Stitch it, don’t ditch it for Sustainable Fashion Week
‘We’re not saying don’t buy it, we’re saying enter into a contract with it, take care of your clothes,’ says Suzi Warren founder of Street Stitching, a movement encouraging shoppers to repair garments rather than constantly replacing them, ‘We’re showing an alternative. You get a bigger dopamine hit by fixing something and loving it back to life.’
Inspired by a radio interview with fashion revolutionary Orsola de Castro; 55-year-old Warren came up with the idea of Street Stitching (taking a seat outside a major high street store and quietly repairing your clothes). ‘ It was triggered by something Orsola said, to the effect that fast fashion items are often dismissed as cheap tat by those opposed to disposable consumption. And that this exacerbated their reputation for being badly made, not worth saving and designed to be discarded. Whereas in fact, many cheap items are perfectly well made and could remain useful and out of landfill for far longer if they were taken care of and repaired.’
With the mantra (hashtag), ‘stitch it, don’t ditch it,’ Warren started the movement on her own outside Primark on Oxford Street. ‘I didn’t really know what to expect but similar to an artist with an easel, people were interested in what I was doing, they came up and started talking about their own clothes. It was a calm, lovely vibe.’ Now an organised movement with craftivism events all over the world – including 5th Avenue in New York, Mexico City and throughout Europe and Australia – Street Stitchers share information and free resources on refashioning and repairing with the public via a QR code, ‘It’s nice to give people a way to begin,’ continues Warren, ‘As one of the Street Stitchers, Mandy Meaden says, ” It’s not a protest, it’s an encouragement.”‘
The ‘stitch it don’t ditch it’ approach takes visible mending to a whole new level – while also making the point to retailers themselves, to consider having repair stations inside their stores. A matter championed by Orsola de Castro in her book Loved Clothes Last.
Suzi Warren is holding a Street Stitching session during Sustainable Fashion Week in Bromley on Tuesday 14 September at 12.30pm. For further information please contact Suzi on Instagram @twistedtwee or via email at [email protected] And you can find information on other groups around the world HERE.
More on Craftivism and using creative energy to make a difference, HERE.