Loved Clothes Last

The more I repair the things I own, the more I treasure them.

Why do we know more about the brands who sell our clothes than the people who make them?

The qualities that clothing was once principally judged, such as quality, durability and personal meaning have been replaced by trends which rotate on an almost monthly basis, brand obsession and prices that justify a quick and easy turnover of goods. Globalisation and free- market capitalism has pushed prices lower and production further away from the eye of the consumer.

Along the way, we have lost the tradition of making and repairing our own clothes and have forgotten the patience and skills required to do so. This loss of knowledge combined with provision of mass-produced cheap goods has eroded our understanding of the long-lasting value of clothes and tragically the people who make them. But we do not have to be passive to these changes.

Start a fashion revolution in your own wardrobe.

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Repair Cafe at Remakery Frome, 2017.

In my opinion, the best way to show respect to the clothes you own (and the people who made them) is to repair them. Repair is a great way to build a lasting relationship with the things we own and helps to rekindle the use of our hands. You don’t have to be an expert and often the most obvious fixes are the most beautiful. Below are a few fixes I have made on my favourite garments.

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I got these jeans second-hand three years ago and have lived in them. They are slightly stretchy so great for cycling. I have repaired the crotch more times than I can remember and have also mended many small holes that I got when climbing over a barbed wire fence. Last September I re-dyed them blue to give them a new lease of life. As the repaired patches begin to break again, I think it is soon time to say good bye to them as jeans but perhaps I will turn them into something else.

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This is a Toast dress I bought in 2014. I like to buy Toast clothing every now and then. The quality is good so I see them as investments. I love wearing this dress in any season, during the winter I wear it with long sleeves underneath. It is great for traveling because creases disguise well in the pattern. Two years ago I took it on a hiking trip. It was a perfect for when I wanted to dress up.  You might not be able to see from the photograph but I repaired a rip in the sleeve with some interfacing and a zigzag stitch.

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This jumper was given to me by a good friend, I think it used to belong to her uncle. It is a Ratia jumper made from pure wool. I love to wear it camping and on my bike in the cold because the wool is so warm and breathable. This winter it got a moth hole in the front so I decided to fix it with some visible mending. I added extra flowers so it blends in. This is a work in progress, I think I will add more details over time.

Remakery Frome, one year on.

The Remakery Frome is now in with the chance of winning £38K! Please vote to help the workshop provide community led craft events for another year.

This time last year I had just moved to Frome, a small town in Eastern Somerset with a big heart and an independent mind. It was the perfect setting to start a course that promised to teach me how to create a social enterprise hands-on.

At the beginning of April I met the diverse individuals whom I would work with for the next 10 weeks. We came from different backgrounds with a rich variety of life experience and expertise. Our brief was to create an enterprise that tackled throwaway culture and encouraged repair and a Do It Yourself attitude in Frome.

 

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Getting stuck into the theme

In our first week we met with Cara the Resilience Officer from Frome Town council and began mapping our first ideas. The weeks that followed involved many hours of brainstorming, interviews, physical labour and trips to the woods for downtime and inspiration. I learnt about ideation, business planning, teamwork and so much more.

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The Remakery team during a day of reflection in Vallis

Ten weeks later, we launched Remakery Fromea space for doers, fixers, makers and breakers. The purpose of the Remakery was to create a place where all members of the community would feel comfortable. As a result we equipped the space with the materials and tools necessary for all kinds of fixing and making from textiles to woodwork.

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A sketch of the Remakery launch party by Sarah Godsill

A year later and the Remakery has become the home for many interesting projects including: spoon carving, leather craft, basket weaving, ceramics, gardening and Edventure: MAKE courses. Amongst other things the Remakery also hosts the Mens Shed where people over 55 can socialise, make things and work on projects for the benefit of the community and Open Story Tellers Frome events where people with learning difficulties can create together.

