It’s easy to take old clothes to the recycle banks but why not try something more creative and far more worthwhile?
A writer for an advertising agency by day, Jen Holmes spends her free time hunting out charity shop and eBay bargains and then customising her finds to make them girly, chic and eco friendly. Jen abides by the eco friendly fashion laws of ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ and exercises her green credentials by never throwing anything away.
I caught up with Jen to find out the secrets to her success and how she creates a style so unique…
Where do you shop for clothes?
I mostly shop on the high street and eBay, but I’m getting into charity shops, car boot sales and vintage fairs more and more.
Why do you never throw anything away?
It’s just so wasteful! I get bored of my clothes very quickly, but I’d much rather see them go to a happy new home rather than into the bin.
Tell me some of your favourite clothes/accessories that you have customised?
I worked in a denim shop when I was 17 and learnt how to alter jeans. While I worked there, I bought some straight leg ripped jeans. A few years ago, I dug them out and decided to make them wearable again by altering the shape. I made the legs skinnier to give them a modern feel. I love them now!
What do you do to recycle your clothes?
I clear out my wardrobe and sort things into four piles – keep, donate, sell and sister! I give some bits to charity, sell others on eBay and hand lots down to my sister, who has the best free wardrobe around!
What do you do if you have an item that has really gone out of fashion?
There are always ways to rework high fashion items – a belt can transform a dated shape, layers can be added or removed, simple cardigans and jumpers can hide fussy details. And if there’s nothing you can do, clothes can be relegated to the dressing up box!
Any tips for our readers how they can recycle their clothes?
Be ruthless. Evaluate everything in your wardrobe regularly and decide what goes and what stays. Try things on, wear them in different ways and if it’s not working – recycle! The easiest way is to donate to charity or a lucky friend, but eBay is also good. If something’s damaged beyond repair, the fabric can be recycled – this is something I’ll be doing now I’ve found my nearest recycling centre. You could even rip up old t-shirts and use them as cleaning cloths!
Have any disasters happened along the way?
I had to buy a cute clutch bag back from the charity shop I donated it to – you can be too ruthless! And many of my alterations have gone horribly wrong, so I’m a pro at unpicking stitches.
What inspired you to start recycling your clothes?
I’m always looking for ways to save money, and throwing old clothes away seemed like such a waste. My sister and I have shared clothes since we were little girls so handing things down to her was an easy progression… the rest just followed!
To read more about Jen visit her blog:
Lucy splits her time between rural Norfolk and the big city of London - picking up eco stories as she goes.