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Sew Fabulous! A 2-Day Slow Fashion Event in Brighton’s Open Market

This weekend Sew Fabulous hosted a two day fashion event focused on the three Rsof sustainability – reducing consumption, reusing preloved items, and recycling where possible. Established in 2014, Sew Fabulous Community Interest is a not-for-profit organisation. The event, located at Brightons popular Open Market, drew in visitors of varying ages and genders, restoring my faith in the future of a greener planet and people’s interest in the circular economy.

Upon arrival, I was greeted by various stalls showcasing multiple elements relating to garment consumption. From turning fishing line into sustainably sourced swimwear, to understanding the chain of how clothes banks operate, there was a shared focus on impact on the planet, and finding new uses for materials already in existence.

Photograph by Simon Mitchell

In the UK alone, 35000 tons of textiles get sent to landfill every year. The fashion industry is the second biggest polluter of clean water, and it’s the poorest parts of our communities that feel the biggest impacts. But Sew Fabulous has an eye to overhaul this. Their mission is to inspire the local community to turn the tide on fast, disposable fashion.

One of the weekends main attractions was a clothes swap, organised by the Sew Fabulous team. The idea was unique, and one I believe will grow in popularity over the next decade as people become more aware and eco-conscious. The theme of the swap was party attire, of which Im sure we all have plenty of at home collecting dust. The idea – you bring something you wish to donate in order to take something else away. The best part? There is no money involved. What’s so great about rummaging through a rail like this, is that you know an item you take away will be unique to you. You also get the added sense that youre giving that item a whole new lease of life.

Later into the day, I attended the mend your clothesclass. The necessity placed upon fixing and mending your clothes has been lost over the last 100 years, within the culture of fast fashion and convenience. However, it was encouraging to see people really engage with the art of sewing and mending. The workshop taught me how to use a sewing machine (very slowly I must admit). The events contributors and organisers were extremely knowledgeable; it was clear that as well as this being a hobby, they really value being able to mend items. I left feeling inspired to mend a few of my own clothes – to finally alter that hem and add that zip! 

Photograph by Simon Mitchell

Susie Deadman, Executive Director and tutor at Sew Fabulous added:

We are committed to sustainability, and we know it can be difficult for people who don’t have the resources or skills to feel as though they can make a difference. The event is designed to empower people and give them the skills, knowledge and confidence to move away from fast fashion.”

After 18 months of solely online workshops, it was great to be able to attend an event in real life and gain knowledge and understanding about the best practices for reusing clothes that would otherwise be sent to landfill. It’s clear the team behind Sew Fabulous are making moves, and the event’s success will be shown through the knowledge and passion they left visitors walking away with.

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