This month, Second-hand September, we connected with fashion activist Amanda Butterworth from our New Zealand Fashion Revolution team. Fashion Revolution is a global movement that campaigns for a clean, safe, fair, transparent, and accountable fashion industry through research, education, collaboration, mobilisation and advocacy. Amanda is the Country Co-Ordinator for Fashion Revolution, and is a passionate sustainable fashion advocate. With a background in law, a successful career in Procurement, Amanda’s heart has always been drawn to fashion. Inspired while living in London, to support a more sustainable and ethical future for fashion, Amanda is determined to challenge the way people think about, and buy clothing.
Q. Tell us about your love for second-hand fashion and what does shopping second-hand mean to you?
My love for second-hand fashion started when I was a teenager. I used to spend hours at Savemart in the weekends hunting through the racks. I loved the compliments I would get for the unique pieces I was wearing, and I definitely loved a bargain! In recent years I have got really into my nana’s closet. She has some fabulous pieces, all fantastic quality including gorgeous dresses and wool suits she brought out from Ireland over 40 years ago! Quite often someone will say they love what I’m wearing, and I get to say “thanks, it’s my nana’s.” She always gives me a smile and a wink when she sees me wearing her clothes and it feels special to be able to give the clothes that she felt great in, a new life. I love the thrill of finding a really great item. My favourite piece to date is a hand painted ‘Oscar de la Renta’ silk scarf.
Q. Fashion Revolution New Zealand is part of a global movement calling for a fairer fashion industry with a focus on people, planet, and profit in equal measures. It is well known that one way to avoid supporting ‘fast fashion’ is by choosing to buy second-hand and to love your clothing longer #lovedclotheslast. What is the Fashion Revolution team currently doing to raise awareness for the value second-hand clothing provides over fast fashion? How could second-hand fashion companies, for example, Dove Hospice, become involved?
At Fashion Revolution NZ, we love to hear the stories behind people’s clothing. We encourage everyone to share their #clothinglovestory as part of our #lovedclotheslast campaign. We were delighted with the number of people involved with us during ‘Fashion Revolution Week’ in April. Second-hand September is another opportunity to share stories and it doesn’t have to be limited to campaigns – we love to share stories all year round! We organised a clothing swap, another great way to share clothes within the community, and we plan to hold more of these in the future together with a second-hand clothing market. We’d love to see Dove Hospice at one of these events in the future. We encourage everyone to shop second-hand, care for their clothing and wear, wear, wear, again and again!
Q. As the climate crisis escalates at an alarming speed, brands are now looking to go beyond being ‘sustainable’ and are embracing regenerative fashion. We consider the act of buying second-hand clothing from Dove Hospice as regenerative. When choosing to shop at Dove Hospice, this supports those in need through holistic therapy and supports those suffering from a life-threatening illness. In essence, a process of regenerating health.
Would you agree with this parallel and what are Fashion Revolution’s views on regenerative fashion?
A lot of fashion brands have been getting by with just doing “less harm”, but consumers are starting to demand more (and so they should). It’s not enough to just do less harm, we need fashion brands to actively do good – to have a positive impact. Dove Hospice is a great example of that. By keeping clothing in rotation, Dove Hospice is helping fashion to do less harm, but it’s also actively doing good by keeping clothing in rotation and out of landfill. And the great support that Dove Hospice offers to local communities is a truly great impact. Fashion doesn’t have to be destructive – it can be beautiful and regenerative.
Q. How do we find Fashion Revolution, and what would ‘getting involved’ look like?
Getting involved can look like many things – simply by choosing to shop second-hand and wearing your clothes repeatedly you’re part of the Fashion Revolution! Come along and attend one of our events or even organise your own Fashion Revolution event in your city (get in touch to ask us how). You can also find us on Instagram, Facebook or visit https://www.fashionrevolution.org/oceania/new-zealand/ to check out the team and our events page.
Dove Hospice & Wellness, in collaboration with the AUT Fashion Department, and sponsored by Regal Drycleaners, Drapers Fabrics, Vanish and the Cut Above Academy, excitingly held its first event ‘Fashion Hacktivism’ event this May. The aim of this unique event was to showcase AUT’s ‘Fashion Hacktivism goes Big’ upcycling project, which, in partnership with Dove, focused on giving damaged second-hand clothing a new lease on life.
This event took place in the picturesque Kings Plant Barn café, and promising an array of exciting activities. The event will kick off with a captivating fashion show featuring the upcycled creations of AUT students, giving attendees the opportunity to witness the creative designs of upcycling first-hand. Following the fashion show, renowned stylist Jess Raffills from The Finders Life led an interactive styling workshop, sharing valuable tips on how to choose well and buy second-hand clothing that will last.
Jess from The Finders Life passionately emphasised, “I believe consuming consciously doesn’t need to compromise how you express yourself aesthetically and does not have to cost the earth. I love working with people to help them discover how to shop for their shape, lifestyle, and budgets more successfully, all with a sustainable spin!”
To further support Dove’s fundraising efforts, attendees had the change to peruse a boutique preloved clothing sale will be available, giving the opportunity to find unique and eco-friendly additions to their wardrobe.
Amy Conlon, Marketing, E-Comm, and Communications Manager at Dove, expresses her enthusiasm, stating, “This upcycling project with AUT gives an opportunity to inspire creativity and to encourage students to embrace a more circular design model. We are really looking forward to seeing what the students create.”
Amy further highlights the meaningful impact of supporting local charities through second-hand shopping, explaining, “In our case, our attendees will be supporting people for whom a cure or remission is expected with our ‘return to wellness’ programs, as well as patients whose illness is no longer curable.”
Lisa McEwan, Senior Lecturer at AUT across Fashion Design & Design for Sustainability, spoke to emphasise the significance of upcycling in combating the overconsumption of fast fashion products, “Our creative responses give a distinct nod to the former life of the upcycled clothing, making the final result not only a unique fashion piece but also a conversation starter about clothing consumption and sustainability.”
We hope to hold this event again in the future, and invite you to join us to celebrate and promote conscious consumerism, supporting our local charity organisation and encouraging a more sustainable approach to fashion. Together, we can make a difference in our community and contribute to a more sustainable future.