Craft of Use on BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour


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Follow the link below to listen here to my interview about the Craft of Use and long lasting garments with Jenni Murray for Woman’s Hour on BBC Radio 4, broadcast on 21st April 2014. The conversation included Melanie Rickey, one of the founding editors of Grazia Magazine and chair of a recent discussion on fashion and sustainability at the 2014 Women of the World Festival on London’s South Bank.

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Photography by Agnes Lloyd Platt for Local Wisdom, 2014.

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Fashion Revolution Day 2014

Today is the first anniversary of the Rana Plaza clothing factory collapse in Bangladesh were more than 1100 people died, over twice that number were injured and around 800 children orphaned; tied into a global system based on production of cheap clothes that are ‘consumed’ in high volumes in the West (see an earlier post here). It is both a day for reflection and action. For reflection on the relationship fashion has with its supply chain, with citizens, with the environments in which resources are cultivated and utilised. And for action, for to wear clothes is to realise the agency inherent in getting dressed each day, the political power, the potential to act in ways other than that which the dominant system assumes we will. And so on 24th April, on Fashion Revolution Day, garments are being worn inside out, to reveal the label, the seams, the stitching and labour ‘hidden’ in the garment, and to put pressure on the brands who sell us these clothes to be transparent about their supply chain. The hope is that such openness leads to improvement (see related post on transparency here). That the attention that full disclosure brings, creates a flow of positive energy for change. Only then perhaps we can begin to honour the memory of those who lost their lives in the Rana Plaza complex and the numerous other workplace tragedies that have taken place in recent years.

Numerous resources are available online for more information about Rana Plaza and Fashion Revolution Day, including the Shirt on Your Back interactive documentary from the Guardian.

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Craft of Use Event: ‘creativity and concern’

The day-long Craft of Use event at London College of Fashion marking the culmination of the latest phase of research on the Local Wisdom project, passed by in a whirlwind of performance theatre, presentations, interactive workshops, sound installation, discussion and poetry by the remarkable Sabrina Mahfouz written for and on the day. The writer and design thinker John Thackara commented about the event that, “It felt as if a huge, immobile mass (the inevitability of growth and destruction) was creaking and cracking as if ready to fall away…”. And for Avner Offer, Chichele Professor Emeritus of Economic History at University of Oxford, it was “deeply satisfying… to be immersed in so much joy. Beyond expectations: an oasis of creativity and concern.”

A summary of the day will be available soon. And the Craft of Use book will be published by Routledge in 2015.

All images by Ana Escobar.

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Craft of Use Event… easing in

We are  almost set and already raring to go for the Local Wisdom project’s ‘Craft of Use‘ Event at London College of Fashion on 26th March.

Stellar line-up of speakers and performers including Jonathan Porritt, Avner Offer, Zakee ShariffSabrina Mahfouz and Dilys Williams. Also featuring sound installation, performance art and a wealth interactive workshops all designed to explore use of fashion rather than its ownership. Or to put it another way, to celebrate fashion as a process and not just a product. Follow our progress on facebook, twitter and of course on the Local Wisdom website.

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Fashion and Sustainability at Women of the World Festival

London’s wonderful Women of the World Festival is putting on a fashion a sustainability panel on Sunday 9th March at 1pm. Come and take part in the ‘Louboutins and Landfill: How to be a Sustainable Fashionista‘ discussion chaired by Melanie Rickey, one of the founding editors of Grazia magazine and featuring Jacqueline Shaw, Abigail Chisman, Carry Somers and myself. WOW runs from 5-9 March at the South Bank Centre.

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Second Edition out now!

It’s been six electric years since the Sustainable Fashion and Textiles: Design Journeys was first published and to mark this anniversary Earthscan from Routledge has released a fully updated Second Edition with new content. I continue to be humbled and grateful that the book has found such resonance with so many of you working and thinking and transforming sustainability ideas in the context of fashion and textiles and by the knowledge that the book is in use in commercial design studios and the key text in seminar rooms around the world. [Read More]

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What I’m working on at the moment…

The next few months look set to be varied and dynamic… I’m currently working on an edited book for the prestigious Routledge Handbook Series (thank you to all the fabulous contributors)the Local Wisdom project exploring the ‘Craft of Use‘ is deep in its synthesis phase; I’m figuring out a whole new direction to my work that has evolved after the sailing trip to the Western Isles, thinking about the natural history of garments; and I’ve been reading really eclectically… currently “Arctic Dreams” by Barry Lopez…

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