Series Two

It’s the final episode of series two, and today we’re exploring the role of ethical brands in changing the fashion system. We ask, can an organic cotton t-shirt really change the world? We’re also joined in conversation with the brilliant Lora Gene who has plenty of advice on how new brands can build a sustainable business of their own. Lora also chats to us about the need for size diversity in ethical fashion, and why growing up in Bulgaria means sustainability has always been in her life.

This week we’re joined by the co-founder of Fashion Revolution, Orsola de Castro, as she releases her new book 'Loved Clothes Last'. Fashion Revolution has been instrumental in bringing the ethical fashion conversation into the public eye, and Orsola’s passion and knowledge for this subject is second to none. Listen to our conversation for advice on how we can all become fashion revolutionaries. You can purchase Orsola’s Book 'Loved Clothes Last' here.

What if instead of managing fashion waste, we designed it out instead? This week we were joined by Zero Waste Design Online, a collective community of designers, academics, home sewers and industry experts sharing knowledge on zero waste design processes through educational resources and collaborative workshops. Holly McQuillan and Cassandra Belanger join us to explore zero waste systems thinking that reduces textile waste across the entire fashion supply chain.

Repair is revolutionary, and today we are joined by two experts in this field to explore the power of sewing in combating the fast fashion system of consumption. First we spoke to Ros Studd, the creator of the free online resource for beginner home sewers, Repair What You Wear. Next we spoke to Siobhan McKenna, the designer behind the sustainable fashion brand ReJean Denim, and an expert in denim repair and alteration.

This week, we’re looking at the role of activists within the fashion industry, and how we can all ‘stay with the trouble’ to keep the conversation going, even when brands don't want to hear it. Our guest is Bel Jacobs, the former Metro fashion editor and founding member of Fashion Act Now alongside Alice Wilby and Sara Arnold. As a companion to this episode, we recommend reading Earth Logic, which you can access for free online here.

To round off 2020, here’s a solo episode from Ruth and Alice looking at the six biggest myths surrounding ethical fashion. Have a lovely festive period, everyone! We’ll be back with new content mid-January 2021.

In an ode to the lost Christmas party season, we’re chatting all things embellishment in this episode. Most of us know that plastic sequins are a sustainability nightmare, but have you ever thought about the people who hand stitch on those adornments? To chat about the role of these hand workers we’re joined by Uzma Bozai, whose eponymous label offers organic cotton sweatshirts with bold embellishments, crafted by artisans using traditional techniques.

Have you ever thought about who makes your jewellery? This week we talk with Audrey Migot-Adholla, founder of Yala Jewellery, the only jewellery company which is a certified B Corp in the UK. She's incredibly passionate about social justice, circularity and sustainability, as well as the wellbeing of her artisans.

‘Tis the season to consume! As we approach Black Friday and Christmas, we’re exploring if capitalism and ethical fashion can coincide, with the help of journalist and author Tansy Hoskins. Tansy also chats about the hidden world of footwear manufacturing, and why she’s quit Instagram for good.

Can fashion really be ethical unless it's circular? This week, we're chatting with circular economy design expert, Lynn Wilson, all about why fashion needs to be a 'closed loop system', and why we should value access over ownership. Lynn explains the reality of textile recycling and zero-waste design and how we as consumers can get more circular.

What does it mean to be an 'ethical influencer'? In this episode we chat with Besma Whayeb, sustainable fashion and lifestyle blogger at Curiously Conscious, and founder of the Ethical Influencers network. Besma shared with us her feelings about influencers’ role in the ethical fashion conversation, the issues of the Instagram echo chamber, and how we can all use our social media platforms for social change.

We’re back for series two! This week, we get back to basics in a conversation with Lauren Bravo. As a fashion writer and the author of ‘How to Break up with Fast Fashion’, Lauren chats to us about her personal journey towards a more sustainable wardrobe, as well as actionable tips for people looking to quit fast fashion for good.

Series One

It's our final episode of the first series! This week, we reflect on the Common Threads journey so far, and double down on our mantra of system change over lifestyle change. During a pandemic more than ever, it's perfectly okay to be 'imperfectly' ethical, and it's time to shift the blame to where it counts. Listen in for some recommended resources to take forward on your ethical fashion adventure.

