Growing Up With a Clothes Hoarder - Guest Post

Friday, June 12, 2015

Growing Up With a Clothes Hoarder - Guest Post by Lauren Donnelly

When my Grandad died, it became vehemently clear that he was a hoarder. I watched as my Grandma and Mother spent the best part of 3 weeks sorting through his stacks of odds and ends: masses of old recipes cut out of magazines, piles of stacked up plastic ice cream containers, tins filled with odd buttons and scrap books jam-packed with thousands of used stamps that he had meticulously steamed off of each and every letter he had ever been sent. We knew it had reached its pinnacle when the bomb disposal squad had to be called out to discharge a WWII bomb detonator that he had been keeping in the kitchen cupboard since 1956. He threw nothing away.


 My mum often laughs, fondly remembering her eccentric father when we’ve told this story in the years since he passed. “It was typical of his generation. Those who were around during the war had a ‘waste not, want not’ mentality”. That’s my mother. My mother who was born in 1957- nowhere remotely near a world war- and yet still manages to reserve a kitchen drawer for the 54 disposable lighters that she HAS to keep- just in case. My mother, who has filled my dad’s art studio full to the brim with junk including, but by no means restricted to: broken deck chairs from the 70s (“if we fixed these up a little, we could be on Antiques Road Show in a few years!”), three partially functioning fridge freezers and tins upon tins of long dried up magnolia matte emulsion paint (“I need it so I can match up the walls if I ever need to buy any more”). That is my mother, my mother who is a hoarder.

And that’s not to mention the clothes. Oh the clothes! In my parents’ bedroom alone she has three floor-to-ceiling Ikea fitted wardrobes, two antique armoires; three chests of drawers and a vanity table FILLED to busting with clothes from the 70s, 80s and 90s that she downright refuses to throw away. Then there are the other bedrooms. My mum and dad still live in our childhood home, a five bedroom Edwardian house in which they only inhabit the one bedroom. But it’s a bloody good job they never moved once my siblings and I flew the nest. My mum needs the other 4 rooms to store her vintage clothes addiction, bargain shoe collection and pile of winter coats that she’s been hoarding since the 80s.


 With all that, you’d think she was done. Yet, the lack of room does not deter her. Day upon day, eBay parcels arrive enclosing yet another bargain buy. It’s not just the cheap stuff she aims for either. In amongst the foray of vintage kitten heels and empty designer perfume bottles, she’s managed to snag herself a 50s powder pink Escada jacket, a vintage Prada patent leather bag and a 90s Emilio Pucci printed leather belt. Yes, all well and good, until you realise that she literally never wears any of it.

Ahhhh… but that’s where I step in.

What was once a waste of space to me as a child, has now become my one-stop-shop for all things 70s boho, 80s embellished and 90s grunge. It’s an Aladdin’s Cove of unique vintage treasures that absolutely no one else has access to. See, my mum understood one thing I could never grasp: “fashion is a cycle. Give it 15 years and you’re wearing the exact same style jelly sandals you were at 14 years old”.

And she’s right! I could kick myself thinking about the 90s Dr. Marten Chelsea boots I threw out when I had a ‘clear out’ before I went to university. Or the amount of racer back crop tops I binned a few years back. Not to mention the denim midi dungaree dress I used to love so much in my mid-teens. All of them back in fashion.



Yes, it’s undeniable that my mother holds on to a bit too much. Yet I’ve come to realise, if we binned absolutely everything that we didn’t have use for anymore, then how would we preserve our fashion history. Granted, it’s one thing holding on to a treasured dress, and quite another keeping broken kitchen appliances, but just tossing every unwanted item in the bin can’t be the solution, surely?

So, how do I manage to keep my hoarder genes at bay? I tend to donate a bin liner of clothes to a charity shop every few months, or at least every year. In keeping with the “fashion cycle” my mother preached about, if I’m going thrift store diving I’ll try to make sure I get rid of some unwanted garments while I’m there. That way, maybe someone else can find some joy out of my pre-loved pieces. I take some, I leave some. Everyone’s a winner!

