Giving old clothes new life - Blog

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Thursday 16th August 2018

This month, we are focusing on sustainable fashion.

Like the seasons, fashion is always changing, with many of us refreshing our wardrobes regularly. Keeping up to date with the latest fashion is not only an expensive hobby, but it is damaging to the environment, with an estimated £140m worth of clothing disposed of in landfill each year. So, what’s a girl/guy to do?

Well, there are many alternative ways to refresh your wardrobe, without breaking the bank, or the planet.

1. Swishing

Swishing is like shopping, but free! Essentially, they are parties for swapping clothes (what’s not to love?). Everyone attending the event brings clothing, shoes or accessories they have fallen out of love with, and they are snapped up for free by someone else. These events are a fun and social way of encouraging people to give their unused clothes new life..

The West London Waste Authority have set up a Facebook page and website to encourage everyone to GET SWISHING. They also offer a handy 5-step guide with all the information you might need to help you set up your own swishing event, such as organising checklists, posters and event rules.

If you don’t live in the West London area, there are plenty of other swishing events you can attend:

2. Extend the life of your clothes

Love your clothes by caring and repairing, or upcycle them to create new looks. With just a few small adjustments to a neckline or a few added embellishments you can upgrade your entire wardrobe, extending the life of your clothes.

Cut it up – customise your old tees by cutting off the corner for a new, off-the-shoulder style.

Tie Dye – give your old clothes some love and bring them back to life with a tie dye treatment.

Patch work – apply vintage embroidered patches to your denim jeans or jackets for a different look.

If sewing isn’t your forte, join a social knitting group to get some help repairing or re-styling any old clothes in need of some love.

Visit to find a local group.

3. Vintage shops

Why not hit up some of London’s best vintage shops or attend a kilo sale? Vintage shops are a great way to pick up some unique second-hand goodies. Buying vintage helps to displace the need to make new clothes, which are manufactured using lots of the earth’s resources. It also saves clothes going to landfill and is a satisfying way of filling your wardrobe with unique clothing.

If you want to stock up on vintage, there are plenty of kilo sales around thanks to Judy's Affordable Vintage Fairs. You turn up, fill your bag with vintage jumble and pay per kilo.

Visit Timeout to see London’s top 10 vintage stores, one of our personal favourites is Beyond Retro in East London and Brighton, stocked up with an eclectic range of vintage garments.

These are just a few ways you can refresh your wardrobe without buying new. Together, we can revolutionise the textiles industry and start loving our clothes again – to replace fast, disposable fashion.

Jessica Parrilla

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