The Revolutionaries: Emma Slade Edmondson
Welcome to our Fashion Revolution Week interview series, The Revolutionaries. We wanted to shine the spotlight on a group of women in our extended sustainable fashion community who inspire us to not only change our own habits, but to contribute to greater change. We caught up with them about their lives in lockdown, their thoughts on sustainable fashion amidst this crisis, and where fashion needs to go next. Today, meet Emma Slade Edmondson. Emma is a Creative Strategic Director and writer with a focus on social change and sustainability. She is the founder of ESE consultancy, which works to elevate brands that have a desire to do social or environmental good, and the CMO at the Sustainable Lifestyle Awards. Emma’s clients and projects include working with Cancer Research UK on their fashion retail brand and offering, Shelter and Fashion Revolution. As a recent Tedx speaker, she used the platform to speak about how clothing really is the fabric of our lives and what we do with it is our legacy. Keep scrolling to read our conversation.
Where are you writing this?
From my (very pink) home studio/ office in South London
What quote/ mantra is getting you through this?
‘Each one of us has lived through some devastation, some loneliness, some weather superstorm or spiritual superstorm, when we look at each other we must say, I understand. I understand how you feel because I have been there myself. We must support each other and empathise with each other because each of us is more alike than we are unalike.’ Maya Angelou
What has made you laugh this week?
All the Tiger King memes on the internet and my husbands silly dancing in the kitchen.
What won’t you ever take for granted again post quarantine?
Being outside with nature. Being in the same room as family and friends. The feeling of the sunlight on my face. Flowers growing from the ground.
Which small businesses are you loving and would like to give a shout to?
KTgillies surface design
What sustainable message would you like to share this Fashion Revolution week?
That this is the perfect opportunity to show love to your existing wardrobe, to learn how to mend and to reflect on the time and care that went into the making of each and every piece of clothing you own. Especially now that we are stuck inside and potentially have some more time on our hands. And if you love fashion, it’s time for us to re-educate ourselves on what the fashion industry looks like now and to reimagine what it could look like in the future.
What issue in the industry has this crisis highlighted that you want to help solve?
The blatant disregard both companies and we as humanity have had for the garment workers making our clothes for so long. It’s time we took stock, and action. The way we have seen companies operate in the face of COVID, leaving the most important people in their supply chain at risk or without livelihood is incredibly callous.
Whose actions have inspired you during this time?
Everyone…. from the postman to every nurse and doctors and elderly care home staff. I think our key workers are incredibly inspiring. Even my friends are doing unexpected inspiring things. My friend Annabel recently set up Scrubhub (a network of seamstresses and sewers across the country) making much needed scrubs for doctors and nurses during COVID.
What is your hope for the future of fashion?
I hope this is a wake up call that can speak to the unsustainable system fashion operates on. I hope this has forced people to slow down and realise that we don’t need all this excess, we don’t need newness on tap, we don’t need new seasons upon new seasons of collections and we certainly don’t need to consume to excess to be happy.