How do you organise your closet? Or are you guilty of being a fashion hoarder, too? If you have any tips for a recovering clothing addict, please leave your comments below. We’d love to hear from you.

Lauren Donnelly lives in the UK and is a content writer for maryjanefashion.com, an online fashion wholesale website.

:: Lauren Donnelly ::

Bits of Australia: World Environment Day

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Did you know, June 5 marks the United Nations’ World Environment Day (WED), used as a day to promote worldwide awareness and action for the environment.

This year's WED theme is "Seven Billion Dreams. One Planet. Consume with Care", and most readers will know, ethical and sustainable consumerism is encouraged and fully supported on Recycled Fashion.



It doesn't take much to help reduce consumption when it comes to fashion, such as:

* Support and buy recycled, and / or environmentally friendly recycled products and companies that sell such wares.
* Getting rid of your old by passing onto others such as holding a garage sale or market stall; your trash could be someone else’s treasure and you’ll make some extra cash, too.
* Alternatively, donate your old clothing to your local op shop or charity organisation.
* Get crafty and creative, by making your own jewellery and clothes out of existing materials. Something old can become new again with a few updates, and you will be able to ware something that is unique to you.

Bits of Australia made contact to talk about a WED collaboration, in an effort to raise awareness of the forthcoming event, but also to talk about the wonderful wares found their online gift-shop dedicated to supplying Australian made products and souvenirs to the world.

Bits of Australia features a great range of recycled stationery, jewellery, skincare and home-wares as well as eco friendly products using sustainably sourced, natural materials.

Such products include:

:: Yellow Twigs Small Square 98% Recycled Cushion Cover ::
Digitally printed for high quality design reproduction, using biodegradable, water based inks. 
Buy HERE

:: Rainbow Stud Recycled Silver Earrings ::

 
Hand made using responsibly sourced, recycled sterling silver
Buy HERE

:: Blue & Orange Wooden Eco Beads Bracelet ::



Using Tasmanian specialty timbers; Huon Pine, Myrtle, Eucalyptus, Blackwood and Sassafras
Off-cuts diligently collected by craftspeople.  Buy HERE

To coincide with World Environment Day, Bits of Australia will offer 10% off all natural and recycled products between 5-7 June, 2015. Shop Bits of Australia HERE.

More information about World Environment Day can be found at: www.unep.org/wed

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The Ocean Corner - Buoyant Hats

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Mariana from Plymouth (UK) based International Social Enterprise; The Ocean Corner, flagged her creative fashion upcycle project to Recycled Fashion's Facebook Page recently.

Buoyant Hats is a project that unites the ocean with people. The Ocean Corner's hat upcycle project collaborates with local, national and international individuals to use beach waste in a creative way.

 "Equinoccio"
Decorative materials used: fishing lines, electric cables, rubber fish

Mariana contacts beach cleaning communities within the European region, and asks them to exchange found marine debris by post so that she can use them for her vintage millinery makeovers.

"Blue Chaos"
Decorative materials used: dry seaweed, fishing net mess, bicycle tyre, fabric cloth, and bird skeleton

So far, 9 different European countries and various coastal areas within the UK have contributed to Mariana's interesting and beautiful initiative that uses the aforementioned debris to create striking hats with a trashion influence.

 "I feel like travelling today!"
Decorative materials used: rope and fishing lines

Hats are available to buy through The Ocean Corner's website with 50%  profits going toward new social and environmental initiatives and supports Shekinah Mission charities.

"Chispas de Mar"
Decorative materials used: fabric, sea glass, plastic knot and plastic net

Should you wish to make your Buoyant Hat, you can join one of Mariana's workshops and make your own design (BYO vintage/second hand hat) over a course of 4 weeks (10 hours total).  For more info on marine debris creative workshops head here.

