Clothes on a clothes rail.

How we love our clothes in Bath

Bath and North East Somerset council wanted to encourage local residents to love their clothes. In this guest blog, Campaigns Manager Lorinda Trebaczyk explains why they chose Bath Fashion Week to do it.

Our residents in Bath and North East Somerset can recycle clothes, shoes, accessories and household textiles such as towels and curtains every week from their homes using our collection – but we still find that nearly 4% of their rubbish is made up of textiles.

We want to do something to change that so this year we are running a textiles campaign and making good use of the Love Your Clothes campaign support available. We started by sending a leaflet to all homes with our Christmas mailing – we adapted WRAP’s Pass it on leaflet and are monitoring tonnages to see the impact.

In the summer term we are teaming up with Resource Futures to work intensively with five primary schools as well as provide textile assemblies and collections to other primary schools in our area.

As a personal challenge, I took a pledge not to buy any clothes or shoes for a year during 2015 (even second hand items). An article about my experience is being published in our staff  Council magazine. I just felt I had too much stuff (including 73 pairs of footwear!) and was increasingly concerned about how this affects our planet and the workers who make our clothes.

Lorinda Trebaczyk with a huge pile of shoes.

After discussions with colleagues, friends and family, our campaigns team decided to run our first Big Clothes Swap in Bath during the prestigious Bath in Fashion Week 2016 (April 18–24).

During this week the fashion world descends upon Bath for a week-long celebration of fashion that promises stimulating debate, events, catwalks and a line-up of stellar designers and global fashion experts. The programme also features a session on Sustainable Fashion with Livia Firth, but we wanted to get involved by hosting an event to invite our residents to celebrate second-hand clothes.

So our first Bath Big Clothes Swap takes place on Tuesday 19 April from 6.00pm–9.00pm at Komedia in Bath. We are inviting residents to come with their friends to bring clothes to swap not shop (for full details go to www.bathnes.gov.uk/textiles). We’ve also invited enthusiastic local clothing upcyclers to demonstrate their skills, and attendees will be able to make a tote bag from an old T-shirt. We’ll run a Love Your Clothes roadshow to discuss issues involved in the fashion and recycling industry and about valuing our clothes.

We’ll also be asking residents to make a pledge to buy at least one piece of clothing in a charity shop or pledge to repair one piece of clothing in 2016 and ask them to post their photos of these items on our Facebook page.

If the swap goes well we hope to run other similar events across our area, and support local groups who may wish to run their own events by offering a loan pack with clothing rails, hangers, mirrors and an event guidance pack.