Sustainable fashion continues to make strides in the industry with many consumers daring to ask who made my clothes in pursuit of more transparency in line with the recent Fashion Revolution campaign. As consumers are getting more aware of the detrimental effects of fast fashion on the environment and people, such as an increase in textile waste and poor working conditions, an increasing number of consumers are rightfully demanding innovative ways to reduce the carbon footprint. One Memoir, a fashion start-up based in Edinburgh is addressing both the desire for greater transparency and sustainability. Founded by two University of Edinburgh graduates, Justus and Shelly, One Memoir is in the business of upcycling preloved women’s jackets and coats. Their first collection entitled, ‘REVYBE – The Memoir’ was designed and upcycled by Caribbean designers from Trinidad and Tobago.
For many who wonder, upcycling is the activity of converting old or discarded materials into something entirely new to make them once again valuable. One Memoir decided to upcycle its preloved jackets, sourced from Scotland with the help of four emerging designers to reduce waste and offer a sustainable design opportunity and awareness to these designers. But why Trinidad and Tobago?
Well, according to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Trinidad and Tobago is the second largest producer of carbon emissions in the world, as shown below. Fashion is very much seen as disposable: goods which are thrown away if they no longer fit or meet the current fashion trends. As a result, a lot of clothes are disposed of, filling landfills and leaving a mark on the beautiful Caribbean Island. The concept of upcycling was not widely known nor utilised in mainstream fashion in Trinidad and Tobago before One Memoir’s introduction to the island.
Moreover, sustainable fashion has also not attained a stronghold in the region and many designers remained uninformed of ways in which they can utilise their scrap material. With their cofounder, being a native of the Caribbean island they opted to have their first collection designed there. Most designers from the twin island discarded their scrap material but now, One Memoir challenged them to see value in their waste and use it as accentuating materials for the final one-of-a-kind pieces. It was an opportunity to inform the designers and by extension the island about sustainable fashion and, provide the designers with an international opportunity to have their finished designs retailed in the UK market. The process benefitted all parties and can be seen from the final One Memoir video excerpt released by the brand documenting their time in Trinidad and Tobago.
Conducting any business activity across geographic borders comes with its own hurdles and the Co-Founders were quick to highlight theirs. Along their journey, Justus was based in Scotland and Shelly in Trinidad and Tobago, they experienced time differences to logistical hurdles and the great task of filling knowledge gaps. The task was not easy but they firmly believed in their vision of offering a truly unique and sustainable fashion collection and ultimately they were able to overcome all of these obstacles to make their dream of One Memoir come alive.
In the space of 6 months their collection of 15 exclusive upcycled women’s jackets and coats were completed and their featured designers all thoroughly enjoyed the process. One designer, Nwannia, even planned to incorporate upcycling into her own design process in the future. This highlights how One Memoir not only created an opportunity to reduce waste in the burdened Island, but also to support the emerging creative designers who are looking for an opportunity to join the global fashion stage.
Their journey and vision to tackle the detrimental carbon footprint of the current fast fashion industry is truly impressive. Brands that put sustainable fashion and knowledge transfer at the forefront should be recognized and we recognise One Memoir for their bold and sustainable efforts in the Caribbean.
If you’d like to view their exclusive collection called ‘Revybe – The Memoir ‘please visit their website www.onememoir.com
They can also be followed on all social media channels using the handle one memoir.