Ethical Fashion is spreading all over the world! There are pockets of people doing exciting things all over the place and we want to put a spotlight on these creative hubs. First up is: Bristol! The bustling city down South that’s a hotbed of creativity and artistic things. If rebellious and forward thinking, eccentric but chilled is your vibe, then Bristol is the place for you.
Who better to give us the grand tour than Anna-May Richards, a local writer and ethical clothes trader. Anna-May designs and makes sustainable clothes under the label “Mabbett” and sells these along with second-hand and vintage pieces at market stalls under the name Confused Gherkin. She’s part of the movement to make ethical fashion mainstream. Check her website at sonderclothes.org.
Take it away, Anna-May!
So, if you’re in or near Bristol, growing your wardrobe and finding fabrics ethically is right on your doorstep and here’s how we do it.
Go To A Clothes Swap
Follow the unconventional path to wearing new clobber. Pop in to one of Bristol’s clothes swaps and take an old jumper that hasn’t seen the light of day in years or take that dress you bought last month but it’s been on Instagram twice now and swap it for an entirely new outfit!
Easton Energy puts on regular meet-ups at their eco-house, Labour Behind The Label organises swaps, Gwapamoley and Lady Gonzalez are having Costume Den with a clothes swap rail at it’s Halloween sale. Or why not arrange a Clothes Swap Party for you, friends and acquaintances? These come with the added bonus of social time (and perhaps some wine!).
Check Out Eco Designers
One of my favourite labels in Bristol is Fix Up Look Sharp. Not only does it reference a great track, it also takes old neglected clothes, makes them fabulous then donates the profits to childrens’ cancer charity Clic Sargent. (We love Fix up Look Sharp here at Offset Warehouse, check out this blog post they did for us a few months ago: An Amazing Way To Upcycle Two Old Shirts!)
Over Here has a stall in St Nicholas Market. Many of their clothes are organic or made of bamboo. All are designed and printed in Bristol. The designs on their tees and sweaters are fresh, playful and sophisticated.
Designer Christina Melo creates beautiful patterns from eco fabric that’s hand printed. Inspired by Bristol’s architecture, her patterns manage to be both timeless and complementary to the current trend for pastel shades and 70’s chic.
You can even find eco-jewelry, made from old bike tyres in Roll for the Soul.
Go To An Upcycling Workshop Or Event
Bristol Textile Recyclers hold regular ‘Fashion Salvages’. They bring heaps of donated and rescued clothes, stock up on wine and set up a haberdashery where you can bring back to life anything you find!
Even Marks & Spencer’s has got in on the upcycling act, holding free Shwop & Sew events in their Bristol branch, where you can turn up with clothes from home or pick something out from a selection and one of the experts will help adjust some seams
Check out Kecks Clothing for all things upcycled. They host free workshops, talks and trade on a completely handmade, upcycled ethos!
Shop Vintage and Charity
Bristol is jam-packed with charity and vintage shops. A personal favourite is the Cats Protection one in Easton and, of course, Gloucester Road with its stretch of independent shops. For handpicked, bespoke vintage pieces, I’d head to Eovu, who can also be found at pop up events and sometimes at The Island.
This is only a snapshot of all the beautiful ethical fashion and fabrics being traded in Bristol. So it makes sense for there to be an event that showcases it. Luckily, Love the Future has got that sorted. November 11th in Colston Hall, Love the Future of Fashion will take place following an inspiring series from TedTalks.
In Bristol, there’s not only plenty of opportunity to learn and discuss a sustainable future for fabrics but there’s also a demand for action to make this future a reality, which brings a whole bunch of people spreading the ethical love!