This year for Fashion Revolution week we are shining the light on different individuals who are working to bring change to the fashion ecosystem. Whilst remembering the Rana Plaza incident, we wanted to focus on conscious fashion revolutionaries.
Meet Rafa Salti. She is a designer and also the manager of Mary's Living and Giving boutique for Save the Children in Highgate. With the shop now closed and herself on furlough, we find out how she has been doing during the pandemic and what she has been doing with her time.
How would you describe your current mood?
I start most days with a smile, grateful to have my partner and my cat, BUT that can go in all kinds of directions, I have had all the feels about the lockdown from ecstasy to breakdowns.
What effect has COVID 19 had on you and the business?
Our shop is a community hub for sustainable fashion and charity. Apart from trading, we also organise swap events and upcycling workshops. Sadly, all of our activities had to be put on hold. We are closed and that is causing us significant losses in fundraising.
What has been the biggest challenge during this period of lockdown?
My biggest challenge right now is to stay motivated and inspired in order to be prepared once we are back to normal. A big challenge for me as well is to stay connected and keep in touch with our community of supporters and volunteers.
What have you done during lockdown to innovate?
I don't know if I would call this an innovation but a dream of mine has been to start an upcycling brand where I use secondhand material to create beautiful and modern garments with minimal impact on the environment. The lockdown has allowed me to focus on that. I have set up a studio in our guestroom and hopefully, soon you will see my first capsule collection online.
What small act of kindness has someone shown you or that you have shown someone during the lockdown?
The sweetest thing ever for me is Clap For Our Carers Thursday. My favourite part is when the neighbours brought out anything they can bang on, tambourines, drums, pots, pans, buckets to make a big noise. I feel like we all came together in our gratitude for our heroes at the frontline.
How do you think this crisis will affect the fashion industry?
The impact of the epidemic on garment workers is disgraceful and I truly hope the fashion system will respond with a substantial and serious change. The collapse of the global supply chain is making it crystal clear that distributed economy and cultivating local resources is the way forward.
How do you think you will need to do things differently in your business post lockdown?
I would like to channel my current creative energy and self-reflection into growing my role as a designer working with ethical fashion.
What would you advise our followers to keep their spirits up during lockdown?
I'm not sure I can offer advice as I'm trying to figure out like everyone else. However, I do believe that self-care and kindness to others are the most important things to focus on under the circumstances.
A couple of things that have been working for me is doing a lot of natural herbs and oils baths and cooking healthy and delicious food. Also, having some sort of a schedule during the week that is different from the weekend keeps the days from feeling all the same.
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Find more about Mary's Living and Giving boutique's for Save the Children here
Check out Rafa's Instagram
Find out more about Fashion Revolution here