Oh my goodness, I can’t believe I’m about to say it… the first Restyling Exchange ever is here! After a few weeks of thinking, preparing, scheduling, designing, etc… this project is finally ready to see the light and hopefully it will become a yearly community-wide event for many many years to come (can you tell we like dreaming big??). This global refashion swap has been lovingly organised by Amy and me and we are just so so excited to bring it to all of you guys. The best thing about this exchange is not just that you’ll get a restyled garment at the end of it, but also you’ll connect with other seamstress around the world, you’ll get loads of inspiration for future restyling projects and all of this whilst being eco-friendly! So it’s an all round feel good – do good project, don’t you guys think?
The Restyling Exchange is a global fashion swap connecting restylers all over the world to promote the value of refashioned clothing, deepen the online sewing & crafting community, and challenge your creativity.
I must acknowledge that I am fairly new to restyling garments and I only got into it last year after reading Overdressed: the shockingly high cost of cheap fashion, the widely acclaimed book by Elisabeth L. Cline, as part of the Colette Book Club. This book had a great impact on me, and although the mention of garment refashioning is just that, a passing mention, it was enough to really get me thinking about this process and its endless possibilities. The first ‘victim’ of my restyling attempts was my baby boy (and my husband’s ever diminishing wardrobe) resulting is this supper cute dungarees. I was hooked!
Once you get interested in restyling, then you’ll surely come across Amy’s IG feed sooner or later because she’s got plenty of stunning examples, and therefore inspiration, including the most beautiful and delicate refashion of her mum’s wedding dress. Then, our paths crossed again when she took part in the Pilar Bear Pattern Share (a worldwide pattern exchange project that I started a few months back) and got lucky enough to get her hands on the pattern bundle. This way, we got to know each other a bit better and have been following each other’s posts much more closely.
As part of another IG initiative that I started with my Insta friend @katerelton, we swapped garments in order to get them restyled and then returned to each other. I posted a picture of what she had sent me to restyle for her and explaining what we were up to, when Amy quickly saw the potential and left an innocent (but highly motivating/exciting/can’t-believe-what-we-are-about-to-do) comment saying: “what about doing this community wide?” Both my brain and my heart immediate went ‘Oh yes, we must do it!’ and I message Amy with some initial thoughts on the project. I think we were both amazed at how much on the same page we were! I love that about the sewing community, it just seems like sometimes we are just one big soul, but I guess that happens when your do something out of love and passion.
We decided to launch during Fashion Revolution Week because we feel that raising awareness on refashioning and giving a new lease of life to unworn garments is a powerful message that resonates with this project’s moto. The Fashion Revolution week was created in response to the Rhana Plaza collapse in April of 2013 that killed 1138 people, mostly garment workers. Fashion Revolution is a movement that calls for greater transparency, sustainability and ethics in the fashion industry. If you can’t take part on the Restyling Exchange for any reason, we still encourage you to get involved in the Fashion Revolution week by asking brands #WhoMadeMyClothes over on social media. It’s about time we realise that the £5 top that we pick and then never wear has serious consequences that we fail to grasp, mainly due to lack of awareness.
Well, this is the fun bit! Unless you are Marie Kondo, I’m sure you’ll have a few (or a lot?) of clothes that for whatever reason you don’t wear. Maybe they got passed down from a sibling and they’re not really your style, maybe you love the fabric but not the shape of the garment, or they simply don’t fit anymore. Well, it’s time to get those out for a ride!
Once you’ve signed up (big pink sign up button below), you can start going through your not-quite-my-style pile of clothes and pick one or two items. You then will mail off these items to your Restyler (assigned by us based on your location and size). At the same time, you will be someone else’s Restyler (not necessarily the same person that has you), and you will receive a package of garments from them. In order to keep postage costs down, you will be assigned someone in your own country. We will also do our best to match people of similar size (you will enter your measurements in the sign up form).
The sooner you mail them off, the longer your restyler will have to think about and transform your garments, but they idea is that each restyler has a minimum of two and a half weeks to work on the refashion and then post them back to their owner.
After that, we will be having an Insta Party to show off all our restyled garments! I’m already excited about the amount of inspiration that will be floating around over that weekend and also to ‘hang out’ with like-minded people from around the Globe. And the best thing, I think by then we’ll all have been bitten by the refashion bug and will never look back!
Just to make sure we are all clear.. here are a few guidelines!!
WHO CAN JOIN:
– The exchange is open to everyone that has a public Instagram account AND feels they can restyle and give a new lease of life to an unworn garment. Deadline to sign up is April 30th (sign up link below!).
– Again, you will be matched up by general size & location (no one will have to pay for international shipping).
– You can include more than 1 garment as long as they are intended to be restyled together. Not for sending 20 garments to get the 20 refashioned!
– Please do not mail valuable or precious family heirloom garments.
– Please ensure that the items to be restyled are clean.
– We encourage you to print, fill in and send the downloadable questionnaire (found below) along with the garments to be restyled. That way you’ll let the other person know a bit more about your tastes and preferences. But don’t include specific instructions, the end result has got to be a surprise!
– You are welcome to use fabric from your stash in addition to the garment(s) sent to you to be restyled.
– There are no limitations to how you restyle the garment you are sent. Go all out as if it were your own! You can cut, paint, dye, embellish… the possibilities are endless!
– It may help you to have a little browse of the owner of your restyled garment’s social media accounts to get a feel for their style.
– The pieces to be restyled must be mailed by May 6th, 2017 at the latest. The sooner you send them, the more time you’ll allow the restyler to plan and refashion your pieces.
– The finished pieces must be returned by June 2nd, 2017. Please post them back to their owner as soon as they are ready.
– No one likes getting mail lost in the post, so we encourage you to keep on the safe side and send it with tracking & signature required. If the packet did get lost in the post, either before or after being refashioned, neither the sender nor the recipient can be blamed for the loss.
– By entering, you are committing to pay for any post costs involved in this exchange.
– In the odd chance that only one person was to sign up from a given country, and was not willing to cover international postage, then we may cancel their request to join in the exchange due to a lack of restyling partner in their country.
– You can use the hashtag #restylingexchange2017 throughout this time to keep us posted about your process. Maybe you want to post about the garments you’ve mailed off for restyling, or maybe you want to share your creative process and how you are approaching the refashion. Before and after shots are also very effective, don’t forget to post yours!
– We will be having a dedicated weekend so that we can all share and see the restyled garments at once, so even if you’ve been posting about your make, don’t forget to join the community over the 9th, 10th and 11th of June.
All of that sound good to you? Click to sign up –>