Fast fashion, if you haven’t heard of the phrase already, is buying clothing throughout the year to keep on trend – grabbing the latest stripe or check that’s in season then and there then throwing it away.
But in this period of change when it comes to the climate change conversation, there’s more we can do to stop clothing being churned out in factories hour after hour, day after day. There is a way we can stay as cool as we like with the same old wardrobe.
There’s now a community of bloggers, designers and artists painting, sewing or creatively adding any kind of pizzazz they can to their own old garments. This is part of an effort to reduce temptation into indulgent shopping sprees.
So, is fast fashion finally giving way to sustainable clothing? We spoke to Caroline Maggs – whose fabric-painted clothing line is making those around her change their views on hoarding clothes – to find out.
What do you do with the clothes you receive?
The idea that I and my friend Megan Gardner had was to have the line as a sustainable clothing line. The clothes that we work on are mainly ones from charity shops or ones that people have given us or mostly it’s stuff we’ve already got ourselves that we’ve wanted to fabric paint because we love fabric painting. We think of a design as to what would work best with the fabric. We are quite inspired by nature and the things around us and we want to be environmentally-friendly so a lot of the designs are environmentally-inspired.
Have you always painted?
Yes, I pretty much was born with a paintbrush in my hand. My mum remembers me two years old wielding a paintbrush with my grandpa carrying in the corner. It’s a part of who I am and art has always been a part of my life and who I am and how I express myself. I couldn’t imagine not doing it, its such a great thing to do, everybody paint!
Why are you doing this now?
I made about 10 pieces of clothing that I already had – just things that I’d done myself and I was wearing regularly. And then I made my boyfriend some dungarees with coral (pictured) on them and both us were wearing them out and about and people were like ‘wow, are those for sale?’ People were asking where they could buy them from and I’d never thought of selling them because it’s just something I could do for myself.
Also, so many people I know said ‘I like that top you painted’ but they never want to do it themselves, so we’re trying to get people to think about how they could reuse their clothing inspire people and give them ideas for how they could do their own stuff. A lot of it is stuff we’ve done that we’re not selling – we’re just throwing the creativity out there and see what people do with it.
What is the connection with fast fashion?
Fast fashion is the industry we have of constant turnover and constant change in fashion. One minute it will be like ‘you’ve got to get this blue bag,’ then it’s like ‘oh everyone hates blue, buy this pink bag!’ It’s this idea of consumerism and capitalism, just constantly wanting more.
And it’s the same with fashion. We’re just trying to be good for the environment and get people to re-use stuff that they have. It’s more individual if you paint things that you have, and if you buy stuff from charity shops you’re donating to a charity so it’s good all round.
Both Megan and I are biology students, so we’ve done a lot to do with conservation. We’re very aware of the environment, but I love fashion and I can’t not wear cool clothes, so it’s a way of being environmentally friendly while wearing cool clothing or funky clothing that we think is cool.
What’s the response been like so far?
Great. We’ve already sold two tops and we started it a week and a half ago! We are selling things and we’ve got a lot of feedback so it’s been overwhelming feedback. It was such a personal thing for so long and now its out in the open and everyone is so positive and loved it and so on board with sustainability. That’s all we want, to spread the love!
Check out Caroline and Megan’s designs at cara.meg on Instagram.