Union StUnion St

By Matt

Shopping for clothes can be a bit of a nightmare. The thought of claustrophobic changing rooms, judgemental staff and flash sales can send a shiver down the spine. The scary thing is, we see the best side of the fashion industry, on the other side there are horrific sweatshops, toxic cotton farms and environmental destruction.

Common Thread has decided to subvert both the terror induced by shopping and the devastation created by the wider fashion industry with a simple solution: swap your unwanted clothes for nearly new clothes with the rest of Sheffield in a welcoming environment.

The organisation’s aim is to do slow fashion in style. “Slow fashion is the antithesis of fast fashion” founder Jess Dawson explains. “The fast fashion industry churns out 52 fictional ‘micro-seasons’ of poor quality garments that copy designs to fit the body shape of a minority of the population who will only wear them for a few minutes on the catwalk. At Common Thread we learn to revamp and repurpose the items we love. We capass on the items we don’t wear to someone who will. We can tell them the story of where they came from and hope that person will love them too.”

The thought of buying second hand clothes can turn some people off, but Common Thread only accepts good quality garments and even has a fixing station for those that need a bit of TLC. Jess notes: “The ethos of repairing has always been at the heart of Common Thread; we aim to reduce, reuse, repair, repurpose and recycle. Having a repair station is an opportunity for folk to learn skills they can take away and apply at home.”

When it comes down to it, Jess loves fashion as much as the next person, she just believes the clothes can be procured in a more ethical way. “Our clothes should keep us warm, protect our bodies and reflect our personalities. They should be well made, durable and repairable. They should fit right and we should feel comfortable and confident wearing them.”

Common Thread Winter Clothing Exchange is Saturday 9 December, 12:00-4:00pm at Union St. Bring a bag of clean clothes to swap or loved clothes that need repairing. £3 entry. From January, clothing exchanges will run once a month.

About Matt
Matt co-ordinates Union St and Champions Enterprise Nation in Sheffield. For feedback, questions or suggestions please email matt@union-st.org
Swapping not Shopping