Can you tell us a little more about TRAID and the vision behind it?
TRAID is a charity all about reusing textiles. TRAID stands for Textile Recycling for Aid and International Development, what we aim to do is to divert textiles from landfill, educate people on reuse/mending/the environment, and with the money raised we put it back into the textile industry. This means, for example, we might fund a cotton farm to become organic, or pay for birth certificates for the children of garment workers in Bangladesh. Ultimately I think we want to reduce the amount people consume when it comes to fashion and therefore create less waste going into landfill, continue to educate people on environmental and ethical issues caused by fashion, and hope that ethical fashion standards are raised all over the world!
How long have you been working at TRAID and what do you do there?
I have been working at TRAID for a little over two years. I started as a donation sorter, sorting clothes and accessories into different categories and picking out things especially for specific TRAID stores. A few months in I started to freelance as an education facilitator, teaching upcycling and mending workshops in various venues and events. I continue to do that, but I quit working as a sorter and in January started working as the Recycling Administrator part time! I’ve really enjoyed all of my roles there and hope to work there for many more years.
What are the most exciting things you’ve been part of whilst working for Traid?
This is a tough question…I would say it is a general thing rather than specific, to know that I am a part of something that is doing a lot of good for people and the environment is very fulfilling. I feel that when I am at work I am actually doing something really great and worthwhile.
Can you take us through the journey of a piece of clothing at TRAID?
So from entering our warehouse via home collections, donation banks, or our charity shops it gets sorted into categories by hand, and then sent to one of our shops! Because TRAID is a charity the money made in our shops is reinvested into the variety of global projects I mentioned that improve conditions and working practices in the textile industry.
Why should people choose TRAID over regular shops?
I think that people should chose TRAID rather than other high street shops because it is the most affordable way to buy both ethically and sustainably! It’s so much better to buy second hand compared to buying unethical, cheaply made clothes that often all look the same. I personally find it a lot more enjoyable buying clothes from TRAID, it’s a real adventure digging through the rails and seeing different things every time you go in.
Thanks Brandy! Now let’s talk about #Secondhandfirst. #Secondhandfirst was launched by TRAID in 2014, with the goal of increasing the number of people committed to sourcing more of their clothes (and their general needs) second hand. The reality is, the world already has a lot of stuff in it, and we just don’t always need to be producing more, TRAID wants to ‘change the world by keeping the resources we already have in use for longer.’ Amen guys. The first thing you can do is sign the #Secondhandfirst pledge on the TRAID website, which is simply a commitment to sourcing more of your wardrobe second hand. (If charity shops aren’t your thing don’t panic! Vintage, Ebay, Depop, upcycling… the possibilities are endless here!) You can also upload a picture of yourself in your favourite second hand clothes with the #Secondhandfirst hashtag, getting involved on social media is always a great way to be part of a community of likeminded people, it’s also a great place to find inspiration, new ideas and collaborations! However, the coolest thing is that every year TRAID hosts a #Secondhandfirst WEEK! A whole week! This is a week jam packed with events and actions across the UK and the world to focus on the environmental and ethical importance of second hand shopping. This year isn’t until November, so there’s no excuse to not get involved as I’m telling you nice and early! I’m hoping there’ll be some cool workshops, I love getting stuck in and practical but I don’t have a lot of skills (welp) so here’s hoping TRAID can teach me some.
All in all, TRAID is just a dreamboat, and it’s so easy to get involved. If you find yourself in London pop into a store, I and many a Londoner can personally vouch for them, plus remember their clothes are hand sorted and selected by pros. And get involved with #Secondhandfirst no matter where you are. If you’re doing something with secondhand items, or if you just want to run an event wherever you are, you can contact TRAID through their website and be part of the movement. And if you do, let me know! I really do believe that together we can change the face of the fashion world, and I want to champion every single one of you.
Until next time, stay magic y’all.