Living Smarties Sustainable Clothing Session

Join us in a mass pledge to recycle refashion and upcycle your clothes!

Twenty plus Living Smarties had a hoot Wednesday night at the Sustainable Clothing session presented by Lesley Thomas and Kerri Barrie. There was a lively trade in clothes and fabrics to swap and lots of discussion about what we could do to take our passion for sustainability into the change room and laundry with us (and still look gorgeous!).

 Kerri spoke about her lifelong passion for reusing fabrics – including felt hats and boots from old jumpers and using doilies, tablecloths and curtains to create beautiful and unique clothes. Kerri and her friend Melanie have started up a business devoted to this and supporting fair trade and local designers and makers: check out Red Feathers and a Hula Skirt at 360 Marmion St Melville.

Genevieve (Gen) also wore a beautiful dress that had been created from several other clothes and showed how she had turned one dress into a dress, apron and and a skirt! Great example and role model, Gen!

So, about a dozen people pledged to recycle, renovate and refashion their clothing choices for 2, 4, 6 or 12 months. Check out the Wardrobe Refashion Pledge website for details. We’d love to do a mass pledge of 20 or more people for at least 2 months. The rules are: No Buying New (exceptions: undies, specialist wear and hand made clothes) One ‘Get out of Jail Free’ card per 2 months post to blog regularly and report on progress Be honest – fess up to slips We’ll have a ‘show and tell’ event in a couple of months to show off what we’ve done.

Kerri and Lesley are hoping to get a few Living Smarties together to share a refashioning course so we can learn together and have a good laugh as we fulfil our pledges.

Information from the Night

Lesley shared some of her research into sustainability as it applies to fabrics and manufacturing, as well as some hot tips on what to look for and where to look for recycled and vintage clothes. For those people who wanted some of the websites Lesley referenced in her talk, please see below.

Comparisons of sustainable fibre choices through ‘Made By’ Brands Fibre benchmarking.

Environmental Benchmark Fibers (PDF)

Made By rated recycled fibres, and organic hemp and linen in the highest rating (class A), with organic cotton as class B. Conventional hemp and linen and PLA (a type of polyester made from plant fibres rather than petroleum were ranked in class C. Most synthetics, non-organic cotton and wool were rated lowest of the 20 fibres. (photo: Carol Hanlon: London College of Fashion) Some manufacturers are taking up the sustainability challenge.

Made By Brands and Icebreaker both have developed track and trace systems for supply chain transparency.

Goodone recut clothing from recycled clothes (as does a a small business in the East Freo area (could the Living Smartie who had these details please contact Lesley?). Goodone have a great video on their website that shows this in action.

Two companies that are taking a more holistic approach to sustainability include: Aussie company Fully Stoked – ( UK’s Continental Clothing’s Earth Positive – (www.continental

Refinity’s amazing felt clothing

On the vintage and recycling front, tips for buying include: go for quality – style, materials, construction, classics… …Or cheap and cheerful Check zips work Check for stains, damage (vintage usually shows some wear) Undone hems and seams are easy to fix Can shorten/take in if needed

Buying recycled or refashioning clothes : Reduces the impacts of fabric and manufacture Lower exposure to finishing chemicals and excess dye Most are recycled locally, reducing transport footprint Pleasure of finding a unique piece Extends the life of beautiful, well made clothes and shoes