The first of many articles to come from the talented Rachel Campbell:
“I’m Rachel and I’m a 20-year-old student studying English Literature and History. I’ve always enjoyed writing and after getting involved in the student newspaper during my time at university, I’ve found a real interest in journalism too. I’m looking to write positive stories about what is going on in Paisley, and help readers learn more about the businesses and activities that are so close by. I’m interested in sustainability and how we can support local businesses whilst also doing our bit for the planet. Along the way, I’ll hopefully write about a wide range of topics: music, fashion, theatre, art, health and wellbeing, and anything else that is happening in Paisley. I’d love for anyone to get in touch if they’re interested in having me write an article about their business/charity/event/
Sustainability is becoming one of the key issues of the 21st century and whilst eco-friendly companies are bringing practical alternatives such as bamboo toothbrushes and reusable items to the market, many have turned a blind eye to fast fashion.
Fast fashion is hard to escape. Retailers churn out the latest trends from the runway, and nowadays they infiltrate our inboxes too. Emails are full of discount codes and updates on the latest bargains available at the click of a button. It’s easy to forget that a lot of these companies use exploited labour to produce these clothes and stay on trend. Not only that, the wasteful nature of fast fashion is harmful to our planet too. The more I read about this, the more I wanted to make changes to my own shopping habits. So I set out on a mission to find stylish clothes at a reasonable price from charity shops here in Paisley. Sewing machine at the ready, I planned to make amendments to the clothes I found, and turn them into something I was more likely to wear. That way, I could feel better about the stylish clothes I was buying, as I was producing less waste, and putting something back into charities in my local area. Here’s how I got on.
- Green Suit- Accord Causeyside St – £6
I saw this green suit in Accord and loved the colour. It was a size bigger than my usual size and I wasn’t sure how it would sit so I took a bit of a risk and bought it anyway. As you can see in the first picture, the trousers did fit me but sat a bit low compared to how I prefer them. I just put a stitch on either side of the trousers at the seam where the pockets lie, and I love how they look now. The slightly higher waist makes them look a lot more modern. Similarly, rolling up the sleeves on the blazer made it look more trendy and versatile. I’ve styled it with heels and a black cami top which I think would be a great look for a work night out. I’ve also styled it with trainers and a black and white t-shirt for a more casual afternoon at the beer garden with friends. It could easily be styled with a blouse and boots for a more professional look. I love how versatile this suit is and I know I’ll get loads of wear out of it with just a few small changes made. I’ll call this one a win at only £6.
- Men’s Blue Check Shirt- Salvation Army High Street- £3
I loved the colour of this blue shirt and after seeing a few upcycles online, I thought I’d try my hand at turning this 2xl men’s shirt into a something I could wear. These shirts are easy to get your hands on in charity shops and there’s lots of different ways you can upcycle them. I did start off making a matching skirt from the bottom half of this shirt, but I am very new to this and it went wrong somewhere along the way. You win some you lose some! I think I had some redemption with the shirt section though, as it is definitely something I see myself wearing a lot. I simply cut the shirt where the pockets ended and sewed a hem along that line. The sleeves were also too long for me so I cut them into short sleeves and then decided they were a bit boxy for my liking (it is a men’s shirt after all). I played about a bit with the sleeves and tried out different things, but eventually settled on putting two little tucks in them and securing them with stitches. This is kind of my own version of the puff sleeve trend that is going on at the moment. I definitely think I’ll do another large-shirt-upcycle, in a different way, as I had a lot of different ideas with this one. Here I’ve just styled it with denim shorts for what will probably be the last very sunny dog-walk for a while. I think it looks great either closed or open with a crop top underneath.
- Orange Corduroy Blazer- Accord Causeyside St- £10
This was the most expensive thing I bought as it was brand new and still had the original price tag on it. It was originally from Primark and would have cost £20. Finding new items from shops like Primark in second-hand stores is a great way of keeping up with trends and getting a bargain. And if more of us were to donate clothes we no longer wore to local charity shops we’d have a lot more modern things to pick from when we do venture in. This blazer was quite a few sizes up from my usual size, but I love the oversized style and it looks great over a skirt for that blazer-dress look that’s very in at the moment. I styled it with my Doc Martens and a black backpack for a mooch around Paisley today. I could also see myself wearing this to uni over jeans and a black jumper. Again, it’s a versatile piece that I think I’ll wear lots especially as we go into autumn.
- Pink T-Shirt- British Heart Foundation High Street- £1
I forgot to get a ‘before’ picture of this upcycle- oops! It was a simple t-shirt shape and I made a few adjustments which make it a lot more wearable for me personally. The white embroidery is lovely so I didn’t do anything there, but I decided to crop some length off of it and put some elastic in the new hem I sewed. This makes a ruched finish on the waist which can be quite flattering. I also turned up the sleeves and put a little stitch in them, to make it look a bit less boxy and add some more interest. I paired it with my favourite jeans and white trainers for a casual look. For only spending £1 and a bit of time sewing, I’m really happy with what I’ve now got.
That’s it for now, though I’m looking to do some more upcycling and thrifting, so I might share some more of these in future. I hope my experience finding and modifying good quality, trendy clothes in Paisley’s charity shops encourages you to do the same!