Amy Rafferty - The Velvet Underground
Vintage Clothing Store
How did you get started on this path of ethical fashion?
It all started with my very first business HMU Apparel. I used to make snowboarding hoodies from scratch and it was through that process that I realized the math didn't add up in regards to how many things were being produced by big brands and the prices they were selling it all for. From there, I transitioned to "eco" fabrics and then more upcycled and vintage until I knew too much about the negative effects of the fashion industry on the planet to make anything new out of virgin fabrics. So here we are today strictly selling vintage and secondhand, as well as upcycling pieces out of existing garments and textiles.
What is the problem with fast fashion?
There are so many problems with Fast Fashion. From the enormous quantity of clothing being produced, the slave labour, the toxic dyes and chemicals used to produce it, the huge amounts of waste created and the overconsumption it drives. The effects of fast fashion are catastrophic for the planet and us.
Fashion brands today produce 150 billion new items of clothing every single year, what's worse is 45 billion of these will never be sold due to overproduction.
On top of that these clothes were made at the hands of modern-day slavery, women children and people trapped in a poverty cycle in the global south.
Places like Africa, India, and South America are being exploited to make these clothes and then exploited again when we ship it back to them so that it can rot in their landfills, only nothing is "rotting" because 85% of modern clothing is made from plastic so it wont decompose but instead just leach microplastics into our water ways continuing to cause damage for hundreds of years after we are well and truly done using it.
Fast fashion has also destroyed our perception of worth and the value of clothing. We have been conditioned to expect a T-shirt to be the same price as a cup of coffee. Because billion dollar corporations are racing to the bottom of the pricing structure by exploiting the people in the supply chain. Now when someone makes something of High quality that cost what it's actually worth in order for the person to make a living wage, it's much more challenging to actually sell those items.
Therefore fast fashion continues to dominate the industry and we are left to drown in billions of tonnes of garbage textiles.
Where do you see The Velvet Underground going?
Our mission at Velvet is to change the landscape of the the fashion industry and our relationship with clothing. We aim to unify the secondhand clothing industry to make it more powerful than the billion dollar corporations that currently dominate the fashion space.
How are we going to do that exactly? We have a lot of ideas, but we're going to start by opening more stores and see where the mission takes us from there. Watch this space :)