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Fast Fashion-Free February 2024 - How can you get involved?


Fast fashion factory with piles of clothes

Fast Fashion-Free February (FFFF) started at Highgate School in 2019, with the aim of raising awareness about the damaging effects of fast fashion. Fast fashion refers to low quality, cheap, mass produced clothing, catering to the latest trends and made with little regard to the environment. Fast fashion has been deemed the fastest growing category of waste.


It is estimated that 80 billion items of clothing are made per year and that more than 300,000 tonnes of this end up in the UK’s landfills. This is problematic as mass-produced clothing is often made from polyester, which is non-biodegradable. Polyester is also energy intensive to make, meaning it has a high carbon production.


The majority of fast fashion is manufactured in China, where electricity still comes mostly from coal, and this means major carbon expenditure. Other environmental impacts include the release of micro-plastics, released when fast fashion is washed. The particles end up in oceans, poison the animals living there.


There are ways we can all help reduce this damage. Companies like Rent the Runway hire out clothes preventing the frequent need to purchase new items. Brands like Community Clothing who promote the purchase of quality clothing so that it lasts without needing frequent replacing. Ways to get green about these issues are, as ever, reducing your purchasing of fast fashion; re-using, and mending old clothes; and recycling, upcycling, or donating items you no longer want to wear.


The history of Fast Fashion-Free February

Now in its fifth year, Highgate’s pupil-led eco initiative Fast Fashion-Free February is going national!


Initiated five years ago with a School swap-shop event, Highgate’s Fast Fashion-Free February campaign has proved to be a popular event in the School calendar, growing year on year. The UK Schools Sustainability Network has embraced the initiative and is encouraging student ambassadors from other London schools and around the country to go Fast Fashion-Free this month.


Ms Chapman, Highgate Biology Teacher and Chair of the London Eco Schools Network, concludes: “Consuming less – be it fuel, animal products, electronics or textiles – is a great way to instantly reduce our impact on the planet. It’s fantastic that LSEN schools across the capital are embracing Highgate’s FFFF campaign and encouraging their communities to be mindful when it comes to clothing.”


Why is this relevant to us?

At Clothing Collective, we are on a mission to make a positive impact on our community through the power of clothing. Our unique approach involves providing Charity Shop gift vouchers, distributed through our carefully chosen Charity Partners who ensure the vouchers reach to individuals in need. These vouchers empower recipients to choose clothing that suits them from participating charity shops. Helping to reduce the amount of clothing going into land fill and supporting the local community.


Children going without proper clothing is something we might be more likely to associate with developing countries, however it is a reality for a growing number of children in the UK– more than 30% of who live below the poverty line. With the stigma around clothing negatively impacting children’s education, social lives and mental health, it makes it more important than ever to consider donating clothing or funds to help to end clothing poverty in our back yard.


Annabel Bennett a Trustee of Clothing Collective said: “It’s brilliant to see young people coming up with innovative ways to protect our planet, support circular fashion and raise awareness of clothing poverty. Shopping in Charity Shops is very fashionable and there are so many good quality bargains to be found.


"We are delighted to be able to provide clothing vouchers to people in crisis, giving the opportunity to go to a charity shop and choose clothes that suit them. It gives a little bit of dignity and hope in difficult times, helping them in some small way to get back on their feet.


Triple Impact: People, Planet, and Community 

Every donation has a threefold impact - providing clothing to those in need, generating funds for our local partner charities, and supporting circular fashion to reduce waste. It's a win-win situation. 

 

Our Impact So Far

Since we started in June 2018, we've proudly handed out 4333 vouchers, supporting 2141 people in need. This achievement is a testament to the support we've received from our generous donors, partnering organisations, and charity shops.   

 

Ways to Help 

Clothing Collective could be a great fit for your school or organisation, providing a framework to host activities highlighting clothing poverty, sustainable fashion and giving back.


If you are a school preparing for a clothes swap or a family having a sort out at home this month and have any unwanted clothing that needs a new home, you can donate clothing HERE, your unwanted clothing will be collected from your door at a time to suit you. If you would like to make a donation to enable us to buy clothing vouchers you can do it HERE.


If you would like to chat to us about your Fast Fashion-Free February or just want to find out more about our work. Email us: info@clothingcollective.org


Thank you for your support and good luck with any FFFF events!



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