clothing for change

Developing skills through the creative process of sewing

The process of learning to sew something from beginning to end acts as a mirror and helps to increase personal insight, motivation and confidence. Sewing is a tangible way for individuals to measure their progress and challenge any negative core beliefs previously held about their ability to learn and create

Bex Exell graduated from Foundation for Change’s NEXT Project in December 2015 and the year long Accredited Practitioner Training Level 3 course in March 2017. Through both, she realised that it was possible to take control of her life again and that there was a process that involved identifying and utilising the skills she already had…

Clothing for Change

I began a volunteering placement at FfC in June 2016. As I got to know FfC’S do-it- yourself ethic, I knew I could contribute and wanted to be a part of their innovative response to tackling economic and social disadvantage. I had initially wanted to create my own social enterprise where I could use the skills I already had as a tailor and teach others a craft very close to my heart. Not long after I began volunteering at FfC, we decided that it made sense to collaborate and launch this project under FfC. The idea of Clothing for Change was created.

There are two strands to the programme. The first is the development of a clothing brand where clothes I have designed and created myself are being sold on our online Etsy store. Money generated from sales is helping to raise funds for the project side which will start in 2018.

The training course
The aim of the training side of the project is to inspire confidence through the creative process, helping trainees identify and utilise skills they might not necessarily have known they had or used for a long while. The process of learning to sew something from beginning to end acts as a mirror and helps to increase personal insight, motivation and confidence. Sewing is a tangible way for individuals to measure their progress and challenge any negative core beliefs previously held about their ability to learn and create something from scratch. There will be practical sessions each week in a studio environment with sewing machines and equipment, and classroom based days to support the qualification they will study.

Developing Potential
Alongside learning the skills of garment construction and design, participants will complete a recognised Open College Network qualification over the six-month course. They will develop their communication skills, connect with others, and begin expanding their horizons. The latter part of the training will include days on becoming self-employed encompassing setting up an online business and financial management for individuals that want to take their skills further.

Future aims
My future aims for Clothing for Change are to further develop the brand so that it becomes a label that is sold initially locally in and around Shoreditch and later, beyond. Every piece of clothing sold comes with information about the project side of Clothing for Change and Foundation for Change itself so that awareness is raised with each sale – clothing with a conscience! I want to be able to run the project twice a year, working intensively with small groups of participants whose pieces will be sold online at the end of each cohort, effectively paying it forward so that they too will contribute to the project to help others.

We have already raised our first £300 for CfC though online sales. Please visit us at our Etsy store and like our Instagram page.

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