Fresh look at world of fashion

A MENDIP-BASED handweaver and textile impact advocate has recently delivered a series of workshops to inform people with learning disabilities about fast fashion and the benefits of local, natural fibres.

Jade Ogden, founder of the Handloom Room and member of the South West England Fibreshed, obtained a bursary to make Fibreshed accessible to people with learning disabilities. As part of the project, she devised and ran a series of workshops for people with learning disabilities in the local area including at Orchard Vale Trust in Wookey, as well as SWALLOW in Westfield, OpenStoryTellers in Frome, the Reach Centre in Weare and the Hub in Yeovil.

The workshops were interactive and had lots of sensory elements, including sheep and alpaca wool, linen fibre, fragrant dye-plants and even a bunch of dried stinging nettles. In contrast to the natural fibres, they also explored man-made, petroleum-based, unnatural fibres such as polyester and acrylic. The sessions addressed issues around fast fashion and the groups had the opportunity to sort through a charity shop ‘rag bag’ and look at the fibres that make up the clothes that are destined for waste – whether in the UK or abroad.

The South West England Fibreshed is a community of textile growers, processors and producers based in the South West who advocate for clothing and textiles to be grown and made within the region, in a way that is actively beneficial to the environment. 

“I have been concerned about fast fashion for many years and Fibreshed has helped me to discover an alternative where clothing can be fully local, biodegradable and good for the planet,” said Jade.

“I really wanted to make this learning accessible to more people and The South West England Fibreshed bursary enabled me to do that – now I want to do more.”

People who are interested in booking a similar workshop at a day service, school or community setting can find out more at Jade’s website