The Stitch Society, a renowned workwear business based in Yorkshire, is poised to be a focal point of Sustainable Fashion Week 2023, set to run from 23 September to 8 October. Founded by Charlotte Meek, The Stitch Society has been at the forefront of championing sustainability in the textile sector, making it the natural choice to lead the program of events in the Yorkshire region for this year’s Sustainable Fashion Week.
A champion of sustainability
Meek, the visionary behind The Stitch Society, has been an active member of the Blue Patch platform, advocating for the transition to a more sustainable economy in the UK. Her commitment to sustainability resonates deeply with Sustainable Fashion Week’s mission, making The Stitch Society the sole representative from the manufacturing sector among the six Sustainable Fashion Week ‘hub’ firms nationwide.
Situated in a historic mill in Keighley, The Stitch Society collaborates with UK firms, utilising organic cotton fabric woven in Lancashire. Meek sees her involvement in Sustainable Fashion Week as a golden opportunity to educate people on the small but impactful steps they can take to initiate profound positive change in the fashion industry.
The urgent need for sustainable fashion
The global fashion industry currently wields a profoundly negative impact on the environment and communities worldwide. Sustainable Fashion Week aims to spotlight these issues while offering and promoting alternatives to the current unsustainable fashion paradigm.
Shocking statistics reveal that up to 100 billion garments are produced annually, with a staggering 92 million tons of clothing ending up in landfills, and only a meager 20% of textiles are collected for reuse or recycling worldwide.
Meek underscores the importance of rekindling the age-old tradition of reusing and repurposing textiles in the face of the climate change crisis. As the region’s Sustainable Fashion Week hub, The Stitch Society is committed to helping people reconnect with textiles and navigate through the greenwashing to find a grassroots path towards a sustainable and improved future for fashion and textiles.
The theme for this year’s Sustainable Fashion Week is ‘The ReWear Revolution’, a celebration of cherished clothing items and a guide on how to care for both fast fashion purchases and heirlooms. The message is clear: all garments deserve respect and care.
Engaging events and workshops
Starting with Yarndale in Skipton, The Stitch Society will be actively participating and offering insightful talks. On 23 September Meek will present ‘Making Choices: Sustainable Textile or Greenwashing’, followed by ‘Retraining Textile Thinking: Reusing, Repurposing, Rewearing, and Reconnecting’ on 24 September.
From 25 September to 8 October The Stitch Society, in partnership with Sue Ryder, will host daily drop-in sessions and workshops in a pop-up shop at the Airedale Centre. These workshops will empower individuals with skills for mending, darning, and refreshing garments, culminating in a clothes swap event on 7 and 8 October.
The Stitch Society will also join forces with Bradford College to present a series of workshops and talks on 30 September and 1 October, challenging conventional notions about fashion. Topics will range from natural dyeing to minimal waste pattern cutting and weaving using recycled materials.
A pioneer in sustainable fashion
Meek and The Stitch Society hope to lead the way in embracing sustainability through innovative approaches to working with fabrics and clothing. As she explains:
“It’s not about ‘making do’ but finding joy in textiles that already have a story to tell and giving them new life—for both the pleasure and the practical benefit to the planet.”
Sustainable Fashion Week 2023 promises to be an inspiring and educational event, with The Stitch Society’s participation set to leave a lasting impact on the fashion industry’s journey towards a sustainable and eco-friendly future.