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“Mending Box” sessions at Ilkley café spearhead Sustainable Fashion Week

Becky outside the OTB Café

Each year, Sustainable Fashion Week sets out to inspire individuals to rethink their approach to fashion and textiles. This year, Outside the Box, Ilkley’s own community café, has paired up with Becky Davies-Downes, a textiles expert and former television costume professional, to run “The Mending Box” sessions.

The sessions at the café will take place from 10am-12pm on Saturday 30th September and 7th October and will be an open-door event where the public can bring along an item of clothing and learn the art of mending and extending the life of their clothing. A growing demand for these skills has inspired the project which will pinpoint Ilkley as a regional standout of the environmental campaign.

Becky's expertise in fashion and clothing from 1940s wartime Britain, deeply rooted in the 'make do and mend' philosophy, will empower visitors to pick up a needle and continue the tradition of preserving beloved wardrobe pieces.

Expressing her enthusiasm for this project, she says, "I'm thrilled to partner with Outside the Box for this project. The community spirit embodied by this venue perfectly aligns with the principles of 'make do and mend.' Community and skill-sharing were pivotal to the success of this wartime initiative, and they remain central to my work today as I teach people the essential skills needed to repair and extend the lifespan of their clothing. I hope this collaboration with Outside the Box will endure as a valuable resource within our community even after Sustainable Fashion Week concludes for another year.”

Becky demonstrating mending techniques

Becky has been running similar workshops at the café this year and hopes that opening them up on a larger scale will prove to be a mutually accessible launchpad to inspire more of Ilkley’s residents to reuse, make do and mend. The doors of the shop adjoining the Outside the Box Café on South Hawksworth Street will be open from 10am and a warm welcome will greet anyone interested in coming along to the session.

Sustainable Fashion Week takes place from September 23rd to October 8th, the international event aims to encourage a more sustainable relationship with clothing and this year.

For more information on other local events contact “The Stitch Society” a leading advocate for sustainable fashion, which will spearhead the Bradford Hub and host a series of engaging events at various venues across the district, all designed to prompt reflection on textile consumption and foster a more sustainable wardrobe.

For further information on “The Mending Box” or the work of the charity email or call 01943 431173. For further details about Becky and her work, please see


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