South West England Fibreshed is part of the global Fibershed movement of local initiatives reimagining the way that we make and wear our clothing. By reconnecting ‘fashion’ with farming, we are building bioregional systems for clothing production that can nourish, rather than exhaust, our communities and biosphere.
Between January and March 2021 South West England Fibreshed founder/director Emma Hague and filmmaker Hatty Bell went on the road to better understand the natural fibre industry that lies on our own doorstep. Launched at London Fashion Week 2021 as part of their digital programme and selected by the British Fashion Council’s Institute of Positive Fashion as a 2021 ‘Sourcing’ Innovator, the film brings to life the Fibreshed mission of reconnecting the worlds of fashion and farming, told by fibre farmers and processors in the South West who are working ground-up to make our domestic natural fibre resources available to industry.
Central to the Fibreshed ethos is the soil-to-soil model for clothing production (see below), predicated on utilising 100% natural fibre and dye sources and harnessing Nature’s own processes to cycle these resources in a regenerative system that puts Earth first. Making and wearing fashion as we are, we’re on a path to 75% of our clothing being made from fossil fuels within the next ten years. Alternatively, we could be using fibres grown in parallel with food in holistic, mixed farming systems that nourish our soils, ecosystems and biosphere. These same fibres can be processed using simple mechanical processes and at the end of their life cycle will naturally biodegrade and return their nutrients back to the soil, without leaving a residue of plastic pollution and without requiring the facilitation of high energy or chemical intensive processing. The Fibershed soil-to-soil model is Nature’s own circular economy; a means of producing fashion in balance with, and within the bounds of, our natural environment and the resources that it affords us.