 The Ocean Corner - Image via Facebook

You can also follow The Ocean Corner on Facebook to receive updates on the latest news.

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Mothers Day Gift Suggestions from Thread Harvest

Friday, May 1, 2015

An Australian ethical fashion retailer Thread Harvest launched last year, offering a sustainable selection of wares to the online consumer.



Imagine a collection of labels that offer a refreshing change to the mass produced, with most of the products for sale upcycled and/or made with fair trade and ethical practices; that is what Thread Harvest is all about.

Each product for sale through Thread Harvest comes with a compelling social or environmental story behind its creation, helping to educate the consumer in the background processes and the people involved in making their product of choice.

With Mothers Day just around the corner, now might be an opportunity to try out Thread Harvest, should you wish you choose an ethical product for your own Mum (discount code below). To save your some time, here is a profile of 10 items found on Thread Harvest, that would make great gifts this Mothers Day:

1. Kelapa Shoes by Indosole Soles


The Kelapa is a feminine take on the classic beach shoe, made with no animal material, and no fuel powered machinery, custom dyed, organic canvas uppers and soles made from repurposed tyres

Buy for $65 HERE Also available in coral.

2. Small handbag by What Daisy Did Made  
Each unique bag is made using recycled and factory offcut leather that may have otherwise been thrown away.  Made in a combination of colours, each bag reduces waste and helps create work in the developing world (produced in Rajastan, India)

Buy for $59 HERE. Larger bags and purses also available HERE.

3. Neary Pacaya T-shirt by Raven and Lily 


Ivory and black t-shirt, hand-screen printed on eco-friendly materials such as remnant jersey and naturally dyed, hand-loomed cotton.  Made in Phnom Penh, by a creative collaboration of women.  Many of artisans involved are HIV+ or have escaped the sex-trafficking industry.

Buy for $45 HERE.  Also available in slate.

4. Arrow Bangle by Article 22 



Make bracelets, not war!  These bangles are made by artisans in Laos, from Vietnam War era bombs, plane parts, and other aluminium scraps.  Hand poured and cast in wood and ash molds.

Buy for $45 HERE.  More jewellery designs available HERE.

5. Mulholland Sweater by Threads 4 Thought 


Made from sustainable materials (100% organic cotton), produced in factories that respect their employees and treat them humanely and fairly.

Buy for $65 HERE.  More designs available HERE

6. Whitney Necklace by Starfish Project


A beautiful turquoise and beige howlite, black ore and gunmetal chain necklace hand-crafted by women who have been rescued out of exploitation and abuse in 3 workshops around Asia.

Buy for $32 HERE.  Also available in yellow stone.  More designs HERE.

7. Dainty Pendant Necklace by The Giving Keys


Helping the homeless back on their feet using repurposed keys.  Each key is engraved by an individual transitioning out of homelessness, that is meaningfully employed by The Giving Keys.

Buy for $45 HERE.  Also available in gold brass.  More designs HERE.

8. Peacock Bucket Tote by Joyn 


A beautiful bag that is hand woven, with a peacock print that is hand print-blocked.  Made in Rajpur, India by artisans suffering from hardship and unemployment.

Buy for $39 HERE.  More bag designs available HERE.

9. Wilbur Fleece Pullover by ALAS Fair Trade Organic Sleepwear



Just in time for winter, this soft pullover is perfect for chilly nights.  Ethically made to GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) in certified organic cotton, in Jaipur and Tirrupur, India.

Buy for $79 HERE.  Matching pants HERE.  More sleepwear designs HERE.

10. Soap and Journals by Raven and Lily



Hand made soaps made by artisans in the foothills of the Himalayan Mountains in Northern India, using spring water, local herbs, rich spices, and soothing essential oils.  Journals are made with recycled cotton turned into paper.

The artisan women working with Raven and Lily find new meaning through their work, once marginalised because of their gender and poverty, now finding passion and a new hope for their future.

