Please sign the petition here
This year’s London Repair Week is currently running until 22nd March. It has also been ruined by the organisers allowing fast fashion behemoth, Primark to become a main sponsor. This was seemingly done by ReLondon, London Recycles and ultimately the Mayor’s Office without informing the many grassroots partners and contributors who help create this event and lend it legitimacy.
This means despite much reference to ‘Local Repair Heroes’ the organisers have allowed Repair Week London to be co-opted by a major fashion brand whose business model is famously predicated on selling new clothes and linear production – take, make and waste. This is the antithesis of the mission behind the event and the grassroots participants who make the event possible and credible.
This alliance with Big Fashion is not just inappropriate but undermines and risks irrevocably damaging any trust that the grassroots repair movement and participants can have in ReLondon through an association with toxic corporate greenwash.
On the rare occasion where the organisers have responded to the backlash over Primark’s sponsorship, they have parroted the brand’s line of change (thus doubling down on the whole problem). A new white paper by analysts Veronica Bates Kassatly and Professor Prof. Dorothée Baumann-Pauly from the Geneva Centre for Business and Human Rights reveals the disinformation and spurious data sets that prop up Big Fashion’s sustainability claims.
Given the London Assembly Environmental Committee’s new recommendations on reducing waste and increasing repair, London Repair Week is simply too important to be ruined like this – it cannot be beyond repair. This petition calls on the organisers to return London Repair Week to the Grassroots Repair Movement by meeting the following obligations:
– Providing proper financial support for the event and wider Repair Goals, as recommended by the London Assembly Environment Committee, the mayor’s office and public bodies. The goal of reducing waste, emissions and cost will not be met without proper funding for real work.
– Complete transparency in discussions with businesses over London Repair Week and sponsorship packages, and an undertaking that only private businesses that can prove they are circular economy businesses, with labour rights and systemic carbon removal at their heart, can be considered.
– Organisers, ReLondon and London Recycles, must work transparently and respectfully with grassroots organisations to develop this event, due care must be paid to the input of grassroots activists, their IP and their mission. Their work cannot be jeopardised.
– That London councils involved in Repair Week London consider and take advice on how to increase participation in and communicate repair to new audiences.
– To ensure that this event is protected in future and in the interest of restoring trust, we would welcome an explanation from the organisers and mayors of London’s office as to how this sponsorship occurred in the first place.
Why is this important?
The Grassroots repair movement is not here to be used as window dressing for the contested sustainability ambitions of major fast fashion corporations. This is not the first time a Big Fashion brand has co-opted an important sustainability event for its own ends. We know from bitter experience that the wrong sponsorship can destroy an important movement. It distracts from the deep work that needs doing and ultimately reinforces a status quo that creates more stuff, more waste, and more emissions.
Founding Signatories: The Restart Project; Lucy Siegle, journalist; Tansy Hoskins, journalist, Aja Barber, author; Livia Firth, sustainable fashion campaigner; Eco Age; Ealing Repair Cafe; Repair What You Wear; Hackney Fixers; Sustainable Hackney; Emma Mathews, Socko; Ros Studd, Repair What You Wear; Sophie Benson, journalist; West London Restarters, Hillingdon Friends of the Earth, Transition Tooting; Zack Polanski, Green Party London Assembly Member; Olivia Pinnock, journalist; No Sweat, & Brett Staniland, model and sustainable fashion editor.
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