Thursday, 22 September 2016

What is worn bears the sweet and irrefutable memory of hands

 Recently I've become really interested in upcycling and reusing clothes. I used to believe that anything that looked a bit worn or shabby had to be replaced. 
If I went out to an event, even if I had an existing outfit that made me feel amazing, I would feel I had to wear something new, regardless if the new outfit wasn't actually as nice as my other one.
I guess being a fashion blogger made me feel that every photo worthy event was an opportunity for me to buy something new and shiny (sometimes actually shiny which I make no apologies for)

 Over the last year as many of you regularly read my blog know, I've been trying to change my approach to style. 
I still love fashion but don't want to be on the treadmill of buying, buying, buying. I don't want to add to landfills or exploit workers in poorer countries just to satisfy my need for new things.
 I am increasingly drawn to second hand clothes or items made by independent designers and I've also been exploring recycling my existing clothes. 
My Old Jacket Given New Life

Earlier this year you may remember I screen printed onto my denim jacket (instantly giving it a whole new lease of life)  and this weeks outfit is another well loved item I've given a makeover.

I've had this linen mix dress from Next for years. Its a perfect shift shape, with a drawstring waist and pockets but almost as soon as I got it, it faded. Although I loved the cut I always felt a bit scruffy and washed out when I wore it. 

Ready for a revamp
I decided to freshen it up by dying it with some Dylon eco reactive dye. I simply popped it in the washing machine, and an hour later it looked like new.

No more fade to grey-now its as black as my eyeliner

I'm so pleased and have worn it lots ever since. The dye only cost a few quid and it feels like I have a new dress.
I'm not the only one taking this approach to style, my friend Justine from the Wild Dyery met me for lunch the other day wearing a beautiful dress which featured a gorgeous patch of Sashiko stitching, a form of decorative reinforcement stitching (or functional embroidery) from Japan.

It made the dress look so unique but was actually to cover up a tear. What a clever and creative way to keep on wearing something you love.

An antique Japanese Boro kimono

This approach is nothing new. The ancient Japanese textile tradition of Boro Translated to ‘rags’ in English made an art form of upcycled clothes.
Developed by the poor, rural population of Japan who couldn't afford to buy new they would create items by piecing and patching discarded cotton onto existing clothes, forming something slightly different each time they did so. 
Generations of Japanese families repaired and recycled everything from fishermen’s jackets to futon covers, handing them down to the next and weaving their own sagas and stories through the threads. Boro was born of forgotten values of ‘mottainai’ or ‘too good to waste’ and a quick google of the term (as recommend by Justine who is my go to for this kind of loveliness)  reveals some stunning textiles.

Revived, Reloved

So if you have something in your wardrobe that you love but its faded, redye it, if something has a stain on that wont come out? iron or sew on a cool patch, favourite cardigans gone bobbly? Take a razor to it and with a little gentle defluffing it will look like new.
 Lets buy new things that are unique, hand made, hand printed, and make the rest of our wardrobe work that little bit harder. Debt isn't cool, slave labour isn't cool, owning your own style and embracing a few more ethical fashion habits definitely is!
I will finish with this beautiful poem about Boro (author unknown) which gave me chills.


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