Fashion Revolution: Start Somewhere

To mark the launch of Fashion Revolution’s second bi-annual fanzine ‘Loved Clothes Last’ which is all about how to love your clothes for longer, I want to share a little customising I carried out on an old sweatshirt.

Back in April the Fashion Revolution team sent me some of their iron-on / sew-on patches made from 90% recycled yarns. Whilst I was searching for the perfect garment to patch, I also happened to be on the lookout for a sweatshirt. I have a fair few knits but needed something cotton to keep me cosy on milder days. 

Fashion Revolution recycled yarn patches made by Avery Dennison RBIS

I bought a black floral print Bershka slogan sweatshirt from The SOFA Project on Old Market in Bristol for around £4. I’m fairly sceptical about slogan tops – so often their messages are meaningless or their bold claims of support for empowerment and equality are found to be disappointingly empty when the garment’s origins are uncovered. And don’t even get me started on the toxic plague of gender un-neutral girl’s and boy’s slogan ‘tees’.

The Fashion Revolution patches gave me the perfect opportunity to make something a little more meaningful out of this sweatshirt. I like the print, and the fact that the font is almost identical to Fashion Revolution’s logo is almost too good to be true. As slogan tops go, ‘Start Somewhere’ isn’t a bad message, in fact, it’s a pretty good one for me when I sit down at my desk to start work having just dropped my son at nursery, put the laundry on, tidied the kitchen, put out the recycling and am finding it really hard to focus. Remembering to ‘start somewhere’ can be a useful mantra when you are feeling overwhelmed and don’t know what you need to do, or indeed where you need to start.

Start Somewhere sweatshirt before being customised with Fashion Revoltuion's recycled yarn patches.

This is also true of our approach to being more conscious of our fashion choices and indeed our efforts to live more sustainably in general. Some people feel responsible for trying to fix everything and the burden of climate change, waste and environmental damage weighs down heavily which can be can be almost crippling to them. Others might think, ‘well, why should I bother' or 'I can’t change anything on my own’. Well, I for one can change this sweatshirt on my own and maybe by doing so I'll get a few people thinking. I just need to figure out where to sew on these patches…

Start Somewhere sweatshirt after sewing on recycled yarn Fashion Revolution patches

I played with patch placement a bit. ‘Start Somewhere’ was off-centre so the Fashion Revolution patch didn’t work in the middle above or below the slogan. I wanted the ‘Be Curious’, ‘Find Out’, ‘Do Something’ patches to be visible from the front but placing them on my chest wasn't right - that felt almost like an invitation for people to come up too close and ‘read’ my chest, so my upper arm was the perfect place for them. Once I was happy I ironed on the patches (with an old cloth over the top to prevent any glue getting on the iron) and then hand-stitched them round the edge so they last for longer. 

Start Somewhere sweatshirt after sewing on recycled yarn Fashion Revolution patches

A significant factor in Fashion Revolution’s success is that, as its core, it empowers us as citizens. It doesn’t judge us for buying clothes from the high street; it educates us about transparency and inspires us to ask questions about provenance. It doesn’t tell us what we’re doing wrong; it holds our hand, and gently yet assertively suggests we ‘be curious’, emboldens us to ‘find out’ and gives us a good kick up the denim-clad butt to ‘do something’. We can start somewhere, whether that's sewing on a patch and talking to our friends, Tweeting or writing a latter to our favourite brands, or reading Fashion Revolution's Transparency Index and getting more deeply involved. And with millions of us now along for the ride, not one of us is on our own in this anymore. Come and join the Fashion Revolution. Start Somewhere.

Fashion Revolution second fanzine Loved Clothes Last

I'm happy to have contributed to Loved Clothes Last - more about that in the next week or two.

To order your copy of the Loved Clothes Last zine for £15 + (p&p) visit the website:

You can find out more about the Fashion Revolution patches made by Avery Dennison RBIS here:

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Founder and Director of The Good Wardrobe. Lover of charity shops and mending stuff. New to Bristol. Follow on Twitter

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