Belfast Telegraph

Belfast Fashion Week resale event puts sustainable fashion in spotlight

Raising awareness: Cathy Martin
Raising awareness: Cathy Martin
Lauren Harte

By Lauren Harte

Belfast Fashion Week director Cathy Martin is turning her attention towards championing ethical and sustainable fashion.

The businesswoman, who is also managing director of CMPR, is hosting a Resale Rail Sale event in St Anne's Cathedral today to increase awareness of fashion and textiles eco-damage.

She is hoping that hundreds of shoppers will come along and see the benefits of reselling and buying second-hand clothing.

Over 70 resellers will be taking part, including vintage stores, charities like Oxfam and St Vincent de Paul as well as lots of individuals selling off their own previously loved items.

There will also be Stitch Up workshops running throughout the day, hosted by experienced creative curator Ciaran Doran and her team.

Ms Martin wants to make Belfast Fashion Week - which is now in its 28th season - sustainable.

"I have done small reseller events before at both my home and office," she said.

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"To turn my mindset, plus my event, which is usually a fast-fashion paradise, into something focused entirely on sustainable fashion and reselling vintage or previously owned clothes, took a lot of thought, despite the fact that the need was glaring me in the face."

Her change of heart came after being taught about sustainability in fashion during a summer programme at Conde Nast College, part of British Vogue, in 2017 and recently reading Fashionopolis by Dana Thomas.

Ms Martin added: "I'd started working in the textiles industry around 15 years ago, so had seen the massive amounts of water, dye and energy used to create fibres and fabrics.

"But I didn't really consider the end game and the massively damaging effect on the environment so much, until recently.

"I did some research and got myself educated on the pollution caused and some really unethical production practices within the fashion and textiles industries.

"I also woke up to our over consumption and the constant need for new.

"The rental and shared economy is booming and fashion can and must join in here.

"The growth of resale - especially online with sites like eBay and dePop, among others - has been one of the biggest shifts in retail in recent memory."

She added: "It's wonderful that this growth has been consumer driven."

Ms Martin hopes today's event will help to increase awareness of the bigger issues of fashion and textiles eco-damage and show how reselling and buying second hand can help to balance out what's been done and prevent further extensive damage.

She added: "I also want to help further normalise shopping second hand for fashion and provide a platform for those who want to join me.

"I still love creative design and fashion and will still buy clothes and work with retailers, but I will do so more thoughtfully.

"I will check labels and purchase with the planet and long term in mind. And I will try to urge others to do so too."

The Fashion Week Resale Rail Sale takes place today from 10am until 5pm.

Entry is £3 and tickets are available via Eventbrite.

Belfast Telegraph