Former member of staff Rosalind Studd launches ‘Repair What You Wear’ website.
Founder Rosalind (Ros) Studd is a fashion textiles teacher, having trained in the Textiles department at WHS, and founder of Repair What You Wear - an open-access website that aims to teach anyone to mend their own clothes in order to help save money and to reduce landfill waste. The website uses videos to teach basic sewing techniques and tips.
“I loved doing my teacher training at WHS. I spent 4 years connected to the school and enjoyed teaching the students when they had never done any textiles or sewing through to wonderful creations. It was always positive, and I so enjoyed working with the girls.
My advise about sewing is to start small, pay attention to detail and don't work with cheap fabric because it's cheap. If you make the right thing in the right fabric, the results are always so much better. I always get my students to make the top of the garment in calico first (down to the thighs for tops, top above knees for trousers). It means you make mistakes and get the fitting right in the prototype.
Of course, as part of my focus right now, I would encourage everyone to learn basic mending skills, save money and help the climate. Then, if you like doing that, start learning to alter, make and create your own stuff.”
Here’s what Ros had to say about Repair What You Wear and the process of establishing it.
What made you want to launch Repair What You Wear?
I have taught in various settings and was working with a charity helping vulnerable groups and realised that they had no money to mend the few clothes they had and no skills. Having worked in schools where hand sewing is no longer taught and being very aware of environmental impact of the fashion industry, I thought it was time society also focused on mending.
What things have you learned along the way you wish you knew when you started?
How long projects take. How important it is to work with someone else, this project would never have been completed if a committed and talented Graphic Designer, Ellie, hadn't joined up. She has done a lot of hard work, especially recently. It is almost impossible to do this kind of thing alone, no one person has all the skills and observations.
What have been the best and worst things?
Nothing major yet. When we launched, we found that an Australian sewer called Mary had used Repair What You Wear as a slogan for a video mending her trousers. So, it kept coming above us in a search - Ellie worked hard to fix that. Some of our video quality hasn't been as good as we hoped when transferring it over to the website and YouTube. Some of our planned contacts for press have been too busy working on Covid-19 to reply or engage... so we have to rethink all the time. Best thing so far was the interview for 2 famous people and being featured in the Podcast. It gives us a profile.
How do you get people to your site?
We planned to print off tri-fold with instructions and have them in charity shops, community centres, universities etc. But we cut that out because of Covid. We are pressing the press when we can and eventually they will start to show more interest. We are in touch with TES global to feature the project to Education. We are writing and communicating with environmental groups to include links or references. We are developing Facebook and Instagram (Ellie is working very hard on this) and starting to slowly head in the right direction. It is going to be slow and referrals are going to be the way.
What does the future hold for textile / fashion industries?
This is a large debate at the moment because the fashion/textiles industry is one of the top 5 polluters. However, many livelihoods in poor countries rely on the income. Personally I don't think the fashion industry knows what to do other than say ‘buy well, buy less, wear more’ because there won't be an industry if we all stop buying. I believe that education in textiles and production will help the consumer make better informed choices and that consumption will decline. We have to understand about buying from sustainable sources, mending our clothes, swapping, making and valuing while understanding we can't change clothes all the time without being responsible for damage to the environment.
“I hope you find this useful and best wishes to everyone. Promote repairwhatyouwear.com to your friends, family and social groups - together we can bring around change. Small changes have big impacts.” – Ros Studd
In The News
Ros was recently interviewed by Lucy Siegle and Livia Firth, two well-known fashion change influencers and journalist, at the launch of their ‘Fashion Critical: An Emergency Podcast for Times of Crisis’. Follow this link to listen to the interview with Rosalind from 43 minutes https://eco-age.com/news/lucy-siegle-and-livia-firth-launch-fashion-critical-podcast
Just last week Rosalind was invited to join a segment on ‘Sewing for Britain’ on Woman’s Hour. Follow this link to listen to the interview from 17 minutes https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m000hfqv.
Find Out More
To find out more about Repair What You Wear or Rosalind Studd, please visit her website https://repairwhatyouwear.com/, Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Repair-What-You-Wear-108508920817431/ and search for Repair What You Wear on Instagram.
Roisin O’Toole, Year 10, Nightingale 4, News Crew