Whether we want to admit it or not, we are not as cash rich as we once were. The word of the moment is “economising” and the twitter hash tags reinforce topics like recession, downturn and a whole load of other words implying descent of some sort. I would like to think in terms of fashion we can ignore these circumstances, use what we have and try to reinvent them..Aka fashion DIY.
Start at home…
Fashion rejuvenation in Ireland is spearheaded by Redress (www.redress.ie ), a collaborative which offers classes on how, not only to make your own clothes, but to up cycle them. It is not just about trimmings and buttons. Redress focusses on educating their classroom on ethical and sustainable fashion, through hands-on practical workshops where you can have a little fun and leave with something you crafted yourself. It is also responsible for Better Fashion Week, a week dedicated to promoting better fashion practices; it is great to see such initiatives in Ireland leading the way and setting an example on how we can do something from home to help sustain fashion here and wherever we go. Through mechanisms like Redress, we can all embrace our inner fashion designer. It is something that is close to my heart and a theme which I practice as well as preach. Last year, I took a white T-shirt; I cut the seams all over and split the t-shirt in two. I then reattached the seams using hundreds of safety pins. I know this may not be to everyone’s taste, but the point is, with a little imagination, we can totally change our wardrobes without constantly having to feel the need to buy new clothes.
How to start
One way to start a fashion rejuvenation project at home is to make a list of everything you love to wear; these become your staple pieces. Now take a list of all the clothes you no longer need or want. What can you do with them? Well the list is endless. Take off the embellishment to re-use, use patterns or prints from a top to sew onto another and you will have hours of fun with this! When Alexander McQueen died, a fashion-obsessed relative of mine, graffiti-ed a pair of jeans as a tribute to the iconic designer and one of his trademark pieces. I like this idea and it underpins the moral of the story: it is OK to play around with your clothes and see what you can produce.
Ribbons are another great way to accessorise your jackets and tops. Make bows and pleats, and either sew or glue (Bostik fabric glue is excellent ) to a collar or cuff to add an extra layer of femininity to an outfit or make hair bands and bracelets. It is cost effective fashion with fun added in, just remember to put down an old towel or sheet on the dining room table before using the glue (I speak from experience! ). Stores like the Art and Hobby shop, haberdasheries or fabric shops like Hickeys, are great places to start for ideas and to fill up your DIY kit with some essentials like thread, trimmings and felt (pictured; my kit ). Also look at magazines for ideas that you can easily recreate like making collars or adding stones for some added sparkle (pictured; a necklace I made ).
Fashion and friends
One point to note is that you do not need a sewing machine; you can easily do all of this with a needle and thread and as you practice your sewing you will get better at stitching. Maybe think about a sewing class or setting up a fashion DIY group with your friends and the whole thing can become social too.