I have uploaded a snippet from my presentation last Friday… Thank you so much to everyone who came along. It was a valuable exercise and I feel it really pushed me forward. 
Thank you for the questions and feedback… it gave me lots to think about and was a great opportunity to see my research from the viewpoint of others. I have lots to consider and look forward to developing the workshops and moving forward.
I will doing a series of presentations as the research develops… I will post updates and also advertise the workshops as they come into practice.

Collaborative Upcycling

Platform 21, have launched “Repair Manifesto” which is designed to encourage industry experts and members of the public to share ways to repair existing goods.

They are based in an old cathedral in Amsterdam which they call their public design lab. The initiative is designed to engage members or the public and industry to share skills and ideas to reach shared objectives. They organise lectures, exhibitions and events which are presented in both real time and digital environments.
Their latest venture promote collaborative upcycling by exploring new ways to reuse and repair existing products.

The Clothes Show – Guide to Swapping

Swapsies – what’s mine is yours

“Sisters, sisters, never were there two more devoted sisters, caring, sharing every little thing that we are wearing…” song by Irving Berlin
Clothing has caused so many rows between my sister and I when we were growing up… never did we think we would speak the words “what’s mine is yours” out loud!

My sister and I are only a year apart in age and through our childhood we were always dressed in the same (sometimes different colours, but always the same clothing). The downside to being the youngest is that she had to wear the outfit longer by wearing my ‘hand me downs’ as I grew out of them. My Mum is not one to be wasteful would get the last possible wear out of each piece of clothing before handing over to friends or charity shops.

We can recollect times when family dropped in clothing that no longer fitted our older cousins. We used to ransack the bag with delight – it was always something new to us and we found it exciting.
As fashion has become more accessible, prices have dropped and people don’t always associate a great deal of value to their clothing. If a top costs £3 and the trousers £5 why go to the effort of passing it on – when someone can buy an outfit for less than £10?
With the gloomy reality of being in the midst of a recession consumers are being encouraged to buy into clothing that is more durable, classic and will last the test of time. Will this bring back trading, swapping and exchanging?
My sister and I’s relationship to clothing has changed and we now work as a team. We recently started doing “swapsies” where I take a bag of clothing over to her house or mine and we trade. Similar to when we were children in the playground and traded sweets  we called the process “one for one”.
I recently came across a website founded by Judy Berger in 2004, called “” –  this online community allows users to upload clothing, while other users bid their interest to purchase or exchange something in return. I think this is an exciting way to update or refresh your wardrobe without spending a fortune. It also brings people with a genuine love for fashion together to exchange style tips and value clothing.

London Fashion Week

London fashion week (celebrating 25 years!) kicked off this morning. An intense few days packed with fashion and style. Follow collections as they step of the catwalk on

The private view of Estethica will be presented between 13.00 – 15.00, curated by Orsola de Castro and Filippo Ricci (of fashion label From Somwhere) founders of Estethica. The TED project (were I am based) were asked to consult on the 2009 questionnaire, developed by Estethica to choose companies who fit their ethical principles.

Online eco glossy Green my Style will be reporting on all the eco fashion news behind the scenes(sponsored by DeviDoll boutique) – with features from designers, models, make up artists, etc …

There is also a featured article of an interview with Orsola de Castro by editor Sarah Woodhead.

Make Do and Mend

As the credit crunch hits and the recession is in full swing, we are reminded of the importance of being frugal. No longer can we return home guilt free with our arms full of shopping bags are we are reminded of job cuts, companies closing down and the depreciating value of our houses.

It has made me think about my clothing history. When I was a child my mum used to dress my sister and I identically, the unfortunate result of being the youngest she had to endure the wretched outfit longer as everything was handed down. (The role has since reversed and as I take up my never ending student status I live in her “cast offs”).
As things were in limited supply or cost more people used to be more considerate about re-using and keeping things that little big longer. With the introduction of stores like Primark fashion becomes more accessible and it encourages us to participate in a “throw away” culture. I think it is fantastic that it presents an opportunity for everyone to participate in fashion but as the quality reduces, clothing can’t be re-used or handed down – the majority of charity shops reject this clothing.
I recently had a chat with a fashion historian who has the luxury of deconstructing historic garments to record how they were made. She told me that as she deconstructed a corset it was visible that is used to be a dress and had been re-made.
This brings me to the Make Do & Mend movement introduced during the war effort when clothing was rationed. The booklet was produced by the government and provided step by step guides to make clothing last as long as possible. To make children’s clothes, larger items were cut down and re-styled. It even shows the reader how to make a shirt from an old bed sheet.
As clothing was so expensive people become more creative and made their own. As this was what the majority of people did think about the skills and experience that was shared. The majority of us don’t know how to hem our trousers, mend a zip or sew on a button – never mind create a complete garment.
We can take note and learn from these resourceful methods. We don’t need to enrol in sewing master classes or resort to cutting up our bedsheets (just yet) but was can be more considerate by valuing out clothing. make & mend

V-vamp competition

This is a competition to “reconstyle” a black v neck t-shirt sourced from industry overstock, with the opportunity to win £250 in the process. A t-shirt will be mailed out to you and you “reconstyle” anyway you wish for example, embellishing, cutting, dying, printing …

I think this is a fab way to recycle industry waste and encourage people to customise. We send over two million tonnes of textile waste to UK landfills each year, just think what we could do with all of that fabric if we were a little more creative.

To enter visit the v-vamp website for further instructions. The deadline is 7th Jan 2009.

v-vamp tee

v-vamp tee