Upcycling never goes out of style: Manchester’s MOSI purrs for Watch Your Waste Week catwalk fashion show

By Tui Benjamin

Manchester’s fashion-conscious will have the opportunity to be inspired at an upcycled fashion show at the Museum of Science and Industry this Thursday.

Part of the city’s award-winning Watch Your Waste Week, The Science of Fashion show will run to a sold-out audience of 250 lucky Mancunians.

An annual event which is fast becoming a stalwart of the Manchester fashion calendar, it represents an opportunity to see the up-cycled ethos first hand on the catwalk.

Hosted by Recycle for Greater Manchester, whose zero waste initiative aims to save 400,000 tonnes of CO2 per year, the show will encourage residents to reduce, reuse and recycle more by highlighting how sustainable fashion can be stylish and economical.

Guests will learn how rediscovering what’s in the back of your wardrobe and customising clothes instead of buying new helps not only your own bank balance but the environment too.

There will also be the opportunity to browse exhibitions and market stalls, peruse the latest collections, explore Manchester’s fabric heritage and chat to local designers, while those in want or need of a makeover can step into a special style pod for the ‘Gok’ treatment.

Councillor Neil Swannick, Chair of Greater Manchester Waste Disposal Authority, said that the ‘fantastic initiative’ will teach people recycling can be easy and fun.

“Over 1.4 million tonnes of clothing are sent to UK landfill every year and much of this can be worn again, so inspiring change and offering useful advice will help our aim of zero waste,” he added.

The show will also feature the opportunity to chat to ‘Wardrobe Angel’ Stephanie Roper, who helps women reorganise and de-clutter their closets by identifying items which suit them and can be worn a multitude of ways.

Stephanie supports the Watch Your Waste campaign as a way of putting overconsumption into perspective.

“We can’t just carry on shoving things into landfill,” she said.

And this Wardrobe Angel argues that fashion is about much more than just buying the latest things.

“Yes fashion is about trends, but fashion is also about style and having a unique style doesn’t mean slavishly following trends,” she said.

“It means picking and choosing what is right for you and the life you lead. You’d be surprised what lots of people have hanging in the backs of their wardrobes which you can alter to update.”

A fan of vintage clothes and charity shops, Stephanie sees upcycling is about an appreciation of skill as much as it is about less waste for the landfill.

“Lots of vintage clothing has really stood the test of time due to exemplary craftsmanship so it’s worth hanging onto and wearing with pride,” Stephanie said.

And not only that, but it’s a chance to save yourself some pennies too, as reusing can be a great way of saving some cash.

Stephanie said: “According to an ASOS survey earlier this year, the average woman’s wardrobe contains nearly a grand’s worth of clothes unworn for at least a year – talk about a waste of money!”

Jean Franczyk, director of the Museum of Science and industry, is ‘delighted’ that the institution is hosting the show.

“Manchester led the world in textiles manufacturing and the city continues to be at the forefront of innovative new ideas for textiles technology and fashion,” she added.

If you’ve missed out on tickets but still want to know how to make your clothes go further, Recycle for Greater Manchester still has free places available at upcycling sewing classes up until 23rd November, as MM reported here.

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