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Deciding on a logo

Recently the Remakery was selected as one of ITV and the Big Lottery’s Peoples Project, an initiative which promises to fund 5 community enterprises. The Remakery is in with a chance of wining £38K which would enable them to offer another 113 community activity days in the workshop. But we need your help to make this a reality.

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Working on the Remakery with Edventure built my capabilities and confidence in entrepreneurship in a live setting with a tangible social and environmental goal. Winning the People’s Project would allow Edventure to offer more great opportunities like this to young people looking to make a difference to their own and others lives.

If you live in the UK please VOTE for Remakery Frome!

The Remakery Team celebrating after the launch in Monkton Wyld 2017

 

 

Welcome to the Remakery Frome

After ten weeks of hard work, perseverance and a lot of love, Remakery Frome is now up and running!

What it is

The Remakery is a shared workshop equipped with tools to enable making, fixing and up-cycling in Frome. People can use it for their hobbies, projects or to incubate a making business. Our vision is bring people together to inspire each other, repair more and enjoy making.

How it works

Members can drop in anytime between 3-8pm Monday to Friday, and in the morning whenever there is no workshop or class running. The cost is £15 a year plus £3 each time you drop in (concessions available).

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Remakery Repair Festival

We celebrated the launch with a week long festival of repair and up-cycling. Events included table making with Stu from the Chisel and Grain, textiles up-cycling with Louis Montero and Stina Falle and finally PC TLC with Allen McClaren.

The finale of the week was our official launch party where we presented the Remakery to the community at its current stage (there is still a lot of work to do!).

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We put on an exhibition of upcycling featuring the work of local designers and craftspeople including a dress by Haley Trezise of Raggedy and jewellery by Christina. Local artist Sarah Godsill captured the proceedings through beautiful sketches (see more of her event illustration here) with photography by Finley John and myself. ScaneScreen Shot 2017-06-11 at 12.34.33 pm

Edgy Veggie laid on a delicious vegetarian feast with lentil burgers, roast potatoes and mixed veg and we had the pleasure of hosting young musicians Evey hunter and Kane Pollastrone to play for us.

We hosted an open workshop in the Remakery where we invited members of the community to help us with the final touches to the space while Sophie from Yssabeauchet ran a crochet workshop.

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In the afternoon we ran a World Cafe around the subject of our relationship to ‘stuff’. Participants sat together in an informal Cafe setting to discuss the value of the stuff we own individually and as a collective. The conversation looked forward to how our perspective might change in the future. It was a great opportunity for reflection and exchanging insights about the value of sharing, repair and education. At the end of the session we came together to summarise our opinions and make some resolutions for the future.

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All in all the day was a great success. It was incredibly rewarding to see the community respond so positively to our work and to see people engaging about the subject of a repair economy in Frome.

Interested to find out more? visit our website or emailwelshmill@edventurefrome.org for a free trail session.

Putting Plans into Action, Edventure Week 3

Business strategy and user research in Week 3 of Edventure Frome’s Start-Up Repair Course.

Making money and making a difference

We began the week with business planning. Johannes and Adam introduced us to three different social enterprise models;

 

EXTERNAL

External: When business and social activities are separate. The business may or may not be related to the social enterprise.

integratedIntegrated: When a business is created as a funding mechanism to expand and enhance a social mission.

embedded1.jpgEmbedded: When a business and social programme are one and the same, i.e. the business was created for a social purpose.

Johannes also presented ‘The Ladder of Social Engagement’, a way of visualising the interest of your target audience.

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Van perfectly summed up the first thought-filled day with the following poem;

Monday

Sunshine beams goals we dream

Tantalizing future visions

Fixing ourselves, through expressive creation

Conversations and well informed talking

Form restless and sleepsome minds

Seeking the clarity of whatever we can achieve

Potential

Harmonious, Contemplative, Potential.

