Manchester  A few days in Buffalo…

We’ve spent a few amazing days exploring Buffalo, NY with our friends at Buffalo State University;  exploring fashion sustainability through meeting local designers and discussing the sustainable themes in their exciting and diverse fashion enterprises and not-for-profit organisations. We have looked at thrift stores and the recycling of clothing to support drugs and alcohol rehabilitation at the Salvation Army, we made jewellery from reclaimed buttons, broaches and bracelets and scarves from old t-shirts. We visited a store where wedding dresses inherited through the brides family are re-modeled or altered especially for that wonderful wedding day – without spending thousands on a new dress to wear for one day.

We have enjoyed the parallels that Buffalo has with Manchester on an architectural level through the industrial heritage of both towns and loved Buffalo’s unique hotels and wonderful 1920’s movie theatre which is the last in the state. Restored to its full beauty, it certainly makes for a much more attractive cinema-going experience. We even managed to survive seeing Niagara Falls mostly frozen (the falls and us!) but all the more spectacular as a result!

What this experience indicates to me is that many consumers are seeking to re-make, repair, re-use or recycle. To make the most of the valuable clothes we have already invested in and the resources we have used to do it. Thinking differently about ‘newness’ in fashion as they do here in Buffalo is creating thriving local businesses, supporting young entrepreneurs, getting people’s live back on track after some tough times and developing a community of creative practitioners and happy customers with a passion for sustainable fashion. For consumers it means finding unique high-quality pieces at great prices that are timeless, hard-wearing look great. This is combined with the satisfaction gained from knowing you have done your part; that what you just purchased didn’t end up in land-fill. You’ve just supported your local economy and made your town a better place. But most of all – you’ve put a smile on many peoples faces (including your own). Long live slow fashion. Long live new sustainable business models.

 

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Written by Zoë Hitchen