Sustainable Fashion #3 – Refresh your wardrobe: repair and upcycling

“The hottest new trend”

In a boost to sustainable fashion, ” ‘Make do and mend’ is now not only “the hottest new trend“, but also good for our soul. The Great British Sewing Bee – back on our screens for a 7th season and already attracting more than 5 million viewers – has been described as “a soothing balm for the soul” that “raises spirits”.

So far in our sustainable fashion series we’ve focused on finding new homes for pre-loved clothes – whether we want something new to wear ourselves or want to get rid of unwanted items. But if you have the time, energy and inclination, repair and upcycling can be a fun and rewarding way to refresh your (and perhaps your family’s) wardrobe, join the “biggest trend of 2021” – and be kind to the environment.

Learn a new skill and save the planet …

If you’re new to sewing, why not join a sewing class? There are a number of providers in and around Oxford, including:

If you prefer online classes or tutorials, there are plenty to choose from. Here are some:

And remember, repairs don’t have to be perfect – in fact, the more visible, the better!

Once you feel ready to get creative, there are lots of online guides, tips and resources to inspire you. Here are just a few:

… or help your local economy by paying others to do it for you

If you don’t want to take up needle and thread yourself, look for a local seamstress or seamster. Here are some Oxford based clothing alteration services:

Also, watch out for recently launched new app Sojo, a ‘Deliveroo for clothing alterations’ that will put you in touch with seamsters in your area and pick up your clothes for alterations. Currently based only in London, they have plans to expand.

And if you do have the urge to head to the shops, look out for those brands and retailers are themselves creating upcycled clothes, from high street stores like H&M to designer brands like Marni or Miu Miu. Or head online to find the perfect upcycled garment (see the list of online platforms in our previous post).

Resources and inspiration

Check out Loved Clothes Last by Orsola de Castro for a wealth of facts, tips and resources.