As the fitness and wellness industries continue to expand with more people seeking healthier and more active lifestyles, sales of Activewear are soaring (Business Insider, 2017). Activewear forms part of the fashion industry which is known for devastating environmental impacts and exploitation of workers globally (Fashion Revolution). Whilst there are incredible movements towards a more purposeful fashion industry, there seemed to be little focus on Activewear. I wanted to organise an event that connected consumers with the hands that made their Activewear, highlighted wellness brands who put sustainability at the heart of their business, and supported Fashion Revolution’s efforts to stimulate change for a better fashion industry. This led me to host Who made my Activewear?, a mini sustainability in wellness festival seeking to encourage more mindful consumption in the wellness industry and fundraise for Fashion Revolution.
Who made my Activewear? took place on Saturday 28th April 2018 at Benk + Bo in London, during Fashion Revolution Week. There was a pop-up shop, classes for mind and body, and an ‘Ethics in Activewear’ panel discussion.
As part of the event, six purposeful Activewear brands shared information on their fabrics and the factories they work with to provide greater transparency over their supply chains and connect consumers with the hands behind their Activewear: Adrenna London, Jilla Active, Silou London, Sports Philosophy, Starseeds and VYAYAMA. You can read what these brands had to say at www.whomademyactivewear.com
Founders or representatives from each brand spoke on the ‘Ethics in Activewear’ panel discussion hosted by Heather Knight from Fashion Revolution. Heather started the panel with her tips for a more sustainable sportswear wardrobe: buy less, make it last, fix it when broken, swap with friends, buy second hand and buy from conscious brands who use recycled, natural or innovative fibres. The brands then discussed how they’re addressing their social and environmental impacts, from using lower impact materials, working closely with their factories to ensure fair and safe conditions and looking to minimise the environmental impacts of packaging and distribution. They also touched on the challenges they face as small brands with little leverage in factories supplying some of the largest Activewear brands globally. It was an insightful hour behind the scenes of purposeful Activewear brands and I was overwhelmed with the incredible turnout that just about managed to fit into the beautiful Benk + Bo ground floor.
All six brands could be found at the pop-up shop, as well as other incredible wellness, lifestyle and beauty brands including: Rêve En Vert, AmaElla, Optiat, Nitara London, Home of Eco and YogaClicks. It was so wonderful to see people connect with these brands, ask questions and consider the impact of their purchases.
The classes included the perfect start to the morning with Caleb George‘s Early Risers Yoga and Phoebe Greenacre‘s Rise and Shine Vinyasa Flow to ensure you woke up well. I then taught BarreBodyLondon, Chiara Pellegrino’s butt-burning barre method, for those wanting a Saturday sweat. Our afternoon finished with Corinne Naomi‘s Contemporary Mat Pilates where you certainly felt your core, and Natalia Bojanic‘s beautiful meditation session Gratitude is Gold.
We also had a Circular Design Station ran by Felicitas Olschewski where you could learn about the principles of circular economy and design your own Activewear outfit with those in mind. Runway rental service Wear The Walk very kindly donated a voucher for the design competition winner, Fiona Cartmel!
To further fundraise for UK charity Fashion Revolution, we had a raffle with fantastic prizes from conscious wellness brands including Joe’s Tea Co., Yuhme, Freda, Natural Deodorant Co., and Danielle Copperman.
Overall, we raised a total of £125 for Fashion Revolution and gathered more than one hundred people to discuss mindful consumption and discover purposeful wellness brands. I hope this is just the start of championing sustainability in the fitness and wellness industries. I’ve already discovered a number of new Activewear brands striving to build their business addressing key environmental, social and economic impacts. We as consumers have the power to change the industry by asking questions and voting for the world we want with our wallets.
A special thanks to Domenic Pendino for capturing the action, to Eliza, Lily, Rose and Soph for being the best of friends and saving the day to help me out, to Oliver Ferris for being my rock, putting up with all the emails and organisation and project managing the day, and to all of those that came to support the event!