Shop Sustainable: Rewaved Garms
In the latest instalment of this series I spoke to Elly, a 22-year-old graduate from Shropshire who recently started ‘Rewaved Garms’, where she upcycles pre-loved clothing into trendy tops and scrunchies. All her links can be found at the end of this article.
First off, tell me a little bit about yourself, what your business is about and why you started it…
So, I’ve just finished my third year at University of Birmingham (partly ruined by coronavirus) and waiting to start my Masters In September, in ‘Poverty, Inequality and Development’. I started Rewaved Garms mostly because I noticed myself being bored and scrolling through ASOS but still wanting to be a bit more environmentally friendly, and some new clothes! So, I thought a good use of my time could be to rework some old things and sell them!
How did you get into sustainability? Were there any particular stories or events that resonated with you enough to change your habits?
I am the typical tries-to-be-environmentally-friendly-but-has-ASOS-next-day-delivery person, but since lockdown I started to really look into how much water and resources were used in the production of fast fashion ,as well as all the one-use plastic used in the packaging. I had been to a Stacey Dooley talk not long before lockdown, and that is certainly something which made me much more aware of my clothes and where they came from. Something that really stuck with me was that £140m worth of clothing goes to landfill each year just in the UK, which is why I really wanted to use clothes that perhaps had some holes in, or were not really that wearable, and would have otherwise gone to landfill. The Green Hub (https://thegreenhubonline.com) has some really interesting and scary facts that have really pushed me to be more sustainable.
Can you tell me a bit about how you have made your business practices sustainable?
So, I only buy second-hand clothing, mostly with small defects, as I feel that these are the items which would be more at risk to go into landfill. I also found 100% recycled plastic packaging, as it didn’t feel right to package my sustainable tops in single use plastic! I then use recycled brown paper to wrap things in as well for extra protection, and again to avoid plastic as much as possible.
Are there any areas of your business that just can’t be made sustainable?
As I’m such a small business, at the moment it’s not too hard to be sustainable, but I am currently looking into more sustainable cotton for my sewing machine and have just ordered some biodegradable paper tape to use instead of Sellotape, to try and make every area of Rewaved Garms sustainable. But I can’t really do much about the postage and the emissions that are used in that which is a shame.
Do you hope to expand your business in future or are you happy with where you are at?
I think I will try and grow as much as possible as I have really enjoyed the process so far! I’m excited to see how it all goes.
What has been your favourite part about running your business so far?
My favourite part has been getting feedback from people who really like their products. I also really enjoy coming up with new designs and things, which I’m excited to post about soon.
What is the one cause that you are most passionate about in terms of sustainability/environmentalism?
I’m most passionate about reducing single-use plastic and preventing clothes from going into landfill. I really want to make my clothes as long-lasting as possible by using quality materials, so they can be worn for years rather than being a one season item.
How do you think people should go about promoting sustainability in their everyday lives?
I feel like the small things are really easy to change such as not using plastic water bottles, wearing sustainable clothing - a change I recently made was using a bamboo toothbrush. Small changes are so accessible now, especially with sustainable fashion, so there really are more and more options now.
All images courtesy of @rewavedgarms on Instagram.