Amazing to think this Sew it Again year of upcycling is nearly done, with only two days remaining in what has been an incredible journey of creativity, persistence and hard work, if I do say so myself!
Reflecting on learnings from the process of action research during the past 365 days, here are some thoughts of what upcycling means to individuals who chose to engage in it:
Creative – Upcycling is creative problem-solving, you need to envisage different ways of making cast-offs work and see mistakes as opportunities for experimental play.
Individual – Upcycling requires imagination, and the willingness to see and be individually creative rather than wanting sameness
Unconventional – Upcycling involves risk-taking, it is a disruptive, non-conformist approach which challenges the status quo and conventional ways of dressing
Limitless – Upcycling is an ongoing process in which clothing can be in a continual state of tweaking, adapting, mending, restyling. It was commonplace for earlier generations Continue reading →
Julie has been developing Ministry of Handmade over the past three years to teach handmade skills with a contemporary twist. From her studio on Brisbane’s northside, Julie encourages people to slow down and take time to embrace the joy that comes from making something by hand. It was fascinating to talk with Julie about her workshops (which include lampshades, ottomans, cushions and picnic frocks) and how she engages people in the process of making, not just the end results. Sew wonderful to spend time with someone who has shared values, and who also believes home-sewing as a life skill just like home-cooking! Continue reading →
What can I say? Even though it’s Christmas Day, it is a day like every other in 2014 when I’ve been upcycling and posting ways to reuse clothing that already exists rather than buying new.
Consumption often peaks at this time of year and it is great to see groups like 1 Million Women #nowaste and The Story of Stuff #buylesslivemore focusing on changing behaviour. Reading this poignant story from The Guardian exposes the uncomfortable truth and hidden cost of frivolous consumption. Be the change.
With a background in agriculture and interest in the material world of natural fibres, I’ve been fortunate to spend time re-creating clothing and learning more about the clothing footprint we (the collective 7-billion strong we) make on the world. My model for change includes empowering individuals to reimagine and recreate their own wardrobe collection by resewing at home to gain individual, conscious clothing. Continue reading →
When we think of creativity, most think of art with a capital A, when really it is about having a sense of festivity, fun and playfulness. One of my academic friends said the sense of play is what she most enjoys about Sew it Again because we need more creative play in our lives and workplaces.
In her book The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron quotesStephen Nachmanovitch: “Creative work is play. It is free speculation using the materials of one’s chosen form” and C. G. Jung:“The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity. The creative mind plays with the objects it loves.” Continue reading →
Five years ago, I was down a dry gully in the remote Kimberley region on the Australian Rural Leadership Program when one of our spiritual travellers mentioned a quote which resonates with me to this day.
“Leadership is an action you take, not a position you hold”, was the quote repeated by my C16 team mate and attributed to Donald H. McGannon, an early American broadcasting executive who believed in the industry’s potential for good. The quote is powerful because it demonstrates a process for every one of us to influence outcomes, not just those with positional or assumed power.
I’ve been taking action every day this year on a 365-day campaign of my own making – refashioning existing clothing instead of buying new. This campaign is about dressing with conscience – reducing our clothing footprint on the world through reuse and choosing natural fibre clothing because it has less embodied energy than synthetics. And it is great to see the influential 1MillionWomen campaign for individual action against climate change pick up the Sew it Again story. Continue reading →
Nearly at the end of this crazybrave year dedicated to upcycling natural fibre clothing that already exists in the world. My aim? To model one way to dress with conscience in a society burdened by expanding resource use and dangerous climate change.
Melissa Breyer on the Treehugger website has put together some scary statistics on global fashion consumption habits and impacts along the clothing supply chain. Even though there are more than 7 billion people in the world, I believe small individual changes can ultimately make a big difference.
As I reflect on the people that made my Sew it Again upcycling year possible, today I thank the farmers who grow the natural fibres, the spinners who make the fabric, the designers and makers who magic it into clothing, the people who donate clothing then no longer want to charities and the volunteers who help run thrift shops – from where much of my clothing is sourced. Continue reading →
Thank you! We are at the pointy end of another year, and on a countdown of 365 days of the #sewitagain journey of discovery, learning, restyling existing clothing and daily posting.
No one achieves anything worthwhile on their own and I am deeply grateful to the many people who have helped me along the way.
Today, I thank the 7000+ people from around the world who have engaged with this eco-social project to shift thinking about how we choose and reuse clothing and textiles. My model includes empowering individuals to reimagine and recreate their own wardrobe collection by resewing at home.
As these Google Analytics screen captures show (right and below), two-thirds of those engaging with the project are in Australia – and the others involved mainly being in the United States, followed by the United Kingdom, Canada, Brazil and Germany. And people in my birth-country of New Zealand are also very engaged considering the relatively small population! Continue reading →
We’re hurtling towards the end of the year and the completion of this 365-day Sew it Again project. It has been a relentless commitment, refashioning and posting every day without fail. It has also been transformational.
In documenting progress and learning, I’ve recognised the project is more than just upcycling natural fibre garments. It is about bringing heart, conscience and individual creativity to our wardrobes.
In the same way we are now more aware of the production integrity and nutritional value of our food (and the impact of processed food on our health), we are becoming conscious of the impacts of our clothing choices – on ourselves, on society and the planet. Continue reading →
It is the time of year for festive celebrations such as this evening’s fabulous QRRRWN event at Panda Pearls at Nundah in Brisbane which included a surprise talk by Gina Fairfax about philanthropy, giving while living and the great work of The Tim Fairfax Family Foundation.
It was also a lovely opportunity to catch up with author Annabelle Brayley from Morven who said giving is not just about money – it can be contributing and donating in many other ways.
Since we were all wearing black and white (me in opshop/upcycled Sew 349 left) it made a good photo opportunity with Annabelle (centre) and Gina (right). And the fabulous feedback from Annabelle (an accomplished dressmaker) is that she’s been motivated to upcycle unworn garments in her wardrobe as a result of the Sew it Again project. Hooray, positive behaviour change! Happy. Continue reading →
Our tastes in clothing evolve over time so it is handy to have a few sewing skills and be able to lengthen or shorten hems and sleeves, without needing to replace garments.
Taking something from your wardrobe and making it work better for you is on the Guide to a Conscious Wardrobe created by Magnifeco which I came across yesterday and have included below because it is such a fabulous resource.
This 365-day Sew it Again project by Textile Beat aligns with Magnifeco’s guide because we mend, value the story, look for natural fibres, cherish second-hand, avoid fast fashion, use eco-dyes, read the labels and we make something better by resewing. Continue reading →