- 06 Mar 20
Sustainable Fashion Dublin co-founders Taz Kelleher and Geraldine Carton discuss the collective's origins, their not-so-sustainable pasts and respecting clothing beyond its inherent worth.
“We all know that fashion is cyclical”, Taz Kelleher says. “So why are we recreating 90s fashion? Why don't we just wear the 90s fashion that's out there?”
The Sustainable Fashion Dublin co-founder poses a fair question, knowing the earth already holds more clothing than we need.
Over time, we’ve grown accustomed to fast fashion, in which many brands produce high volumes of low quality clothing to keep up with the revolving door of short-lasting trends. In turn, our wardrobes have grown full of cheaply made clothing often worn only a handful of times. And from the resources dispensed to grow materials for clothing to the chemical processes used in manufacturing, keeping up with this demand for new styles has obvious devastating effects on the environment.
Clothing “needs to be expensive to respect the earth that it comes from, to respect to the hands that the clothing has touched, to pay the workers correctly”, explains Taz. “Our grandparents would have invested in clothing. We've just become used to this idea that clothing is cheap”.
Taz co-founded the collective with Geraldine Carton in late 2018. While people may assume the pair are lifelong friends, they only met in the last two years in a fortunate stroke of serendipity. Podcaster Taz posted on Instagram saying that she wanted to organize a swap shop. Eager to get involved, Geraldine, a freelance journalist, messaged her. A couple days later, the pair met for a pint, and Sustainable Fashion Dublin was born soon after.
Through documentaries like The True Cost and RiverBlue and other research on the industry, the pair built their knowledge on sustainable fashion and haven’t looked back.
“Once you have all that information, it's hard to go back. So I think that those kinds of factors really galvanized us to keep going, so now it's our full time job”, Geraldine reflects.
Originally started as a side passion project, Sustainable Fashion Dublin has since hosted over 100 events and amassed over 27 thousand followers on Instagram. Events include swap shops, charity shop crawls, educational talks and flea markets. Knowing that mending and upcycling have declined with the ease of replacing torn or unwanted clothing, they also teach workshops to help others extend the life of their garments.
The collective has attracted like-minded individuals of all ages and across the island of Ireland. And their enthusiasm for charity shopping is reflected by their growing community, who often tag them in photos of their one-off finds.
Pointing to the clothes you already own, second hand clothing from friends and charity shops and sustainably made clothing, they aim to educate and encourage others to engage in more conscious consumption. After all, living sustainably involves a mindset of respecting resources. Despite their name, Sustainable Fashion Dublin goes beyond the scope of clothing as well. Each week, the pair take a deep dive into an area of sustainability, creating a series of stories saved on their Instagram.
While Taz and Geraldine are champions of sustainable fashion, their wardrobes weren’t always so environmentally friendly. As a journalist involved in fashion, Geraldine was once “knee-deep in the fast fashion industry”. Taz on the other hand was always a charity shopper, but she was in it for the thrill of browsing through rails for unique finds.
They’ve found that their shifting relationships with fashion make them more relatable. After all, the movement isn’t about a handful of people being perfect but a lot of people making incremental changes, Geraldine points out.
“We're just trying our best, and we're learning alongside everyone else”, Geraldine laughs. “We've got our pasts. Our skeletons in our sustainable closets”.
Learn more about Sustainable Fashion Dublin and their upcoming events @sustainablefashiondublin on Instagram.