AUP graduation ceremony at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris.

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Fashion Talks at AUP: Loved Clothes Last

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On Wednesday, May 19, 2021, this year’s Fashion Talks at AUP lecture series, entitled “Between Despair and Hope,” concluded with a talk from author and designer Orsola de Castro, who talked about the not-for-profit global movement Fashion Revolution she co-created in 2013 and her recently published book, Loved Clothes Last: How the Joy of Rewearing and Repairing Your Clothes Can Be A Revolutionary Act (2021). Fashion Talks at AUP was organized by Professor Renate Stauss and Professor Sophie Kurkdjian. 

De Castro began by explaining that, at the end of the 1990s when she was starting out as a designer, she was reluctant to enter into discussions about the industry and “just” wanted to make clothes. She founded her upcycling label From Somewhere in 1997, before she witnessed a huge evolution in the Italian industry – and the fashion industry in general – as production moved to China. In 2013, after the collapse of the Rana Plaza factory in Bangladesh, which killed or injured thousands of workers, she founded, with Carry Somers, Fashion Revolution to raise public awareness on the social and environmental impacts of the fashion industry. Fashion Revolution has become a global movement with activities in more than 60 countries.

Today, through Fashion Revolution, de Castro proposes a move forward rather than a return to fashion’s past. She encourages brands across the whole industry (from luxury to fast fashion) to be accountable for their supply chains. She argues that everyone – from brands to consumers – has a responsibility to act. Her book is a call to creative action and proposes different ways, such as mending, recycling, dyeing, recreating or repairing clothes, to become active participants in the fashion revolution. This lively, interactive talk illustrated how the landscape of fashion is much richer for de Castro’s poignant, passionate, political and poetic interventions.

About Orsola de Castro

Orsola de Castro is a pioneer and internationally recognized opinion leader in sustainable fashion. In 1997 she founded From Somewhere, a label designing clothes made entirely from preconsumer waste. In 2006, she co-founded the British Fashion Council’s pioneering initiative Estethica, a London Fashion Week showcase for sustainable labels. In 2013, with Carry Somers, she founded Fashion Revolution, which has become a global campaign with participation in over 60 countries around the world. She is a regular keynote speaker, educator and mentor; a judge and mentor for the British Fashion Council’s New Gen initiative; an associate lecturer at UAL; and a visiting fellow at Central Saint Martins. Her book Loved Clothes Last was published by Penguin Life in February 2021, by Corbaccio Editore in Italy in March and, later, by Edition Marabou in France.