I wanted to kick off this blog by answering some FAQs about Riot & Return. But no-one knows about it yet, so there haven’t been any questions, let alone frequently asked ones! So, we made some up…
This all sounds nice, but aren’t you just giving a fancy name to using second-hand stuff, which loads of people do anyway?
Yes, that’s exactly what we’re doing! We’re not claiming to have invented anything new here – just finding a way to explain to ourselves, and others, the approach we’re taking. In fact, I think baby and children’s stuff is one of the most active areas of re-use, and so – with my sustainable fashion researcher’s hat on – I wanted to explore what that feels like from the inside.
What sort of stuff are you looking for?
Good question! In general, we’re both quite picky about our clothes and possessions, so we’re not going to indiscriminately grab anything that’s available to us. This creates an interesting tension with a desire to re-use, of course! Ideally, we’re looking for things which appeal to us aesthetically, which work well, and have been used – even loved – by others in the past.
Where will you get these things from?
Friends and family are kindly offering things to us, and we already have quite a few items, picked up over the years. We’re also looking out for things on eBay and in charity shops, second-hand shops, jumble sales etc. And making stuff too!
Why are you planning to make things, if you’re so keen on re-use?
I’ve always knitted and sewn things for myself to wear, and it seems natural to do that for a new baby. It’s part of ‘expecting’, I think: a nice, slow way of preparing yourselves for a new arrival, which requires more time and effort than picking up a pile of things in the shops. It involves re-use, in a way, because I’m going to try to use up the piles of materials that I already have. And making also means re-making: reworking and repairing existing items, and perhaps creating new little things from leftover big things. This should help us to keep more things in use for longer.
Does this mean nothing new, at all?
No, it’s not an absolute ban! We don’t want to put ourselves under unnecessary pressure. But we’re thinking of buying new as a last resort, rather than the default option.
What will you do with these clothes afterwards?
In principle, we’ll release them back into the fashion commons – although, depending on how special they are to us, we may save some pieces to pass on in the future.
Won’t this idea unravel when your child is old enough to express their own preferences about clothes?
And… remind us why you’re doing this, again?
On a personal level, to carry our approach to consumption forward into this new phase of our lives. There’s already so much stuff in the world – we want to be careful about adding to it. More broadly, I’d like to encourage others to see re-use, and making stuff at home, in a positive light.