Buy soaps for $8 and journals for $14 HERE.


Recycled Fashion Discount Code

The lovely folk at Thread Harvest have been kind enough to provide Recycled Fashion readers with a discount code to use, 10% off all purchases before Mother's Day; type in RFmothersday10 at checkout.  All purchases before Mother's Day will also receive a free upcycled fair trade card from Ravel and Lilly.

I am sure you will agree that buying products from Thread Harvest not only has that feel-good factor, but will genuinely do good within global communities, too. 

You can also find Thread Harvest on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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Suitcase Rummage

Friday, April 24, 2015

Imagine a market, where all stallholders must sell their vintage and handmade wares out of suitcases. Sounds good, yes? Rummaging at its best!

The Suitcase Rummage markets have been running for a number of years now, originating in Brisbane and now held regularly in Brissie, Lismore, Canberra, Melbourne, with Freemantle on the horizon, too.


The next Melbourne Suitcase Rummage will be held at Fed Square on 14 June 2015, more here. For other city dates, head to suitcaserummage.com.au and follow all the latest rummage news on Facebook.



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The Eratz Fantasia Project at Yarra Ranges Museum

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Yarra Ranges Regional Museum in Lilydale presents an exciting exhibition this Autumn, for those with an interest in sustainable art, childhood memories, re-purposing and upcycling.

Artist Rachael Hallinan, a Melbourne-based painter, photographer and installation artist, presents The Ersatz Fantasia Project; a fun, interactive large-scale art installation using recycled plastic toys otherwise destined for landfill. This huge eco-project takes on a fantasy forest, reflecting the environmental impacts of our consumer driven society.

:: The Ersatz Fantasia Project at Yarra Ranges Museum. ::
Image c/o Facebook

The exhibition, funded through a Yarra Ranges Council community grant, opened on Saturday 28 March and will run until Sunday 24 May, 2015.

 :: The Ersatz Fantasia Project at Yarra Ranges Museum. ::
Image c/o Facebook

The Ersatz Fantasia Project stretches over two floors; The Box Gallery is the main exhibition room which focuses on a tree, completely covered by a rainbow of toys and discarded plastics. Visitors are then invited into The Chambers; upstairs in the gallery, to view 'The Majestic Plastic Bag'; a mockumentary narrated by Jeremy Irons, tracking the 'migration' of a plastic bag from the grocery store to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in the Pacific Ocean.

It is also in The Chambers that visitors can create their own waste-art from discarded materials, plus there are three events taking place over the course of the project, with one workshop (make an upcycled paper bowl) presented by yours truly on Wednesday 13 May - book here.


:: Make an Upcycled Paper Bowl with me at the Yarra Ranges Museum ::

Other events include "School Holiday Workshop: Bits and Bugs" on Thursday 09 April, 2015 at 10:30am and "Repurposing toys to create household item" on Saturday 02 May, 2015 at 11:00am, taught by the artist herself; Rachael Hallinan.  Book your spot here.

For more information on The Eratz Fantasia Project by Rachael Hallinan, click here.


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Space Invader Tee Refashion

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

I almost missed this Space Invader Tee, hidden amongst the children's clothes in a local Op Shop. Wouldn't you know it, Space Invader Tee is an adult size, and cost me a big fat 50c.

:: Space Invader Tee ::

I didn't bother trying on Spade Invader Tee, I rarely do for that price, because if it didn't fit, I could always make a grocery bag out of it.


Anyway, the Space Invader Tee did indeed fit, although I felt lacked interest, so after a quick scissor snip, I now have a Space Invader Vest, with a side tie for added interest.

:: Sleeves and neckline removed ::

:: slit for side tie ::





In another news, it has been announced that Recycled Fashion has reached the 'Top 100 Green Initiatives 2015' list prepared by Green Match, making it to number 5 of the 'Top 20 Green Projects'. What a nice surprise!

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