The brains behind creative hub Stitched Up describe themselves as “a one stop shop for sustainable fashion, fabrics and networking”. While their Manchester (UK)-based HQ is where their sewing, fashion and craft workshops converge, they try to encapsulate much more by incorporating their sewing café, ethical fashion and home wares shop and haberdashery. Since opening back in 2011 the team has expanded their cool workshop hub to offer clothing repairs, sewing machine servicing and educational events as well. In the following Q+A with Ecouterre Stitched Up discussed their feelings towards the future for grassroots organisations in fashion.
How did Stitched Up all begin?
When the original 6 founders got together it was through our shared passion for thinking differently about fashion, clothing and style – we have Twitter to thank for hooking us up in the main! But two of us were also long term friends and we met Kelly through a sustainability project ran in Manchester.
What were your motivations behind the concept?
Our motivations are best described in our mission statement, this is what we work towards and consider in all aspects of our work:
We love our planet and believe we should treat it with respect.
We support garment workers worldwide in their quest for fair wages.
We inspire a more creative, sustainable and individual approach to clothing.
We prove that sustainable clothing is for everyone, without compromising on style.
We are passionate about recycling, upcycling, reuse and reducing waste.
We are a community that has fun sharing new skills and ideas, and we want you to join in!
In the context of the fashion industry, what role do grass roots movements play?
There are loads of grassroots organisations doing great work in improving things in the fashion industry, from labour rights groups and cotton farmers affinity organisations working to improve conditions on the ground, to companies making headway in developing new sustainable fabrics & manufacturing processes. We do our bit by raising awareness among consumers in Manchester and beyond. We all have a role to play, and by working together and combining our efforts our goals feel absolutely possible and easier to achieve. Margaret Meads’ quote below about sums it up: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
What kind of responses and reactions have you had from participants in the workshops?
We have had really positive reactions, people have a great sense of satisfaction from making something themselves from scratch and feel inspired to continue making with more confidence.
Do you have any future developments in the pipeline for Stitched Up?
Well we can’t give away too many surprises but we have just been awarded funding to be able to offer reduced price clothes fixing workshops (Fix it Friday) for people receiving benefits and we are working on our educational resources for schools involving curriculum aligned, practical, making skills while learning about sustainability. Look out over the next few months for our clothes and fashion-focussed workshops at www.stitchedup.coop.