With online Market places offering a fantastic opportunity for creative sustainable fashion businesses to get started, there are is some really amazing and creative stuff going on out there!
One such label which recently caught my eye is Grassroots Fashion which is available to buy exclusively from ASOS Marketplace here.
Charlotte Bobeldijk, founder of the recycled fashion label is a self confessed ebay addict. A few years back, horrifed by stories of unethical practices in the fashion industry, she vowed to shop more sustainably by only buying second hand clothes which led her to begin exploring boots sales, vintage fairs, charity shops and thrift stores.
She often picked up pieces because she loved a particular detail – an
unusual neckline, beautiful print or a striking silhouette, but would find that
something wasn’t right with it. Maybe the cut was unflattering, it had huge
padded shoulders or being vintage it was absolutely teeny tiny! Luckily she used her 5 years of experience as a pattern cutter and designer to alter them and make them look as she wanted.
Sometimes though, flicking through magazines at home Charlotte was be filled with a
desire for the latest high street trend and began to feel frustrated that
shopping 2nd hand often limited her to a vintage look. She wanted to wear the hot
new colour of the season too! Or rock the latest trouser cut or skirt shape. It
was from this frustration that the idea for Grassroots developed. Charlotte was
determined that through upcycling she could rework 2nd hand garments to look like
brand new shiny clothes that reflected the latest trends. Who needs the high
I really love this idea but also how she cleverly manages to create something fresh and contemporary from something old. For each collection she spends time thoroughly researching the seasons’ trends and identifying key items and looks – just as high street designers do.Once she has put together mood boards she begins sourcing her garments through donations from the public and also boot sales and charity shops. When I’m sourcing, she look for items that have at least one of the trends already covered. For example for her last collection she found a gold lace top. It was long sleeved, shapeless and a little on the frumpy side, but the gold lace caught her eye as it is key to the pretty, delicate trend for the summer. She knew I could work with it.
Once Charlotte has got the garments she then looks carefully at each one to decide how best to upcycle it. Sometimes it’s easy and the garment almost dictates what is done, but other times it needs a total rethink to transform it into a completely different garment, such as the tie-dye scarf that she turned into a top. She will then spend time amending the garment which involves anything from dyeing or distressing the fabric to embellishing or completely picking apart the garment to create something new, before cleaning it and putting new labels in. The final piece looks like a brand new garment!
I think the high street is very appealing to consumers because of it’s ability
to offer cheap, fast fashion, but as we are all becoming aware, it also has a lot to answer for. I decided with Grassroots to take the pro’s of the high
street – the fast fashion fix and affordable pricing – but use upcycling to make it ethical. People aren’t going to turn their back on a quick fashion fix or cheap clothing unless there is a viable alternative and I believe that
Grassroots can offer that.