For this week’s webinar Tamara Cincik, Founder and CEO of Fashion Roundtable, was joined by a fantastic panel of insiders who all share one common theme — highlighting the importance of communities to create a new normal for the fashion industry that reflects a collective, sustainable vision. Designers Patrick Scally of Trampery and Rahemur Rahman, alongside Jodi Muter-Hamilton, gave their account of when communities come together, or not in some cases.
Last year, Fashion Roundtable and the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Textiles and Fashion hosted GLOBAL BRITAIN / LOCAL STORIES at the beautiful V&A. An event which explored the cultures and identities which influence contemporary fashion within the UK. The webinar reflected back on this event to bring a fresh perspective, adding to the previous discussions by homing in on personal backgrounds — for instance, how people evolved from their own respected upbringings and communities to where they are now.
We witnessed barriers which had to be broken-down for those to realise their own true potential rather than relying on others to support their journey. Now we are seeing a movement of creative people trying to take this knowledge from their past to ensure our arts education is more inclusive and representative.
Currently, we’re hearing social mobility is in reverse. When it comes to class repesentation within the fashion industry, Jodi Muter-Hamilton — originally from Newcastle, now residing in London — explained that at one point she took the decision to tone down her geordie accent to fit within her role in the fashion industry.
Masking who you really are to move forward and fit the standards in the fashion industry, not your own — this just shines a light on the class divide in the fashion landscape and how class is perceived. I think we’ve all done this one way or another depending on who you talk to, especially when it comes to Jodi’s career as a communications and marketing expert having a passion for communication and how things translate vocally.
Life is a journey where we are conditionally looking inside ourselves and trying to piece together who we are, where we’re from and then figuring out what that all means. We’re all asking ourselves ‘well what am I? middle or working class?’ What does this mean within the creative industries, especially when it comes to job opportunities, and how they are bench marked within society?
Currently, we are seeing a surge of businesses and designers, such as Patrick Scally of Trampery and Rahemur Rahman, focusing their passions within communities and building on them through social enterprises. With this nature of work, they are drawing likeminded people (who also have a duty of care and desire to build up communities) into what they want to achieve.
In turn, they are mindful about who the local community is — creating for what’s building up around the areas, tapping into what ‘local’ truly means and sensitively embracing the diversity of these communities. In business models, such as the Trampery and Youth Clubs (which Rahemur Rahman supports), this has provided the local residents with a supported social ecosystem by re-engaging them.
Rahemur has been working closely with youth clubs to bring a sense of opportunity to communities and re-engage those that have pushed out economically. We all remember how they worked, the boys play football and the girls do crafts — but now using art as a hook, it gives everyone an opportunity to create. It allows budding creatives to reignite with their passion, which is something our education system lacks right now.
Meanwhile, Patrick is re-educating students — from primary school to further education — on textiles and design by opening creative dialogues. From teaching how to source fabrics to production of garments, his fashion hub is giving the younger years a chance to bring the ripple effect of these skills through the generations.
Throughout the webinar, Fashion Roundtable discussed how they can join the dots of the north and south divide, bringing more engagement from all parts of the country. At one point the team suggested going on a road trip, starting with Manchester!
Communities lie everywhere, now due to connecting remotely, this new way of working has brought more people to the table— from different timezones and different levels of society without elitism or snobbery. As we heard from the webinar panel, the fashion sector must continue in this trajectory where we no longer have to mask who we really are to get our foot in the door.
This is a system Fashion Roundtable are lobbying for — to give fashion a different landscape by improving representation and inclusion in the fashion industry.
It’s a lifetime of work and you can be part of this by completing the Fashion Roundtable survey ‘Are You Being Represented? . Don’t be an outsider, come in and have your say. #ThereIsStrengthInCommunity
If you’d like to watch the Webinar in full, please click HERE.
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