‘The most sustainable garment is the one you already own’. It is the one you care for, mending, altering and cleaning as needed. As it turns out, mending clothing extends the life of the item on average 1.3 years, greatly reducing the need to consume more clothes.

It is estimated that the fashion industry is responsible for 2 to 8 percent of global CO2 emissions – greater than all international flights, maritime and shipping combined. Water consumption is around 215 trillion litres of water to create new clothing every year. Approximately 100 billion new garments are produced globally (there are only 8 billion people on the planet), and every year we produce 92 million tonnes of textile waste.

As a part of our commitment to sustainability, Sewing Cafe Lancaster hosts regular mending sessions around Lancaster, to encourage the proper care of the clothes we already own. You don’t have to have the tools, materials or skills, just drop in with the clothing you need to mend and volunteers will provide direction and support as you bring new life to your clothing. Whether you need to replace a missing button, darn a hole in your socks, patch your jeans, or add flare to a much loved item, mending is a great way to extend the life of items.

Whether we care about designer brands, the newest trends or vintage scores, finding fulfilment in extending the life of our clothes needs to be front and centre to our approach to sustainability. Honouring individual style and identity through clothing – from plain white tees and classic jeans to handmade, patched and mismatched – is important. But we need to consider the socio-environmental impact of the life cycle of the garments from production, purchase, and care, to eventual discard.

To celebrate our individuality and clothing that tells stories, Sewing Cafe Lancaster is creating a photographic archive called ‘The Craft of Use’. We are working with local artist Ginny Koppenhol for this project to capture portraits of beloved clothing.

The Craft of Use is based on Kate Fletcher’s work, which has been published in a book by the same name. We will welcome Kate to Lancaster this May as a keynote speaker for the Fashion Revolution Week event where the portraits taken by Ginny will be on display. This project won’t be possible without YOU – so please join the following events, wear your most cherished or most mended clothing and share your history:

Join Lancaster Sewing Cafe at Lancaster’s Spring Market on Friday 15 March for a Mending Drop-In (10am – 5pm) and a Craft of Use Photoshoot (12pm – 2pm).
And save the date for Fashion Revolution Week 2-4 May at the Storey Gallery.

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