Chapter 5 Martin House Makers: Exploring Modes of Upcycling and Make within the Charity Retail Sector

In: Engaging with Fashion
Karen Dennis
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The current global fashion system is neither thrifty nor sustainable. With its reliance on inbuilt obsolescence it maintains itself by rendering products psychologically out of date before their physical degradation. As a result 14 million tonnes of discarded clothes and textiles are estimated to leave American wardrobes every year with 350,000 tonnes leaving UK households annually. The charity retail sector absorbs a vast amount of discarded products and as a product of material culture, second-hand clothing/clothes (shc) represent an interesting context from which to analyse practices of sustainable consumption. Their existence within present fashion systems highlight how such practices can contribute to responsible consumption and produce gains for the charitable sector. This paper discusses practice-led research that has sought to investigate the re-appropriation of waste materials into the charity retail sector and in particular the initiative Martin House Makers that was established to engage the community in modes of make. It frames its discussion and conclusions upon experiences gained as a result of immersion in a pop-up retail project and the development of a range of upcycled clothes and products to be sold at Martin House Charity shops throughout Yorkshire, North of England (UK).

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Engaging with Fashion

Perspectives on Communication, Education and Business

Series:  At the Interface / Probing the Boundaries, Volume: 112


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