The trend for revamping our wardrobes rather than buying new clothes is still on the rise. Eventbrite has announced it has seen a 23% increase in the number of fashion upcycling events over the past year, including clothes, accessories and jewellery workshops. Attendees include those interested in ethical and sustainable fashion and people who want to learn how to embellish bags and fix frocks they would otherwise have thrown away.
Fast Fashion Therapy is one of these mending and upcycling workshops seeing a big increase in attendance on and offline. Its sewing sessions encourage the repair, upcycling and remodelling of used clothes to help people break the habit of always buying new. The workshop taught online and in-person across London, also offers a therapeutic space for slowing down and taking a more mindful approach to fashion.
Fast Fashion Therapy co-founder Eleanor Tull is a textile designer whose vision is to make fashion a more playful, creative and sustainable experience.
“After the initial hesitancy to go back to workshops in person after lockdown, we’ve seen a big rise in people wanting to hone their sewing skills,” she says. “We work with people on remodelling outfits, for example. We recently advised a participant who turned a lycra dress into a bodysuit. We also teach repair techniques like visible mends using classic techniques such as boro patching with contrasting fabrics and colours or colourful embroidery to cover stains.”
“We’ve noticed peoples’ desire to carry on with ‘lockdown hobbies’, like sewing, and a growing awareness around the need for sustainability,” She added.
They are thinking more about not throwing away old clothes but instead looking for ways to repair or alter them. People tend to chat away with the person next to them while they sew so it seems the opportunity to socialise again is exciting too.
Along with co-founder Sarah Richard, the pair also offer tips and repair videos on their website, from mending ripped jeans to widening waistbands.
Fabrications, an upcycling studio and craft emporium in East London, is also seeing an upsurge in would-be menders at their online and in-studio sessions. Owner Barley Massey piloted knitting, crochet, sewing and mending classes in Hackney back in 2005 when crafts had a Noughties boom. She is now rebuilding the workshops following lockdown.
“In recent years, we’ve seen a throwaway culture and marked decline in the practice of learning even the most basic clothing repair skills. In the spirit of ‘teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime’, I started a range of hand and machine sewing repair workshops with wools and fabrics over 20 years ago. There’s certainly been a growing interest in our classes, which are appealing to a new eco-conscious generation as well as mature citizens reconnecting with these skills and values.”
Eventbrite’s Sebastian Boppert said: “The recycling and upcycling movement is taking action on sustainability where others just talk. It’s hard to think of a much worthier use of our platform than to create a community around our shared future.