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  • Claire Kalikman


Image via Penguin


Orsola de Castro, who with Carry Somers co-founded Fashion Revolution, has penned a love letter to the power of upcycling, mending, treasuring, repairing, rescuing, respecting and sharing fashion in Loved Clothes Last.

This book is both a practical guide to how to get more wear out of your wardrobe, and an impassioned plea against mindless consumption.

She writes, “the fate of cheap clothing is marked as soon as it leaves the factory, and it’s worthy of an unedited Grimm Brothers fairytale: made in misery, bought in haste, worn for one night (if that) and then chucked in the bin.”

And it’s not just fast fashion, Orsola reminds us - luxury companies can also be guilty of a lack of transparency, exploitative labor conditions, polluting the environment and promoting endless consumerism.

Orsola de Castro

The book’s title grew out of a zine Fashion Revolution put together last year - #lovedclotheslast became a hashtag used by many. But while Orsola’s vision is expansive - she’s all about building community - she writes here from a deeply personal place. We learn how she began as a fashion designer, how she started the world’s biggest consumer-facing sustainable fashion movement and how she relates to her own wardrobe along the way.

The beauty of caring for your clothes, she implies, is that fostering a deep connection with them will turn you away mindless consumption - since isn’t it more fun when you truly care about what you wear?

For those who may not know much about how clothes are made and should be cared for, she offers many hands-on tips covering every bit of a garment’s life from the point of purchase to the wash. She includes an explanation of different fabrics, how to read a wash tag, how to mend by hand, and what to put in a basic sewing kit.

Orsola also suggests many different creative ways to refashion clothes including dying them pink with avocado pits or cutting up tights to make socks and headbands. She offers innovative ideas such as a community care center where people could bring their clothes to be repaired or swapped. She also walks through ways to expand your wardrobe ethically, such as renting, swapping, and thrifting.

Although she started writing the book before the pandemic, the timing is apt. As we have learned to live with less, it’s a good time to go through our wardrobes and see how we might creatively remodel our clothes without buying anything new. This reader walked away inspired and prepared to reexamine her closet - and perhaps even give a creative project a go. By Claire Kalikman.

Listen to a lovely interview with Orsola on episode 69 of the podcast.

Want more Fash Rev? Carry’s on Episode 112.

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