Make do and mend

Jenny Holloway stood in a room full of workstations with sewing machines

The FC Designer Collective on Fonthill Road, run by Fashion Enter, is a space for designers and start-ups to sell their wares and make use of sewing and production machines. They host regular events for people to come and learn how to sew, repair and make their own clothes. Now, Fashion Enter is joining the council and other local organisations in a week dedicated to getting people making and mending: Repair Week. We caught up with CEO Jenny Holloway to learn more

The everyday items we buy all have an impact on the planet. It takes 2,500–2,700 litres of water (three years’ worth of drinking water!) to produce just one t-shirt – which is why repairing and upcycling our clothes is such a great way to not only save money, but minimise our environmental footprint.

Sound good, but not sure where to start? Come along to a Repair Week event, happening 20–26 March. Hear from businesses that are focussed on repairing and upcycling, leading the charge in the move away from today’s single-use culture. “We offer support for Islington residents and businesses to create fashion in a responsible, circular system,” says Jenny Holloway, CEO of Fashion Enter – one of several local businesses that will be putting on events as part of the week. “This could be tools and resources, workshops and training, or access to specialist equipment and skilled practitioners, much of it for free,” she continues. “Fashion is the world’s second dirtiest polluter, not to mention the human rights abuses. We’re determined to do things differently.”

If you’ve ever found yourself buying a piece of clothing only to wear it a few times and get bored, learning some easy ways to upcycle could help transform your wardrobe – and save you money.

“Young people are realising that buying fashion today doesn’t have to be like this. They are more discerning about their purchases, buying good quality items that last and upcycling rather than buying new – making do. It’s empowering!”

Our clothes are surprisingly resilient, says Jenny – they can be refashioned, adapted, and mended time after time. “Each garment we buy should be worn at least 30 times. This doesn’t happen with fast fashion. Sometimes items are discarded after being worn once – or sometimes not at all!”

As part of Repair Week, Fashion Enter is running a workshop on repairing and re-fashioning clothes, to encourage people to learn new skills and get creative. “Come along and learn how easy it can be to repurpose an old pair of jeans into shorts, a skirt or a bag, for example,” says Jenny. “Or, we can help you fix the zip on a beloved dress, maybe add fabrics, create a longer hemline, or follow the pattern to create a similar piece. The possibilities are endless, and we can support you to explore your ideas.”

Repairing clothes isn’t the only thing you can do during Repair Week: experts will be on hand to help repair or upcycle laptops and electrical gadgets, furniture and wooden household items, as well as bikes. So come along, and join the re-use revolution.

To find out more about Repair Week, visit the IslingtonLife website. Make sure you share pics of your handiwork! Follow us @IslingtonLife on Instagram and Twitter and use #IslingtonRepairWeek – you could be in with a chance of winning a £50 voucher for zero waste shop Kilo!

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