Thursday, April 29, 2021

In a bid to combat her own spending habits and overconsumption, she decided to buy no clothes for an entire year.


By Joe Barrett

A fourth generation sewer from Emo has won a prestigious award for her needlework.

Miriam Keegan, a school teacher from Emo won the Fulbright-EPA Student award to study her masters in fashion and sustainability this coming autumn in the USA.

Miriam is the fourth generation of sewers in her family which dates back to her grandmother creating Irish lace in Cornamona, Galway.

While studying fashion design, Miriam said that she was horrified by the waste and damage the fast fashion industry was causing the environment.

She said: “The fast fashion industry is one of the largest contributors to climate change and our overconsumption of fast fashion adds to the problem daily. In fact, one truckload of clothes is dumped and wasted every second.

In a bid to combat her own spending habits and overconsumption, she decided to buy no clothes for an entire year and saved approx. 300kg of carbon emissions in 2020 by re-wearing her already loved clothes, mending garments that were in need of repair and even upcycled old garments that were in need of a new lease of life.

She said she understands “how useless we can sometimes feel not being able to do more to combat climate change,” and now wants to change that.

In 2020, Miriam launched the online course for primary school teachers ***Education for Sustainable Development Using Fabric and Fibre***, which taught about sustainability and the challenges of fast fashion and gave people the opportunities and resources to bring it into the classroom.

Miriam said: “By teaching children how to sew, they are being set up for a more sustainable life as they will know how to mend, upcycle and care for their clothes.”

In 2021, after a year of buying no clothes, the ***No Clothes Commitment Challenge*** was created.

Miriam said: “This is a climate change movement for people to take in order to meaningfully reduce their carbon emissions and save some money. Anyone can join this challenge for free, all you have to do is sign the pledge on

Miriam said that she now looks forward to continuing her studies in the USA as she plans to provide more awareness, education and upskill people on the ***UN Sustainable Development Goals 2030*** through the medium in which we are all influenced by and wear on a daily basis – clothing.

The online summer course for primary teachers will commence on Thursday 1 July.

For more details log onto

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