14th December 2021

Future Fashion Fair: Manchester’s own sustainable fashion event

Hannah Wellock reviews the Future Fashion Fair, a sustainable fashion event, which took place last weekend at the Yard in Manchester, complete with small business stalls, vintage fashion and a swap shop!
Future Fashion Fair: Manchester’s own  sustainable fashion event
Photo: Hannah Wellock @ The Mancunion

The sustainable fashion movement is in full force in Manchester. This weekend I went to Manchester’s very own Future Fashion Fair (FFF), a fashion fair with all things sustainable. After such success with the first FFF in September, the second fair took place last Saturday. 

The Future Fashion Fair took place at the Yard which is on the edge of the Green Quarter, a short walk from Victoria station. The venue, normally a space used by creatives to host music and art events, was the perfect location for the fair. 

Inside you found small business stalls, a swap shop hosted by Nuw, vintage clothing stalls and a talk room. Whilst outside was the host to several different food vendors throughout the day. 

Photo: Hannah Wellock @ The Mancunion

The main hall housed the small business stalls with the likes of Bukky Bladwin, Snot Rags and Kiht Collective (a sustainable gym wear brand). My personal favourite was RheabFunky, a small one-woman brand that makes faerie/festival wear using every last scrap of fabric in her patchwork designs. With a small bar in the corner, this room turned into the events space for the afterparty in the evening. 

Photo: Hannah Wellock @ The Mancunion

Just off from the main hall was the Vintage Room housing several vintage clothing vendors. This little room was jam-packed with all things vintage ranging from coats and jackets to bags and accessories. However, the room was always full throughout the day making it slightly difficult to have a look around. 

One of my favourite parts was the swap shop hosted by the company Nuw. They are a relatively new company that is looking to reduce the environmental impact of fashion by increasing the hype around clothes swaps. They have given swap shops an online platform and this was their first in-person event. 

Photo: Hannah Wellock @ The Mancunion

The app works by uploading images of items you want to swap, receiving a token for each item. You then wait until someone is interested in your item and then send the item directly to the other user. In the meantime you can get swapping with the tokens you have earned from uploading items. 

The in-person swap shop also worked based on a token system, each item being worth one token. I received 4 tokens for the items I took, I didn’t swap straight away, instead waited until there was a larger selection. I found some good pieces after a bit of a dig through the clothes. You know what they say, one person’s trash is another’s treasure! 

Photo: Hannah Wellock @ The Mancunion

Throughout the day there were several talks about different sustainable fashion related topics. I attended three: the Pros and Cons of Fast Fashion, The Slow Fashion Movement UK and Cloud-based print on demand. 

The Pros and Cons of Fast Fashion talk was hosted by Forage Mill in a more discussion-based style. We discussed the impact on the environment and the social welfare aspect in relation to workers right as the negatives. However, it was very interesting to review the positive aspects of the fast fashion industry. These include the creation of jobs for garment workers and the accessibility to fashion for people with low incomes. For all its flaws, fast fashion does allow everyone to have creative input into the clothes they wear. 

This talk was then followed by the Slow Fashion Movement UK talk, this was a panel event with the team who created the UK branch of the Slow Fashion Movement. This talk heavily featured the idea of community, how fast fashion was working to remove the sense of community as we no longer share anymore. Previously a community was created by passing clothing down and helping one another with repairing items, something the Slow Fashion Movement is trying to resurrect. It was interesting to hear a discussion based on more social aspects rather than the environmental aspects that tend to dominate the media in relation to fast fashion. 

The day then transitioned into an afterparty in the main hall with a free drink and plenty of food to choose from. Overall it was a great day out, there was an incredible sense of community and a perfect sustainable fashion shopping opportunity. I heard through the grapevine a third Future Fashion Fair is in the works for April 2022 so keep an eye out for that and get yourself down! 

FFF written in purple luminous lighting on a background of purple streamers
Photo: Hannah Wellock @ The Mancunion

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