Tag Archives: The Guardian

Sew 359 – Upcycled White Christmas

Jane Milburn wears upcycledWhat 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

Sew 332 – Valuing textile waste

Stan wears upcycledClothing that is no longer being worn represents an incredible textile resource that could be fully recycled if we lived in a circular economy and re-used resources rather than burying them in landfill.

Some commercial recycling processes are being developed as The Guardian reported in this article about a Swedish company producing recycled cotton, and other examples include the Pharrell William’s inspired RAW for the Oceans denim made from recycled ocean plastic.

Hopefully the business opportunities in large-scale recycling of the 69.7 million tonnes of fibre apparel consumed every year will emerge in future –  but in the meantime there are micro-opportunities for individual upcycling to create unique #selfstyle clothing to suit one’s own budget and shape.  Continue reading

Sew 227 – Refashioning op-shop wool

Jane Milburn wears op shop woolNatural resources are finite and it is great to see Sweden announcing that it has created technology to recycle all materials that contain cellulose, as reported in The Guardian recently.

Apparently old cotton clothes are brought into a factory where they are shredded and mulched into porridge-like goop from which the non-recyclable pieces like zips and buttons are removed. The goop is then further broken down before being turned into a fibre substance which become threads and then rayon-like fabric. Reconstituted fabric is a mechanical way to reuse the mountain of waste clothing generated by fast fashion.

A creative way of reusing natural fibres is by individual refashion – cutting and resewing existing clothing to suit your own needs. This is what I’m doing every day this year with Sew it Again and Sew 227 is a refashion of wool garments from various op shop excursions.  Continue reading

Sew 98 – Skirts reworked

skirt upcycled to swing topFast fashion fosters a wear and toss approach to modern dress in the never-ending search for satisfaction from material consumption.

More meaningful and realistic approaches to fashion have been studied and distilled into beautiful words by the Local Wisdom project out of the United Kingdom’s Centre for Sustainable Fashion.

By exploring our relationship with clothes, researchers unearthed themes of usership based on people’s stories. You can view these words in pictures via The Guardian article from which I sourced the words below:

Patina of use: with our garments, as with our bodies, the passing of time leaves its mark. With clothes, we sometimes discard pieces because they are ageing, dated, jaded or worn; at other times we buy vintage pieces, coveting that which looks old. Yet these both overlook the power and pleasure of marking the passing of time as it is recorded in our clothes; the forging of memories, building of knowledge, evolution of appearance.

Alternative dress codes: the choices we make about what we wear are influenced by life present, lives past and our ideas about our future selves. Expressions of values, aspirations, heritage, understanding and the physical shape of our bodies build a rationale for dress that transcend narrow commercial views about fashion.

Transfer of ownership: giving a garment to someone else is sometimes a straightforward and spontaneous act and at other times more circuitous. The overlapping of ownership can embed a garment with memories.

Skills of resourcefulness: Creative activists contribute greatly to society through innovation and experiment. Their work is a training ground for new practices, for trialling novel approaches and reviving old skills that promote alternative ideas about fashion provision and consumption.  Continue reading