The general idea: then and now

Riot & Return started life in 2007 as the concept for a childrenswear library, with handmade pieces available by subscription. These garments would be exchanged as the child grew, lent out time after time, and repaired and altered as needed.

I planned to run this library as a sister enterprise to my knitwear label, Keep & Share, in order to explore service-led ideas for sustainable fashion. In the end the amount of work required outweighed the time I had available, and I parked the initiative at concept stage.

In 2015, I’ve decided to reinvigorate the concept of Riot & Return, because I’m expecting my first child.

The underpinning ideas are broadly similar, but the rules of the game have changed. I’m now looking to ‘borrow’ from all of the lovely things already existing in the world, rather than creating a new library of items myself. And the scale is much more modest – this is a personal, one-family experiment, rather than a viable commercial enterprise.

As part of my PhD research, I developed the notion of fashion as a commons: a shared resource that we can all draw on. I see this commons as encompassing physical garments, as well as less tangible elements such as traditions and styles. Riot & Return is about my husband Simon and I exploring the commons to select things (clothes and other accoutrements) for our baby. We’ll be gathering existing items, but also using the many materials, patterns and instructions that we’ve collected over the years to make and remake our own pieces.

This website is a record of our exploration.

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