At esa New York‘s Do + Brew party, I joined a community that is mending our disconnect with our every day clothing. This party was part of donateNYC’s first ReFashion Week initiative. At the event, lively clothing swaps were joined with mending and upcycling stations with resources such as distressing, natural dyes and sewing supplies.
We could take our swapped clothes directly to these stations, expressing our creativity and giving our clothes new life. We also learned some practical ways to participate in the sustainable fashion movement.
As Ambassador, I repped Remake’s Humans of Fashion series at the event. I brought photos and first-hand quotes from the women making our clothes and those wearing them that were projected on the wall. The images helped participants think about the connection between consumers and makers, which is so central to the sustainable fashion movement.
Remake believes that sustainable fashion is a women’s empowerment issue. It has the power to uplift women all over the world, especially female garment makers of color.
At the event, there was great music, snacks, drinks and energetic conversations. I got to talk with different storytellers, designers and all around fashion enthusiasts about how they wear their values. Below are some highlights:
“I like clothes. I don’t know too much about what happens at fashion factories, but I hope to learn more about it. People are paid cents for things sold for hundreds of dollars here. That’s not right. I think it’s important to teach sustainable fashion in schools so that kids are educated about it at a young age. They will then know about the environmental and human cost behind their clothes. Unlike me, I’ve been buying Nike sneakers for 28 years and I am now just learning more about them.”
“I think it’s important to wear your values because of the amount of waste, destruction and human suffering in fast fashion. Three quarters of my wardrobe is thrifted. We need to think more carefully about what we put on our bodies: to wear things more often, to wear things second hand, and to wear things that are ethically sourced.”
After taking part in the energy-filled event and connecting with like-minded fashion enthusiasts who want to turn fashion into a force for good, I had three main takeaways:
The two complementary forces, esa New York’s local organizing expertise and Remake’s unique position of bridging the gap between consumers and our makers, are what prompted me to reach out to esa New York to establish this partnership as a Remake Ambassador. Many sustainable fashion events are currently run by volunteers. Joining together is an efficient way to locally organize and mobilize.
✂️ DIY is IN
Making a garment or even sewing a button is no longer a necessary household skill since clothing is much more accessible now. However, cheaper clothes that are based on the exploitation of labor have conditioned a lot of us into thinking clothing, products of high planetary and human impacts, is disposable waste. Exploring ways to be our own menders and makers of clothes with the space provided by esa New York allows us to appreciate the values of our clothes, products that are touched by countless human hands before they end up in our closets.
The diversity New York City was in the building at the event: from the volunteers to the participants, sustainable fashion is truly for everyone. As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I hope to see and to organize more events in the future that celebrate all of us, across the spectrum.
Last but not least, none of these will be possible without the passionate and knowledgeable volunteers who are so indispensable to the global sustainable fashion movement. Thank you, our volunteers and ambassadors! 💛 ❤️ You can follow esa New York on Instagram @esanewyork