Upcycle Fashion

By using skills to extend the life of clothing we are more likely to become emotionally attached to that item and place value in its longevity.

Our story

Upcycle Fashion was established by Julia Roebuck in 2010 whilst she was studying for the worlds first sustainable fashion Masters - MA Fashion and the Environment at the London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London.

Upcycle Fashion delivers garment repair and upcycling workshops and provides sustainable fashion consultancy services, specialising in circular economy solutions.

This approach allows for creative collaboration with schools, businesses and community groups to explore the potential for reusing, reshaping and repurposing garments, to engage citizens with sewing skills and variation: To see that their clothes have more than one single use, shape or style. By using skills to extend the life of clothing we are more likely to become emotionally attached to that item and place value in its longevity. Through this approach, Julia hopes to slow down the disposable culture of fast fashion.

Julia delivers sustainable fashion workshops for schools, businesses and community groups and speaks at public and private events to promote circular solutions for reducing textile waste. She works to confront over-consumption by raising awareness of sustainable fashion.

Projects:

Swap Shop Sew
Upcycle Fashion, in collaboration with another local business; fairandfunky, organises a sustainable fashion event called Swap Shop Sew in the Holme Valley in Kirklees. The event has run every April and October for 3 years. Swap Shop Sew brings together 3 important aspects of sustainable fashion that everyone can take to reduce the environmental impact of their wardrobe: SWAP: Clothes swap with others, SHOP: From local designer-makers, SEW: Learn to repair and upcycle garments.

Woven in Kirklees
Upcycle Fashion ran regular workshops throughout the inaugural Woven in Kirklees festival, which took place in June 2019, to engage the local community with garment upcycling and sustainable fashion.

Swish and Style
Between 2017 - 2019 Upcycle Fashion worked with Keep Britain Tidy and the North London Waste Authority to deliver the upcycling workshops at a series of free clothes swapping events across North London called Swish and Style.

Remade in Meltham
Establishing a network of repairers and upcyclers in her local community throughout lockdown using social media, Remade in Meltham brings together like-minded people to deliver workshops, markets and exhibitions to engage the wider community with re-use and repair.

What have you learnt that others will find most useful?

  • People aren't telepathic! Don't assume that everyone knows what you are talking about or why you think a project will work. When describing an idea for a new project, set the context first, then your solutions/concepts will make more sense to your audience/collaborators/investors.
  • When you find an idea that works, be ready to repeat that workshop over and over again. Don't feel like you have to keep coming up with new ideas all the time, to reach a lot of people with your message or specific skill, you have to be ready to do the same thing over and over again. A bit like how a singer is expected to perform their greatest hits at every gig!
  • Stay informed. Keep up to date with the latest research, news articles, or campaigns relevant to your work. People will want to discuss these topics with you and not all people will agree with you. Be prepared for the arguments around the trickier aspects of your specialism and handle with care, always be kind and open to others opinions. You won't always change minds, but be prepared to do so if the opportunity arises.

Read more: https://www.upcycle-fashion.co.uk/

Julia Roebuck
Upcycle Fashion