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Manchester Fashion Movement A Manchester Couture d'Etat

Now Then spoke to Manchester Fashion Movement – a new ethical fashion CIC – ahead of their debut pop-up department store at Stretford Mall.

With a stated mission ‘To future-proof our world thru’ fashion’, Manchester Fashion Movement has set its sights high.

The organisation was formed by Camilla Cheung and Alison Carlin, a pair of progressive thinkers whose careers in the industry have converged on the shared desire to see a more sustainable fashion trade. As a Community Interest Company (CIC), Cheung and Carlin have drawn up an ambitious manifesto to effect real change through encouraging us all to take responsibility – from urging transparency by brands to educating consumers about our buying choices.

This week marks their first foray into the real world as Manchester Fashion Movement, with stalls, workshops and discussions all scheduled during their four-day stay at a unit in Streford Mall.

Camilla took time out from their pop-up department preparations to answer our questions about what’s in store.

MFM Stretford Mall pop up

The debut pop-up department store for MFM is at Stretford Mall from 28 July to 1 August 2021

Manchester Fashion Movement

What has been your journey to establishing MFM as a Community Interest Company?

We came together early last year when we attended an event together and, after many conversations about engaging people in a more conscious lifestyle, we decided to join forces and MFM was born. It was always important to us about giving back; therefore, CIC status was the perfect fit. The last year has posed many setbacks for us, but we have persevered and we firmly believe we can help make a positive difference for communities around us.

How do you hope to achieve social impact through fashion?

Due to the fact that everyone needs to wear clothes most of the time, talking about fashion and clothing seemed like the easiest route into opening up the broader conversation of the climate emergency. Our aim is to communicate the message through educational workshops and performance pieces and the launch of our department store. We believe, once you know the facts around how damaging our consumption behaviours are, you will want to do something to help redress that.

Your debut pop-up department store opens on 28 July at Stretford Hall. How will it differ from the high street shopping experience?

Stepping into the space, you will be immersed into a world of local brands, conversations around a more conscious lifestyle, and imagery that evokes sustainable practices. We're providing this concept store experience for people in Greater Manchester that may never have seen these businesses online, all the while giving exposure to brands with purpose.

What types of skills will workshop attendees be able to learn?

Drop-in workshops will be things like mending to make things wearable once more, learning how to crochet, using dead stock pieces of denim to make shopping bags, with tips on how to manage any anxiety you may have when it comes to fashion and the fashion industry. We have teamed up with Stitched Up and mental health podcast host Rebecca Ryder of Same Shit, Different Brain to offer these experiences live in store.

MFM Fashion and Mental Health

Rebecca Ryder is to host a discussion on fashion and mental health at the MFM pop-up department store at Stretford Mall, 28 July from 6pm to 8pm

Manchester Fashion Movement

What made you choose mental health challenges in the fashion industry as a topic for the discussions?

We are so targeted when it comes to fashion; what's in fashion, what not to wear – the list goes on…

All of this can cause people to feel pretty overwhelmed. Equally, clothing can bring joy and happiness when shopping - for example, with a brand that has a social conscience.

Add to this making the right decisions and the pressures that come with shopping more responsibly, knowing where to begin, you can feel somewhat lost. Eco anxiety is a thing for many of us as we try to forge a new path in this world whilst trying to remain positive. We hope to deliver an informative and solution-led discussion, providing techniques which can help us move forward in creating a fairer fashion world, from here in Manchester.

Was the venue an important choice for you?

Yes – our aim has always been to bring this message and showcase local creatives to all areas of Greater Manchester. It's important that we go to the communities and actively work to educate and support around the broader issue of the climate emergency.

MFM Drop in Wardrobe

Drop-in Wardrobe at Manchester Fashion Movement surgery workshop, 28 July from 3pm to 4.30pm at Stretford Mall

Manchester Fashion Movement

Where will we be able to find MFM after the pop-up?

We are on the move, taking our MFM Department Store around GM – keep an eye on our socials for the next destination!

How else can people learn about ethical fashion?

We recommend watching things like:

Learn more

The debut pop-up department store by Manchester Fashion Movement runs from Wednesday 28 July to Saturday 1 August at Streford Mall. The launch party is on Thursday 29 July from 7-10pm. You can sign up for Rebecca Ryder's discussion on 28 July (6-8pm) via the Eventbrite link below.

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