A crowdfunding campaign launched on local platform Zaar hopes to create a community clothing workshop space, to tackle fast fashion and the industry’s ever-growing carbon footprint.
The VX Foundry will be a fully equipped, dynamic workshop space where upcycling and other workshops will empower the community to use textile waste in a new and creative way, preventing it from going to landfill.
“Over the past four years working in the pre-owned clothing trade, we have seen first-hand just how much clothing gets consumed just to be binned,” says Tonya Lehtinen, who runs the Vogue Exchange in Victoria, Gozo and the Foundry. “Overproduction in the fashion industry fuels human rights violations, water pollution, animal abuses and generates 20% of global carbon emissions – it is just not sustainable. In the wave of resistance to fast fashion, circular economy and circular communities are emerging, such as the VX Foundry. Our vision is to create a hub, with the help of the local community through Zaar, where creatives, upcyclers, activists and individuals can learn, innovate and thrive; where we can weave a more sustainable, circular fashion movement.”
In the Foundry, artisans could utilise the space and equipment to offer their own workshops or create their own products, while it will be available for creators, makers and individuals who wish to book time slots to learn, create or teach. While the co-working space will welcome events ranging from community gatherings to ‘Knit and Natter’ evenings, the Foundry will also host sustainable events, pop-ups, talks, lectures, and even workshops on upcycling for school groups.
The creative hub will also help Ms Lehtinen, who recently won the ‘Best Woman in Sustainable Fashion’ award at Malta’s Best Business Woman Awards, to bring sustainability to the forefront of business. “I’m happy that I won this award, but more importantly that there was a category for sustainable fashion. I hope that this section will grow and we see many women entrepreneurs in sustainability,” she says.
With a €5,000 goal, the Zaar campaign will equip the VX Foundry with two single industrial sewing machines, an industrial overlocking machine, grommet press, heavy-duty sewing machine, basic embroidery machine, cutting table, tailor’s mannequin, steam iron and board, and five pairs of tailor’s scissors. There is also an open call for donations of any new or used sewing material or equipment, and amateur or professional sewing machines.
The campaign, which closes on December 5, includes stretch goals should it exceed its €5,000 funding goal. A further €2,500 would cover the costs of building an e-commerce website to sell the Foundry’s transformed clothing online and offer easy event-booking. With another €2,500 – taking the final total to €10,000 – the Foundry could kick-start its upskilling programme, in which five people learn upcycling skills to generate an income.
While every donation to the Zaar campaign helps counter fashion’s carbon footprint, backers can also expect to receive a reward according to the amount they contribute, such as workshops; discounts at The Foundry; upcycled tote bags with embroidered initials; or dog leashes. There are also opportunities for companies to boost their Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as industry partners of the VX Foundry, with a sustainability teambuilding presentation and activity or the addition of the company logo on advertising material for a year.
For more information or to donate towards Zaar’s THE VX FOUNDRY campaign, visit https://zaar.com.mt/projects/the-vx-foundry/.