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FESTIVAL NEWS

Style Swap Social: Addressing The Links Between Trauma, Poverty and Sustainable Fashion

Fierce Futures CIC, the social enterprise dedicated to empowering women affected by sexual violence, is set to expand its innovative 'Style Swap Social' initiative opening up a conversation about the links between trauma, poverty and fast fashion’s textile waste problem. DEFRA reports indicate that the UK produces approximately 1.7 million tonnes of textile waste annually. To help mitigate this, 'Style Swap Social', backed by partners and a £29,163 grant from the Merseyside Recycling & Waste Authority (MRWA) and Veolia Community Fund 2023/24, aims to repurpose 45.72 tonnes of textile waste over a 10 month period. The project plans to engage an estimated 2,960 participants in Merseyside, and influence a broader audience of 25,500. It also provides skill-building opportunities for vulnerable women, converging environmental sustainability, community engagement, and empowerment into a single impactful initiative. The core of the project consists of four major 'Style Swap Social' events spread across the Liverpool City Region. These events incorporate a mix of live music, styling activities, and educational workshops on sustainable fashion practices. The first of these festival-themed events will be held on the 8th and 9th of July at the Lock and Quay in Bootle, an area characterised by socioeconomic challenges according to ONS data. Though it addresses serious issues, organisers have promised a fun day out, when event goers will be able to enjoy music from Bootle-based initiative Gals Who Gig.


In partnership with Style Swap Social and Fierce Futures CIC, a brand new music festival that is entirely run by women - aptly named WIMIN Festival - is scheduled to take place at the very same venue just two weeks later. WIMIN Festival is managed by, and designed to showcase and cultivate the talents of women in the music industry. However, a partnership between Scrapyard Studios and Fierce Futures CIC has led to both organisations supporting the delivery of these two projects, with attendees encouraged to take home a festval-style outfit to wear in the fields of WIMIN Festival on 29th July.


The initiative not only tackles textile waste but also seeks to provide a nurturing and safe space for women affected by trauma to learn, grow, and express their creativity through fashion in a safe, trauma aware environent. Research indicates a strong correlation between fashion and self-esteem (Hudders, 2011), highlighting the potential impact of initiatives like 'Style Swap Social' on those who have faced difficult life experiences, which has created a confidence barrier to accessing creative outputs and careers in the arts and digital.



Anna Grace Du Noyer, Director of Fierce Futures CIC and Project Manager of Style Swap Social, states, "Our events offer a lively and super fun environment for empowering people to make informed decisions about their fashion habits, promoting a sense of community and purpose - and fostering confidence boosting creativity through fearless self expression!" The project also offers hands-on experience in digital marketing, event management, design, and styling, further assisting those affected by trauma. Going “full circle” Director Anna says the project also aims to addresses socioeconomic disparities in Liverpool’s - and UK’s most deprived areas - including Bootle in July, and Birkenhead in October. People from lower-income backgrounds are more likely to experience trauma, leading to cycles of poverty and limited access to support systems (Wilkinson and Pickett, 2010).



To this end, 'Style Swap Social' offers a very low cost fashion fix and fun day out, where attendees swap unwanted clothes for vouchers that become currency to shop for second hand clothes. Going further, organisers are also offering ‘no questions asked’ free vouchers to those who need them, promoting accessibility to fashion as well as the feeling part of community at WIMIN Festival a coupe of weeks later. Fierce Futures CIC also extends its reach through online styling sessions and digital workshop packs for local groups to host their own 'Style Swap Social' events. Moreover, a 'Style Swap Challenge' on social media aims to stimulate further engagement with the cause. By championing environmental responsibility and social inclusion, Fierce Futures CIC and the 'Style Swap Social' initiative seek to drive a sustainable fashion conversation in the Liverpool City Region.



About Fierce Futures CIC: Fierce Futures CIC is a groundbreaking organisation dedicated to empowering women affected by sexual violence. Through projects like 'Style Swap Social', they provide skill-building opportunities, promote sustainable fashion practices, and foster a supportive community for healing and growth. About Scrapyard Studios CIC: Scrapyard Studios CIC is a not-for-profit organisation based in Bootle, offering inclusive workshops and activities for artists and creatives of all genders. Scrapyard Studios is dedicated to addressing the challenges women face in the events industry, striving to create a supportive and safe environment for female professionals in Liverpool's music scene.


About Scrapyard Studios CIC: Scrapyard Studios CIC is a not-for-profit organisation based in Bootle, offering inclusive workshops and activities for artists and creatives of all genders. Scrapyard Studios is dedicated to addressing the challenges women face in the events industry, striving to create a supportive and safe environment for female professionals in Liverpool's music scene.


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