BY LIZZY SWINERD
(DISCLAIMER: it isn’t possible for some people to completely avoid fast fashion and they should not be shamed for that)
We all want to be more sustainable when choosing what goes into our wardrobes. However, the most environmentally friendly clothing can be a little on the pricier side, which may lead some people to lean towards buying from fast fashion brands. Whilst they sell clothes for a significantly smaller price, this does not make up for the fact that most of them underpay and overwork their employees. At the same time, these clothes are made from bad quality fabrics that will just end up in landfills.
This is where people like myself come across a common dilemma. I’m bored of my current clothes, but I don’t yet have the money to spend on clothes from sustainable brands. What can I do?
Rework what you already own. You don’t have to be a fully fledged fashion designer to rework your clothes — all you need is time, patience, creativity and a few supplies.
Here are three of the simplest ways I have found to rework the clothes I already own.
Experiment with fabric pens
Fabric pens allow you to add your own illustrations to your clothes. This will make them completely unique, as no one in the world will have the exact same art style as you.
If drawing isn’t your forte, try making small doodles to spice up an old top, a pair of jeans or a pair of old shoes. I would recommend that you practise on a piece of fabric beforehand to get used to how the pens work and to try out a few different designs.
Here are a pair of old Converse that I attacked with fabric pens. They aren’t the neatest or the most intricately-designed pair of shoes in the world, but they are unique, fun and make me feel like I have a brand new pair of shoes.
Cut, crop and sew
Sometimes a piece of clothing just doesn’t do it for you anymore — it might not fit your current style or maybe you bought it expecting it to fit better or look different. These pieces of clothing can be saved.
All you have to do is get out your needle, thread and a pair of scissors and get to work. Crop a pair of old jeans into a pair of shorts or change a dress into a matching skirt and top that can be mixed and matched...the possibilities are endless.
I bought this turtleneck online a couple of years ago, and when I tried it on it didn’t suit me. So, when the recent cardigan trend struck, it only made sense to give this turtleneck a new life form just in time for autumn.
Add patches to plain clothing
You may have some clothes that you can’t fix, or perhaps you have some leftover fabric from cropping your jeans. Since you already have your needle, thread and scissors at hand you may as well cut out some different shapes and add patches to plain clothing that just needs a small but effective revamp.
You can never go wrong with a white t-shirt, but I just wanted to add something new to mine and that’s exactly what a heart shaped denim patch did.
There are endless ways to rework your clothes, and the possibilities go way beyond the ones I have demonstrated. So, the next time you feel like you’ve got every single ounce of wear you can get out of an item, get creative before you get rid of it.
All images in this article were taken by Lizzy Swinerd.