The sustainable fashion hub supporting the community’s mental health
- Preventing loneliness and isolation
Fast fashion and its impact have been making headlines over the last few years, and not for the right reasons. In 2011, six Mancunian women agreed that they wanted to do something to combat the way the fashion industry affects its workers, shoppers and the planet. So they started Stitched Up (which refers to the way they feel about the fashion industry), a community business that supports people to make and mend their own garments.
“Our whole approach to tackling [the fashion industry’s] issues is community based,” co-founder Bryony Moore. “So Sitched Up is all about upskilling people, bringing people together to learn and share skills, and encouraging people to take some small action, and hopefully from there, that ripples out from our local community. We see community cohesion, wellbeing, the environment and social sustainability as being completely intertwined.”
In 2014, they opened their sustainable clothing hub in Chorlton, a south Manchester suburb. They take donations of textiles, which prevents them going to landfill, and reuse them in workshops to upskill local people to sew, mend and even make their own clothes. They also host clothes swaps, and events to raise awareness of the fashion industry’s current practices, and the alternative they promote.
Revolutionising the fashion industry has been Stitched Up’s main aim. But they’ve also ended up supporting local people’s mental health including people who are homeless, sex workers and refugees. With support from Power to Change, they started hosting BeeWell Crafternoons, a participant-led course that focuses on creativity and resourcefulness with textiles.
“I think that sewing and crafting, when your mental health isn’t great, is not only escapism, it’s also building that confidence because you’re using your hands and demonstrating your own worth to yourself in such a small personal way.” observes Stitched Up employee Caitlin Aitken.