A panel beater – Eliza Kelly

Slow clothing is a different way of dressing and thinking about clothing than the way most of the world sees it, says New South Wales teenager Eliza Kelly. “It is exciting to think that I can dress in a way that uses old, or out-of-fashion clothing to make something new. I love the way that I can create something original, unique and different. Isn’t it awesome when someone says ‘what a nice …… where did you get it?’ and I can say that I made it! It makes me warm on the inside when I know that I have recycled something and given it another life,” Eliza said.

Eliza Kelly from Parkes NSW wears her upcycled denim skirt for The Slow Clothing Project

Eliza Kelly from Parkes NSW wears her upcycled denim skirt for The Slow Clothing Project

“The attitude of the world today seems to be that ‘new is better’, and ‘more, more, more’, but I think that there is so much beauty, uniqueness and stories to be told about recycled and re-modelling clothing. There is so much to be gained by recycling and re-using the materials that we have been given, and changing things with older fit, style or fashion to be useable today and tomorrow,” she said.

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Repurpose, instead of buying more

Repurposing workshopsAmid society which celebrates constant consumption of new stuff, a small community in the geographic heart of New South Wales is planning an event to embrace the repurposing of old.

Tottenham has chosen repurpose as the theme of its community expo on 14 March 2015, with upcycling workshops planned for March 12-13, a Waste to Art competition and the Sew it Again portable exhibition to illustrate creative reuse opportunities.

Through a series of five workshops, Brisbane-based upcycler Jane Milburn will guide locals in the discovery and exploration of their creative potential through the medium of under-utilised natural fibres.

“There are more clothes in the world now than at any time in our history. Because they seem to be so plentiful and relatively cheap to buy new, they’re often treated as disposable and only worn once or twice before being cast aside,” Ms Milburn said.

“What we’ll be doing at the Tottenham workshops is taking a second look at existing clothing, textiles and old kitchen linen – then using simple techniques like home-sewing, cutting and eco-dyeing to repair, restyle or repurpose them for another go at life.

“I upcycled every day last year with the 365-day Sew it Again project www.sewitagain.com. I’m looking forward to sharing ideas with resourceful country people who are not (geographically) in a position to run off to the shops and appreciate the value of our natural resources.

“Upcycling can be as simple as taking up a hem, cutting off the sleeves or neckline and replacing buttons. Just as we’ve rediscovered the value of traditional home-cooking for health and nutrition, home-sewing and repair skills enable us to dress with conscience and story.”

Ms Milburn is an agricultural scientist who values sustainable resource use, champions natural fibres and believes in slow-fashion awareness of who made your clothes and what from.

“When you buy cheap new clothes you are often buying into a global supply chain that is exploiting people and the environment. When you buy synthetic fibres (which 2/3 of new clothing is) be aware these fibres are derived from petroleum, coal or gas and shed microplastic particles into the wastewater stream every time they are washed,” she said.

“When you repurpose natural-fibre clothing resources that aren’t used in their current form you are engaging in conscious, individual and affordable dress. You also have a good story to tell about what you wear – it is sustainable, zero footprint, organic and the ultimate in green.”

Tottenham Community Expo is run by Tottenham Welfare Council and is providing upcycling workshops on March 12-13 with a grant from the Regional Arts NSW Country Arts Support Program. For more information about the workshops, contact Catherine Jarvis on 02 6892 8210.

Fashion clothing creates waste

Toowoomba students upcycle

Every day, we get up and get dressed for the day – even before we have breakfast. Clothing is traditionally used for warmth and modesty. It meets physical and functional needs, for sheltering, shielding and protecting our bodies.

In earlier times, most clothing was made from natural fibres – cotton, linen, wool, leather and silk. Back then, clothing was valued and relatively scare compared with today. People looked after their clothes, they were mended and handed on to others until the fibres wore out.

In contrast to clothing – we have FASHION which meets non-material needs for participation, identity, freedom – and to signal wealth and social status.  Continue Reading →

Biloela joins REfashion revolution

The concept of refashioning existing clothing has appeal to people concerned about increasing levels of textile waste and prepared to be creatively resourceful in the way they dress.

Eight productive and enthusiastic women took up the opportunity to be part of an upcycling workshop in Biloela and used personal effort, imagination and skills to refashion unworn clothing to suit their shape and preference.

The workshop was run by upcycler Jane Milburn of Textile Beat and enabled by the Regional Arts Development Fund (RADF), which is a partnership between Queensland Government’s Arts Queensland and Banana Shire Council to support local arts and culture.

REfashion workshop results Continue Reading →