A REALITY TV contestant from Ryedale has spoken out about “fast fashion” and the real cost of the clothes we wear.

Janet Poole, who lives in Beadlam with her husband David, took part in the most recent series of The Great British Sewing Bee and has been making clothes since her mum taught her to sew when she was 16.

However, Janet, 71, who came fifth on the BBC2 show, despairs of the current fad for “fast fashion”.

She said: “I understand the desire to buy, wear and discard, then move on, but we have to consider the future of our planet.

“I think the high street is an exciting place to follow fashion as it happens now, [but] I feel sad that it is not always produced in the best conditions.

“It de-values the work and care we take in the garments we produce as home sewers.

“Often people ask me to make things, but are dismayed at the cost when they can buy ‘similar’ items for a fraction from the high street.”

After a break of 20 years when her three children were growing up, Janet, who formerly owned a wool shop, a dress shop and a custom embroidery business, was inspired to take up sewing again by The Great British Sewing Bee.

And she hopes others will be inspired too: “[It] was the most fun thing I have ever done. I hope we have inspired people to have a go and encouraged them to re-use cast-off clothing.

“It really opened my eyes to the possibilities.”

Janet was recently a guest at a homegrown sewing bee-style event in York and hopes to start teaching in the near future.

She said: “I feel, for me, the way ahead is for one-to-one tuition and to show people how to repurpose charity shop buys.

“I am also doing talks for a number of organisations and will be at the York Learning Fashion Showcase.”

She now mostly makes items for herself and her four young grandchildren, who she laments are not interested in taking up the hobby themselves: “They love it when I make things and love to choose their own fabrics, so that’s a good start.”