seems to suggest a growing movement towards a sustainable future.
Overall, the event was a positive and uplifting experience. It was great to see it so busy – there was barely an empty seat in the house – that so many people clearly love fashion, but at the same time, care deeply about the impact their choices have on our planet and the humans involved in the production of our clothes.
Well done to Milda and Daniela for this inspiring event and for pushing us as students to do better in our choices, not just in fashion.
A takeaway from the evening would have to be a quote from the queen of sustainable fashion herself, Vivienne Westwood: “Buy less, choose well, make it last.” Something we can all remember to help us reinvent the future.
Editor’s note: This article differs slightly to its print version, due to a print error.
Image: One Cherry showcase at R Sustainable Fashion Show via Mia Sharp