Cross-party support for sustainable fashion at event

Published: 17 May 2024

Senedd members from Welsh Labour, Welsh Conservatives and Plaid Cymru turned out for a sustainable fashion exhibition sponsored by Julie Morgan MS on Tuesday 14 May.
Coalition with Huw Irranca Davies
Coalition members of Sustainable Clothing and Textiles Cymru with Huw Irranca-Davies, Cabinet Secretary for Climate Change and Rural Affairs

Senedd members were encouraged to wear something pre-loved or second-hand to the event, organised by Sustainable Clothing and Textiles Cymru (SCTC), a group of organisations and Wales-based businesses, which includes Sustainable Fashion Wales, Keep Wales Tidy (Eco-Schools Wales), Repair Café Wales, Play it Again Sport and Friends of the Earth Cymru. 

Around 80 people attended, including Senedd Members from Welsh Labour, Welsh Conservatives and Plaid Cymru. The event opened with a series of TED-style talks from Helen O’Sullivan from Sustainable Fashion Wales, Phoebe Brown from Repair Café Wales, Stephanie Matthews from the Young Darwinian, Natasha Burnell from Play it Again Sport and Clare Johns, who owns a Welsh wool clothing business.

Speakers at the event
Panel discussion and Q&A at the event

The audience made insightful contributions and discussions focused on a range of subjects including supply chains and the need to decolonise the fashion industry.

After the panel discussion and Q&A, Senedd members had the opportunity to browse the exhibition and learn more about the great work already happening across Wales.

Stallholders included Sustainable Fashion Wales, the Cardiff School of Art and Design at Cardiff Metropolitan University, Repair Café Wales, Newport Wastesavers Nappy Library, Stitch and Stable, Gower College Swansea and Welsh Wool.

Stitch and Stable
Stitch n Stable stand

A highlight was Keep Wales's Study's stall which featured a huge blue container, made from bamboo canes and sky blue fabric, to represent the amount of water used to make one teeshirt. A very heavy suitcase was placed alongside the blue container to show how much CO2 was produced from one teeshirt.

Senedd members found out about microplastics and the the fascinating citizen work that is happening in the community to test for this harmful and invasive phenomenon of microplastic pollution across Wales.

Pupils from Ysgol Gymraeg Caerffili, who had recently tested for microplastics in the grounds of their school, came to the event.


Before the event drew to a close, Huw Irranca-Davies (for Welsh Labour) and Natasha Ashgar (for the Welsh Conservatives) outlined their party's commitment to sustainable fashion. Llyr Gruffydd who had planned to speak (or Plaid Cymru), had to leave early, but several Plaid Cymru Senedd Members were at the event and were engaged on the issue.


Julie Morgan MS, sponsor of the event, said:

“I’m so pleased to be sponsoring this important event on sustainable fashion that is a collaboration of fantastic organisations here in Wales working together to showcase the work that is already being done to help our environment and how we can all help further. Thank you to all of the organisations involved for their hard work, I’m hugely looking forward to the event”.


Helen O’Sullivan from SustFashWales (Sustainable Fashion Wales) said:

“The environmental and social impacts of the global fast-fashion industry are, thankfully, becoming more acknowledged in mainstream society, however there is still so much we all need to do.

“This event is such a fantastic opportunity to not only showcase the incredible, pioneering, sustainability work of fashion individuals and organisations across Wales but also to further raise awareness of the issues. If just one person leaves the event rethinking their approach to their own fashion consumption, then I feel it’s been a great success!”


Bryony Bromley, Education (Eco-Schools Wales) Manager for Keep Wales Tidy, said:

"It is fantastic to bring the crucial discussion on the sustainability of our clothing choices to the Senedd today. Each individual wields the power to make positive choices regarding their purchases and the lifecycle of their garments. Understanding the impact of our daily decisions is the initial stride towards crafting a more sustainable future. We're witnessing a promising movement for change in our Eco-Schools across Wales as they implement more sustainable practices with school uniforms. We aspire to expand this initiative to encompass all clothing and footwear."


Phoebe Brown, Director of Repair Café Wales, said:

“There are so many brilliant and innovative solutions to the challenges brought about by the fashion industry which can already be found in our communities in Wales, including over 100 repair cafes across the country. 

“This event is a great opportunity to celebrate and learn from what we are already doing so well whilst also harnessing momentum for further, vitally needed, progress.”

In 2022 Sustainable Clothing and Textiles Cymru (SCTC) launched their report, entitled ‘Fashioning Wales’s Future – our path to sustainable fashion and textiles’.

The group are calling on the Welsh Government to ensure every school in Wales can provide a school uniform and sports kit swap shop to make school uniforms more affordable, lessen the stigma around second-hand clothing, and empower people to make sustainable decisions.

SCTC is also calling on the Welsh Government to bring together an expert group to look into the issues surrounding microplastics and the solutions to stop plastic microfibres polluting land and water courses around Wales. The group advocates introducing a new Sustainable Fashion and Textile Director role within the Welsh Government to ensure action across all sectors is joined up and works for people, jobs, communities, and the environment in Wales. 

Fast fashion is estimated to be responsible for around 8-10% of global emissions. The fashion industry ‘dries up water sources and pollutes rivers and streams, while 85% of all textiles go to dumps each year. Even washing clothes releases 500,000 tons of microfibres into the ocean each year, the equivalent of 50 billion plastic bottles

Fashion students from the Cardiff School of Art and Design
Fashion students from the Cardiff School of Art and Design


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