This week's episode explores the topic of vintage fashion. With enough clothing already on the planet to last six generations, we look at how wearing old clothes can shrink your fashion footprint, and how vintage fashion can support women's livelihoods. We interview two vintage sellers, Lapoze MacTribouy from Sooki Sooki Vintage and Rachel Valentine from Strange Ray Vintage.

Alongside Ronke Fashola, founder of sustainable vintage-inspired womenswear brand Love Ur Look and course director of Fashion Promotion with Marketing at London Southbank University, we explore the lack of diversity in fashion and the importance of representation in corridors of power, not just on the catwalk. We also look at fatphobia in the fashion industry and the designers and content creators fighting to change the narrative.

In this episode, we're joined by climate justice, refugee rights and anti-racism activist Mikaela Loach to talk about intersectional activism within sustainable fashion. We explore the interconnectedness of social justice and sustainability, the marginalised people left out of the fashion conversation, and the importance of system change over lifestyle change.

During lockdown, thousands of us have been clearing out our wardrobes and flocking to resale sites like Depop. But building a great platform as a seller is harder than it looks. In this episode, Depop 'top seller' Lauranne Bourgeaux from 5th Season Vintage shares her top insider tips for making sales on the platform, and explains why second hand is not second best.

Rental fashion is often cited as THE solution to fashion circularity. But with the colossal environmental impact of dry cleaning, the lack of inclusivity, and consumers' deep-rooted attitude to ownership, we're asking: is rental all its cracked up to be? In this episode we chat to Eshita Kabra-Davies, the founder of UK rental service By Rotation. Eshita explains the benefits of rental to both the environment and the consumer, who’s been renting during lockdown, and how she sees our relationship with clothing ownership changing.

As many of us try to live more consciously, vegan diets and vegan fashion are more popular than ever. But does vegan always mean sustainable? Is all vegan leather just plastic? And how can vegan shoppers balance animals, people and the planet? We also interview Cat Anderson, owner of Edinburgh vegan clothing boutique Treen.

As fashion weeks around the world are replaced by digital events due to Covid-19, we're asking: is the catwalk dead? In this solo episode, we chat about what's wrong with fashion weeks from a sustainable standpoint, our personal experience of both digital and physical events, the class of 2020 fashion graduates, and why designers want to rewire the traditional fashion system.

Shopping small is a revolutionary act. In this episode, we explore the independent makers creating garments that are 'accidentally ethical', and why some small fashion labels are not just surviving but thriving during lockdown. In this episode we chat to indie brands Revival London and Collingwood-Norris about Coronavirus, the UK textile industry and the power of repair and upcycling.

Greenwashing is a term you’ll hear a LOT in the ethical fashion conversation, as well as its little sister ‘wokewashing’. But what do these phrases actually mean? How are brands greenwashing their way through the current crisis? And could consumers' changing needs in a post-Covid world result in more accountability from brands? In this solo episode we walk you through the 'seven deadly sins of greenwashing' and how to spot them.

Just in time for the re-opening of retail stores across England, we speak to Hannah Carter from Love Not Landfill to hear about the impact of Coronavirus on Britain's beloved charity shops, the future of the thrifting experience and how to get involved in the #LockdownDressUp campaign. We also look at where our unsold donations actually end up, and how they impact textile economies in the Global South.

Who's making our face masks, and are they being protected frim Coronavirus? And why is the NHS relying on imports to protect frontline workers when the UK manufacturing industry is raring to go? In this episode we talk to Holly Baxter-Weir, one of the founders of the For the Love of Scrubs campaign, to discuss the Scottish textile industry's mobilisation to support the NHS and the ethics of fashion face masks.

As the coronavirus pandemic first took hold, garment workers in countries like Bangladesh were some of the worst affected. Over £2.4bn of orders that had already been produced were cancelled or suspended, leaving the factories who produced them unable to pay workers. In this episode, we chat to Ayesha Barenblat, founder of Remake, who's #PayUp petition is campaigning for these brands to pay factories what they are due.

In episode two, we provide you with our take on ‘ethical fashion 101’, offering a glossary of the key terminology you’ll see as a conscious consumer.  Do you know your organic from your fair trade? What about the definitions of ‘greenwashing’ and ‘transparent’?  And can fashion truly be called ‘sustainable’ if it’s not ethical?

In episode one, we share our personal journeys from former fast fashion addicts to conscious consumers and ethical fashion activists. We touch on the current state of ethical fashion in 2020, including greenwashing, fashion’s impact on the climate crisis, the role of garment workers, and the business models of fast and slow fashion.