Can a pop-up Street Store help make fashion more sustainable?

Every year 350,000 tonnes of clothing are sent to landfill sites whilst one-third of our clothes go unworn. The skills we have to repair or refashion clothes are in decline with a new survey finding that seven out of ten adults do not know how to sew a button.

Partnering with Sainsbury’s as part of the Waste less, Save more campaign Hubbub explored whether a Street Store could encourage people to extend the life of their clothes. Over the May Bank Holiday, Hubbub created a pop-up Street Store in the South Derbyshire town of Swadlincote. The store encouraged people to swap, style and sew their way to a new wardrobe.

Within the Street Store clothing rails displayed designer items from brands such as D&G, Ralph Lauren and Hugo Boss purchased from Cancer Research UK. Visitors to the shop could take their pick in return for donating items of their own clothing. If the clothes they chose didn’t quite fit, a haberdashery service was on hand to carry out any required alterations. A stylist was also available all day to give people advice on what clothing and colours would best suit them, helping them to make more informed choices from the clothes available.

Throughout the weekend workshops gave people new skills. The most popular were those that taught children sewing skills, the adults sewing classes were well attended but ‘How to make a rug from scrap fabric’ didn’t quite hit the mark.

Every effort was made to create a high quality and personalised service giving shoppers the sort of experience they expect from a high-end fashion retailer.

So did it work?

The concept was understood and liked by customers, with many using all components from the style advice through to the swapping. Having a stock of good quality designer clothes at the start was a great way to attract people. The workshops, especially for young people, proved extremely popular. Engaging with the local community was crucial in ensuring the Street Store was well received with the local vintage shop providing store decorations and local retailers plus the university providing the haberdashery support.

Feedback suggested that the Street Store increased understanding of textile waste and the concept of the circular economy. There was overwhelming support for future similar events.

 


Street Store in numbers:

288 items of clothing were brought in for swaps
29 people took part in the workshops
12 people were styled
11 garments altered

 


 

Whilst these numbers are modest they are encouraging in testing a totally new approach in a relatively small town.

What's next?

Making it easier for people to get greater value from their clothes and ensuring they have the skills to carry out basis alterations and mending are core ambitions of our Fashion Hub. The Street Store is a creative and engaging way to achieve these ambitions and we will look to refine the way it is delivered and seek to take it to new communities over the months ahead.