What makes you an ‘upcycler’? Why do you go about it? And how does clothing upcycling impact on the fashion industry?
These are the questions being asked in by Masters of Sociology candidate Kirsten Koch, in new research facilitated through the University of Otago, Department of Sociology, Gender and Social Work.
Kirsten has has already achieved a Master of Fine Arts in Textiles; Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and Sociology, Graduate Diploma in Indigenous Development, and a Postgraduate Diploma in Anthropology. She is also a practicing textile artist, upcycler, and (when she can fit it into her schedule) guest tutor at Stitch Kitchen.
Her latest research project aims to investigate current textile practitioners utilizing clothing upcycling as a component of their practice. It will shed light on issues such as:
In recent years, upcycling has become well known term, used by amateur home sewists to high end designers, textile artists, bloggers, authors and reporters, as reworking clothing has become popular across a wide cross section of ages, lifestyles and cultural backgrounds.
Kirsten has defined ‘upcycling clothing’ as: a practice which utilizes second-hand textiles to create new and original garments. She has defined ‘practice’ as: the making, marketing, displaying, interaction and exchange of upcycled clothing and textiles.
From her own experience, Kirsten believes practitioners may upcycle for a variety of interrelated reasons such as enriching their and others lives, DIY, sustainability, affordability, beauty, politics, aesthetics, experimentation, and self-differentiation.
As part of the study, Kirsten will be organising a public forum, where participants in the study will share with the wider community, their inspiration and creations. The role of upcycling within the wider context of the fashion industry will also be highlighted in this forum to be held on Wednesday 24th April, coinciding with international Fashion Revolution Day. This forum is open the public, and will be a fascinating insight into this increasingly popular practice. For more information about the seminar, please email Kirsten: firstname.lastname@example.org
We are each looking forward to taking part in this fantastic research, and seeing how it will highlight the value of repurposing clothing, not only personally, but in understanding and enriching our ever changing culture of fashion.
Would you like to be part of this study?