By Van Wajsblum

 

Meeting Gavin Eddy

Gavin is a local entrepreneur who has launched many successful businesses including Forward Space (a series of creative ‘workhubs’ for entrepreneurs) and the Frome Independent Market. We met him on Tuesday to discuss ideas at Forward Space, Frome. It was great to get feedback from someone with such a wealth of local experience and ‘Start-Up’ expertise. He advised us to clearly define our target audience and to consider ways of maintaining interest in our project long-term.

Speaking with Ugo Vallauri

Ugo is the co-founder of The Restart Project, a London-based social enterprise that encourages and empowers people to use their electronics for longer in order to reduce waste. Ugo kindly agreed to discuss the Restart model and our project ambitions with me over the phone. He explained how ‘Restart Parties’ (community based, free electronic repair sessions) reduce the barriers to learning and help people recognise the value in repair. During the conversation he gave me many insights into running successful repair events. He also mentioned the importance of recreating trustworthy relationships with existing repair providers. Read more about Restart’s research on the matter here.

Talking to the public

Throughout the week we developed a questionnaire to ascertain what kind of repair service people would most benefit from. You can read our full questionnaire here and if you are from the local area please take a moment to fill it out. Your input is much appreciated!

Presenting pitch 2

Informed by the week’s findings we presented a preliminary business plan to the Edventure team on Thursday.

Our mission is to launch a socially inclusive workshop space together with an online platform/mobile app focusing on ethical repair. By empowering people through creative skill-shares, we hope to strengthen social bonds, increase practical skills and reduce the amount of perfectly reusable household waste.

Guided by the initial response to our questionnaire we aim to concentrate on 3 avenues;

  • Regular affordable, themed fixing sessions.
  • Weekly, reasonably priced workshop-based classes.
  • An online directory to connect professional and amateur fixers, makers and doers.

Something to take away…

A poem from Van written on Tuesday when it was his turn to make lunch for us all.

The Sushi Situation

Best laid plans mislead big dreams

Unexpected time frames

Not bad for a first try

Saved by an angel and enjoyed by All

Earlier formation of pitch perfect questions

An air of arrival at what we can be

Morning information from a man

With proven know how

Big ideas on a small scale

We must know who they are

The providers, users and sustainers

Of our world

Cater, nurture and help them succeed.

By Van Wajsblum

Fix That Thing; Edventure Week 1

A summary of the first week on the Start-Up Repair Course

What is Edventure?

Edventure is a social enterprise designed to combine education with community-based projects that work for all. As students, over the next ten weeks we will design and launch a repair enterprise that responds to the needs of the local community. With the help of Edventure’s team of expert entrepreneurs, communicators and educators we will learn first hand how to turn an idea into reality.

Find out more about Edventure courses here.

 Why Repair?

Consumer culture has taught us that it is often cheaper and easier to replace broken items than it is to fix them. This throw away mentality has led to an increase in unnecessary waste and a decrease in practical skills.

Extending a products life through repair helps to embed values such as ownership, creativity and problem solving in our material culture. From an environmental perspective it is also more efficient than recycling. For example, 20-30% of the material content of electronic items like phones is currently lost in the recycling process. As well as being ecological, a repair-based culture has the social benefit of connecting members of the local community and encouraging the sharing of skills. Our aim is to create a meaningful repair service that will contribute to a sustainable economy in Frome.

 What we have learnt so far…

 ‘A good idea today is better than a perfect idea tomorrow’

We began the week by sharing our personal stories, a common theme was the sense of being uninspired or let down by the current education system. The prospect of self directed, experiential learning felt exciting and new. During the week we explored where ideas come from and what makes them successful with Johannes and Adam. We met with Cara the Resilience Officer from Frome Town Council and Biz to discuss repair, learnt about communication with Neil and witnessed social enterprise in action at The Men’s Shed.

 Something to take away…

As team we came up with these 6 key ideas for effective teamwork;

  • Let ideas flow
  • Delegate
  • Offer advice
  • Get stuck in
  • Bring an open mind
  • Put things to the test!