Updated: Friday, 22nd May 2020 @ 2:15pm

Forget recycling, get upcycling: Greater Manchester gets stuck into sustainable fashion with masterclass

Forget recycling, get upcycling: Greater Manchester gets stuck into sustainable fashion with masterclass

By Ben Ireland

Recycling is old hat. You need to be ‘upcycling’ your old stuff now.

Upcycling is the reuse of old things, such as clothes, and converting them into trendy new garments in the latest styles.

And if you were in any uncertainty about how to do this, a masterclass in upcycling clothes was brought to Rochdale’s doorstep in a free sustainable fashion class at Arts and Heritage Centre Touchstones last night.

Started by non-profit organisation Stitched Up, the sustainable fashion initiative is part of Recycle for Greater Manchester’s ongoing Watch Your Waste campaign.

Natalie Rhodes, Touchstones’ Arts and Heritage Education Assistant, attended the Rochdale event and made herself a brooch.

She was encouraged by the project, and said: “It’s great to see your own work come together out of a load of old odds and ends. I’m wearing it today!

“You could easily be charged £10 for something like this, so it’s a real money saver as well.”

Natalie said she’d be eager to attend another workshop and is keen to continue making her own accessories, potentially as a creative and personal Christmas present.

 “Not everyone has a sewing machine at home, so to be given the tools and knowledge in one go is great.”

Praising the ‘warm and welcoming atmosphere’, Natalie said it was a good way to wind down from work and do something a little different.

“Nobody knew each other but everyone was so friendly,” she added.

Stitched Up describe themselves as ‘a group of creative, passionate, earth conscious fashionista-revolutionaries’.

Founding member and workshop director Sara Li-Chou Han is also a sustainable fashion researcher at Manchester Metropolitan University.

She said: “The idea is to mend, fix or alter clothes and help people learn about how to prolong the life of their clothes using items that they already have in their wardrobe.

“I’d like to think we’re providing an alternative to the Primark generation, where people buy cheap disposable clothes and just throw them away.”

Sara explained how the herself and the other members of the co-operative all have backgrounds in fashion and since they were all working on similar projects, pooled together their wide range of skills in art and design to start Stitched Up.

“In the long run it would be nice to encourage local businesses to take on board our ideas so that more clothes are produced in this country,” she added.

Martin Burke, Rochdale Council Cabinet Member for Environmental Services, said: “Recycling old clothes is not only a great way of looking after the environment, it’s also a cost effective way of getting a new winter wardrobe.

“This is a great opportunity and I’d encourage as many residents as possible to sign up.”

The classes are ongoing this weekend and next week across Greater Manchester as part of the Watch Your Waste campaign, and more information on where to find the workshops visit: http://www.stitchedupuk.co.uk/p/workshops-events.html

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