A new creative hub on Paisley High Street is encouraging everyone to make-do-and-mend.
But far from being the frugal war-time message, fashion and textile experts at ReMode are inspiring people to tailor their favourite clothes to meet the latest trends and protect the environment.
ReMode recently opened its town centre premise thanks to support from Renfrewshire Council’s creative hub development fund, which enables creative companies to co-locate and collaborate.
The social enterprise, founded in 2017 – receives funding from the Scottish Government’s Climate Challenge Fund – and now has premises in Paisley and Lochwinnoch, each selling second-hand and upcycled clothing.
And the dedicated staff team also run sewing workshops and a school education programme highlighting the environmental impacts of the fashion and textile industry.
Project Manager Jane Dixon, a Fine Art graduate with 25 years in arts administration, says: “Our whole ethos is can we make clothes last longer as they are an amazing, valuable resource – you can buy second-hand, you can swap, you can alter or mend the clothes you have. Whatever you want to do, we’re here to help you.
“It’s really exciting being here on the high street as people are popping in and we’re able to have conversations about why we’re here and what issues we’re highlighting. We’re not just a shop; we’re here to talk about the positive things people can do to reduce the impact our fashion choices have on the environment.”
The Paisley premise is also home to clothing and accessory print designer Josef McFadden, who converts his hand-drawn illustrations onto ties, bow ties, hats and scarves; Paisley-born embroiderer Catherine McAtier and local textile designer Chloe Wright, owner of Loopy Lally Designs. They have all benefited from the Council’s InCube Creative programme, which helps people turn their talent into a sustainable business.
Jane added: “There’s no way we would have had the confidence to take on a high street premise, let alone welcome other businesses into the fold, if we hadn’t had the support of Renfrewshire Council. It feels like we’ve made a really big leap and someone is here holding our hand. There’s now lots of different opportunities for us to explore and we are in a strong position to grow.
“I’m relatively new to working in Paisley, but what has struck me is how strongly the people in Paisley feel about Paisley. There’s a strong sense of community pride. The maker community is also really strong and there’s a bit of a vibe going on, which is very exciting to be a part of.”
Emma Owen, 27, has just joined ReMode as its Programme Assistant, and having re-located to Paisley from Inverness, is excited about being a part of the local creative network.
She said: “In the short time I’ve worked here I feel part of a community, it’s nice to meet people and see how excited they are that there’s something like this in Paisley.
“Make-do-and-mend is back and what’s great is being able to share skills with people and learn from others who come in to see us too as we all need to go back to a place where we share our skills with one another. Paisley is up-and-coming and things are happening on the High Street which will make people proud to live here.”
ReMode is the second business to benefit from the Council fund, following furniture upcycling business UpHub opening its Paisley high street hub earlier this year. Plans are in place to establish up to 12 hubs by 2021, each with a different creative focus.
Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “It’s great to see ReMode open its new Paisley premises and I look forward to seeing them and all the creative companies based here go from strength-to-strength over the coming years. The work the ReMode team do is really important, giving people important life skills like sewing and helping us as consumers to make small changes which make a big difference.
“We have so many creative and innovative people in Renfrewshire making unique products and our creative hub development fund is there to help them achieve their goal of turning their talent into a viable business, giving them the platform to sell their products on our local high streets.
“Our business development team have the knowledge and expertise to support creative companies to achieve sustainable growth and in the last four years alone have helped more than 100 creative start-ups. I’d encourage creative entrepreneurs to get in touch and see how we can help them achieve their ambitions and make Renfrewshire the place of choice for creative businesses.”
For more information about our creative hubs, call InCube on 0300 300 1180.
Case study – Made in Renfrewshire
Josef McFadden may hail from Northern Ireland, but his creative business is made in Renfrewshire.
The 27-year-old moved to Paisley in 2017, via a pit-stop in the Scottish Borders, to complete the Council’s InCube Creative programme – helping people turn their talent into a sustainable business.
Josef, a clothing and accessory print designer, converts his hand-drawn illustrations into menswear products, including ties, bow ties, hats and scarves.
“My business is much bigger since I moved to Paisley,” says Josef. “The InCube programme was fantastic and through that I got a lot of support from Business Gateway and mentoring help. I learned lots, how to run a business for yourself and to think much more commercially. That’s been the biggest change in my business thanks to the programme.”
Originally aiming to be a portrait painter before discovering textiles, Josef has now moved into studio space at ReMode on Paisley High Street, the latest creative hub to open in Renfrewshire.
Fashion-focused ReMode sell second-hand and upcycled clothing and run sewing workshops together with an engagement programme to highlight the environmental impacts of the fashion and textile industry.
It’s a cause Josef is excited to be a part of. He said: “All of my products are sourced in the UK, handmade to the highest standards and all without oil or gas in the print production process. I work with an ethical, sustainable designer in North Berwick who takes my off-cuts and I’m keen to do more to support sustainability and contribute to the work ReMode are doing.
“It’s a lonely life when you’re self-employed, so it’s nice to be in a shared studio setting where you can come in, see other faces and throw ideas off one another. And it’s really beneficial to have 24-hour access, as well as space to work and to store my collections.”