The Fashion Factory teaches youngsters how to make their own clothes in a fun and modern way and its energetic founder has great qualifications to make it all possible. Amanda Riley used to design clothes at the top end of the international fashion spectrum, working in Italy, Hong Kong and India after completing a degree in fashion design at Kingston University. Now, not only does she show students how to make a great dress out of a silk scarf, or make a one-off t-shirt, she also organises fashion shows at the 20th Century Theatre for the girls to model the clothes they have made.
Riley is interested in children understanding the clothes industry, thinking about throw away fashion and the impact it has on both working conditions of someone making cheap clothes and the environment. “I really believe that if children know how much effort goes into making garments they would understand how the pricing for Primark clothing is just wrong. The problem with fast fashion is you can’t recycle it in a charity shop because its not even good enough quality to re-sell.” Riley is also worried that sewing as a skill has been pushed off the curriculum in many schools. “We have the best fashion training in the world,” she says, “But now it is being pushed out of schools and not taken seriously by the government. Sewing teaches patience, it is good for self esteem and it gives a feel good factor.” She started off in a studio above the Lexi Cinema but now teaches seven classes of five girls a week in the ground floor of her Kensal Rise home. Riley has been running such popular fashion making sessions she is now full, but if you want to join the waiting list, email her at [email protected]