Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Make your clothes work

Recently, I was asked to send some pictures into Redress to celebrate the success of the Get Redressed 2014 challenge on Instagram.  They're looking for stories from followers about how they have been inspired over the last year to become more sustainable; whether it be in clothing care, DIY, going to swaps, sustainable fashion selections, restyling, supporting local, etc.

I selected some of these outfit pics to share with them, but what I realized was that many of the outfits that appear in my lookbook album could fit into that category of being sustainable.  Much of my wardrobe is restyled or repurposed.  It's altered to be more what I want it to be.  I decided that for me, this is what has changed most over the years.

Where once I would have been more quick to send clothes to the donate pile if I didn't wear them, now I look at why I don't and think about how I can change the piece so that I will.  I've revived a number of articles of clothing and turned them into ones that I really love.

My alterations are never too complicated, merely a crop, a hem, or a chop.  While I have no sewing machine skill at all, I do have a trusted seamstress who works with me on all my clothes.  She studied fashion right here at a local Hong Kong university and now runs a successful shop in Stanley Market with her hubby, Master Wong (I've written about it before, here and here).

I'll come in with a piece and tell her what I'm thinking and she'll look at it to see if it's possible at all.  As you can see from pictures, it's only a matter of taking up a hem (the black skirt and blue dress), or removing sleeves (or in some cases just making them shorter or different).  The two vests were once jackets which I hadn't worn in ages, but now that they're vests, they make it into the rotation quite regularly.  Vests are great for layering in our Hong Kong weather.  I've even turned dresses into blouses or skirts.

I have worked with Jilly to do a few more complicated pieces, which I've been really pleased with.  Later on, I'll share the latest one, rescuing a black dress which was ruined when the color bled into the white stripes.  Again, it's amazing what changing a hem and using other fabric can fix. 

I really enjoy working with her to change my clothes.  I feel like I'm personalizing my wardrobe.  But more importantly, I'm making my clothes work better which has a positive impact on the environment.  It feels good.

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