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Local wisdom, ethical fashion: The Good Wardrobe Bristol directory launched

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Zoe Robinson is the founder of The Good Wardrobe, the free online style-sharing community hub for ‘conscious’ fashion. The Good Wardrobe was one of 16 projects supported by our 2017 Better Bristol match-funding campaign, which gave local organisations the opportunity to raise funds for their environmental sustainability projects through a combination of crowdfunding and match-funding. This blog coincides with the launch of the new ‘Bristol’ directory.

My husband took this snap when I realised I was kitted out almost entirely in Bristol conscious fashion finds. It seems a fitting photo to use for this blog about the launch of The Good Wardrobe Bristol, a directory of local conscious fashion shops and services that are all helping to promote a more mindful approach to fashion.

The coat in the photo is Karen Millen but I bagged it at a Kecks Clothing‘ Revamp, Restyle, Reuse’ sale during Fashion Revolution Week last year at Bristol Energy. Clothes on sale at the event had been sourced from Bristol Textile Recyclers and Emmaus and were sold by the bag. My coat is in perfect condition aside from a loose hook and eye. It cost me less than £5 which is crazy considering it was probably between £200-£300 new. I found this grey striped merino wool Gap cardigan at another Kecks Clothing sale at Emmaus Stokes Croft. There are a couple of tiny holes in the sleeve ripe for darning. Other than that it was in perfect nick.

Helen Brown, local upcycling pro and founder of Kecks Clothing hand-picked preloved clothes and accessories that had either been sent for recycling or that had been overlooked by shoppers at Emmaus. Some of them could have ended up in landfill had they not been purchased at the sale, as Helen explains:

‘The pieces headed for landfill have gone through the shop cycle [at Emmaus] and have been seen to be damaged, or have not appealed to customers this time around. The rotation rate, with the infiltration of fast fashion, is so swift that there simply isn’t storage space to repair clothes or put them on rotation again. Emmaus works with ARB recycling who can’t take stained or damaged goods, and some materials, so the goods at the Revamp, Restyle, Reuse sale had been rejected by them’. 

I am sure both my jumper and coat ended up in the sales because they had tiny imperfections, discarded because the previous owners weren’t keen to repair them.

My navy White Stuff dress and the merino wool scarf (originally intended as a gift for someone but I loved it too much to give it away!) are from St Peter’s Hospice on Gloucester Road. My wear-with-anything boots are by Swedish brand Ten Points, bought from Oddsox shoe shop also on Gloucester Road.

There are so many amazing organisations in the city including independent designers, Repair Cafes, vintage boutiques, haberdashers, upcycling gurus and of course charity shops. And so, after a successful crowdfunding campaign last year, supported by Better Bristol, I have expanded the ‘long-life style’ directory on The Good Wardrobe to cover Bristol. The Good Wardrobe Bristol now includes hundreds of Bristol brands, makers, menders, shops and skill sharers that focus on style with a conscience. The directory is carefully curated – each listing must fit certain style and sustainability criteria – and I only include listings for businesses and services that I have used, would consider using or that I would recommend to friends.

There is more work and organising to be done to improve the directory and we’re going to add a map later in the year so that all of the Bristol listings can be viewed by area.

As well as featuring bricks and mortar conscious fashion shops I’ve also focused on local brands who retail online so if you want to support local producers, makers and independent conscious fashion brands then have a look at the directory of Bristol online retailers. When it comes to services, the directory features everything from sewing machine repairs and sewing classes to cobblers, alterations experts and environmentally aware garment cleaning services.

To find out more and discover where your local conscious fashion shops and services are, visit www.thegoodwardrobe.com/bristol.

A version of this blog was first published on The Good Wardrobe.

 

 

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