Monday, 18 April 2011

Like a dress to water

Redressing the balance between consumption and disposal, From Somewhere re-thinks the fashion industry’s leftovers, reclaiming and upcycling them as a design solution to environmental problems.

So far, so on trend you might be thinking. But get this – From Somewhere was way ahead of the curve. Ever since 1997, they’ve been making their collections with pre-consumer waste: brand-new, often previously unseen, latest trend designer off-cuts, proofs and remnants such as damaged and surplus fabrics reclaimed from the fashion and textile industry.

In other words, solving problems is what they’re all about. That’s exactly how their ground-breaking collab with Speedo came about. Following the decision of FINA, swimming’s governing body, to change the rules regarding swimsuit design and prohibit the use of full-body suits from January 2010, Speedo was left with a surplus of the record-breaking LZR Racer suit.

The LZR Racer suit was worn in 91 world records, so just incinerating this wonder-stuff was out of the question. A limited edition capsule collection developed by From Somewhere includes a statement dress constructed purely of Speedo LZRs, as well as a directional mini collection of swimmdresses, an entirely new concept of swimmer as daywear.

Launched exclusively at Selfridges in London and online through, From Somewhere with Speedo is upcycling in its highest form: a fashion-forward design concept exploring innovative environmental solutions.

Friday, 15 April 2011


Ok, I'm not going to go on about it but... how much fun is it to take some rubbishy old thing taking up space in your wardrobe and reinvent it so it actually does you proud? Call me old fashioned, but I find this nothing short of super fun.

However there is sadly a limit to my abilities. Which is why I'm unfeasibly excited to have discovered costumier Claire-Louise Hardy's sewing school The Thrifty Stitcher in Stoke Newington and her concept SOS Sewing Surgeries. The freestyle drop-in sessions last three hours and cost £35. Bring along your stack o' rags and Claire will share her expertise to help you transform them. You can even book online - but you will have to elbow me out of the way first.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Ring the changes

Ah lovely jewellery! You are so sparkly, so delicate… so breakable.

What to do with your tattered trinkets to ensure they get the chance to swing again? The Papered Parlour is offering a class in Recycled Jewellery on Sunday 17 April from noon to 5pm where you can join expert silversmith Caren Hartley to discover how to repair, reshape and revive old baubles.

Transform pre-loved pendants, broken bracelets and neglected necklaces and get all the skills you need to upcycle jewellery at home. Using basic silversmithing techniques including sawing, soldering, texturing and annealing, you’ll learn how to reinvent your faded finery as polished showpieces.

Instructor Caren Hartley studied Goldsmithing, Silversmithing, Metalwork and Jewellery at The Royal College of Art. She’s won commissions and awards from the Crafts Council and V&A and has exhibited at the Designers Guild, Mint and RCA.

To book your place email

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Cut some rug

My friend and fellow freelancer Flemmich Webb has been keeping an eye out for upcycling ideas for me. And how's this? Top ten uses for old carpet, supplied by Brintons in time for Earth Day on 22 April...

1) Insulate the loft
2) Insulate plumbing with carpets reborn as pipe lagging
3) Accelerate decomposition by covering your compost heap
4) Make carpet rests to go under the legs of heavy furniture
5) Fashion a kneeling pad to protect knees while working in the garden
6) Carpet your garden shed
7) Make a bespoke car mat
8) Make a hallway mat for mucky shoe storage
9) Make a carpeted scratching post for the cat
10) Insulate a rabbit hut to allow your bunny to live in luxury