One of our great inspirations, Jane Milburn, will be returning to Dunedin for a brief visit later this month!
Jane is a Sustainability Consultant, Slow Clothing pioneer, TEDx speaker, upcycler, and agricultural scientist. Many of you will remember her fabulous talk and upcycling workshop from when she was here during Fashion Revolution Week and ID Fashion Week in 2017 (see our blog post on her previous visit here).
Jane will be at Stitch Kitchen for our open afternoon on Friday 23rd August. This will be a perfect afternoon for you to bring in your upcycling projects to get inspired.
We will also be hosting a social evening of sharing inspiration for natural fibres and upcycling at the studio, from 5-7pm.
This is a chance for everyone to discus ways to ..."slow down, take stock and consider the substance, not just the style, of the clothes you choose to wear. Become conscious of your wardrobe: buy less, choose natural fibres, mend what you have, value story, love second-hand and vintage, refuse cheap fashion, avoid toxic dyes, read labels, restyle what you have, share and swap, or buy ethical brands. If it suits you to do so, be empowered to sew, restyle and refashion clothing already in circulation. The slow clothing philosophy is summarised in a manifesto of actions and choices: think, natural, quality, local, few, care, make, revive, adapt and salvage" (from Jane's website Textile Beat)
While visiting NZ, Jane is looking forwarding to gathering a range of new material for another book and her website, including stories of favorite upcycling techniques and what inspires you, particularly around wellbeing and sustainability.
For those who haven't yet read her wonderful first book, 'Slow Clothing: Finding meaning in what we wear', you're welcome to pop in and read our copy, or you can now purchase a copy of your own from us!
A skirt made from shirts... a dress made from table cloths... a cardigan made from two jerseys... and luxurious nightgown from a sentimental souvenir... a coat made for walking Canada's cold streets in in the 1980's, now re-tailored for city life in Dunedin for winter 2019.
These are some of the projects we worked on at the top of Dunedin Public Library last month during ID Fashion Week.
Desi and I were joined by four attendees with a wide range of background sewing experience, all keen for ideas on how to re-imagine items which had been stashed away (in several cases for years).
Treasured items made from silk, cashmere, organic linen and denim (from days before Lycra and polyester were added). Items that were hand-made by them decades ago, or by family members, or 'the tiny gentleman who worked in a cupboard-sized workshop just off the street in Bangkok' ...
These are common themes we experience with Upcycling: items where the provenance is personal, the fabric of a quality that seems undervalued in the current form, or simply the desire to make something more practical for our contemporary taste and lifestyle.
It is hugely rewarding to take inspiration for what something already is, and consider what form it could be to become more than what it was - more practical, more appreciated, more beautiful, and much more personal.
In our Mend & Make Awesome workshops, we see this on a small scale. People repairing or altering items to improve them. Upcycling however, is a much bigger (and often trickier) enterprise, involving many hours work, and often facing challenges when the previous shape resists your efforts and you have to think again. It's easy to become disheartened and stuck, and end up with grand plans put indefinitely on hold.
This is where having some outside advice is so valuable. Having another person to bounce ideas with, suggest alternatives techniques, or to make the tea!
This workshop was a delight on all levels, and we hope to organise more in the near future!
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: email@example.com
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?
Client shopping testimonial:
“I was apprehensive about receiving advice – I didn’t want to change too much. I dressed conservatively because that’s what is needed for my work. I wanted to improve my casual clothes so that when parents or colleagues saw me on days off, or outside the school, I still looked ‘put together’. Fiona listened to what I was wanting and showed me how to use colours to bring my creativity out. I’d feel comfortable anywhere in the outfits she found for me. She also gave me confidence in what suited my body shape. I’ve just lost weight and am used to covering up everything. I can now combine my ‘creative’ and ‘professional’ sides in a way that I feel confident wherever I am. I now feel ready for anything.”
Jane was born in Owaka, and has lived in Brisbane for the past 20 years. Fi met Jane at the Eco Fashion Week in Perth earlier this year, and we're thrilled she will be returning to Otago for a visit, right on time for Fashion Revolution and ID Dunedin Fashion week.
Jane has recently published her book: "Slow Clothing: Finding Meaning in What We Wear".
"Slow Clothing" presents a compelling case for why we need to change the way we dress, to live lightly on Earth through the everyday practice of how we wear and care for our clothes. In an era dominated by the passive consumption of cheap and synthetic fashion, Jane Milburn arrived at the Slow Clothing philosophy by refashioning her own garments.
The clothing surplus in wardrobes and op shops presents a creative opportunity to revive, adapt, and mend garments to suit ourselves while discovering our unique style.
We have arranged two events with Jane, hosted by the Dunedin Public Library. Jane will share her extensive knowledge and experience with the clothing industry in a public talk (coinciding with Fashion Revolution Day), followed by a practical workshop the following week (coinciding with ID Dunedin Fashion Week):
Slow Clothing: Finding Meaning in What We Wear
Date: Tuesday 24th April
Place: Ground Floor, Dunedin Public Library, 230 Moray Place, Dunedin
Cost: Free, koha appreciated*
Registration: Simply walk in on the day.
*donations will help subsidise the Clothing Repair and Revival workshop
Clothing Repair and Revival Workshop
Date: Thursday 3rd May
Place: Dunningham Suite, 4th Floor, Dunedin Public Library, 230 Moray Place, Dunedin
Cost: Koha (suggested $20)
Registration: Essential due to limited numbers. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
No previous sewing experience needed.
This will be our third year where we have organised events to coincide with this global campaign to increase awareness, and develop creative solutions, to the devastating problems in the contemporary fashion industry.
As in the past 2 years, we will be calling our project "UNSTITCHED". Highlighting our wish to 'unstitch the myths of the fashion industry' and help people to become informed about actions they can take to make positive differences.
This year, we are doing something slightly different. We have researched the local impact of the fashion industry, and will deliver an interactive seminar presenting this information, adapted to suit different audiences and time frames.
Our aim is to connect with groups to empower their members and wider public audiences with the ideas of a 'pro-fashion revolution': How they can learn more about the choices available; understanding care labels and garment quality; using resources, such as the 'Good On You' app, to identify companies/labels which reflect their personal values; and the benefits of supporting local business and independent design.
Join us for an informal, interactive discussion on contemporary fashion and our place in this global industry.
Plus, we'll introduce you to 'craftivism' and help you make a small scale embroidered patch, which you can use to cover holes in jeans... stitch to your jacket sleeve... display in public... give a friend... anything you like.
Time: Between 1-4pm (come when you can, stay for as long as you like)
Place: Otago Pioneer Women's Memorial Building
Registration: Recommended, but not essential.
We still have spaces available, and if you are connected with a community group, school or organisation around Dunedin we would love to hear from you and adapt this to suit your group. Please email us for more information.
News, updates and things we find inspiring, from Dunedin's Stitch Kitchen