Anyone who had been following Re_considered’s journey over the past year might recognise Tabby’s top. This piece, the first top she ever made, started everything. The story goes that she saw a similar design on ASOS when she was 16 and decided to recreate it from her grandmother’s old William Morris pillowcase. It has all the markings of a first attempt at upcycling: the material is old and fraying, it’s been repaired a few times and shows it, the straps are barely functional but this is why we love it so much. It’s an ode to the start of Tabby’s upcycling journey.
“This was one of the first tops I ever made. I was 16 and I found a top on ASOS and tried to copy it. It’s so badly made, the material is so old that it is fraying, I struggle so much wriggling into it. I’m sure one day it’ll completely fall apart but I’ll keep wearing it until it does.”
“It used to be an old pillowcase that belonged to my grandma, the pattern is William Morris, which is where my absolute love for William Morris comes from, she had so much of it in her house.”
We believe that reinstating perceptions of clothing as intrinsically valuable and durable is a prerequisite to establishing a more ethical industry. This involves people rediscovering the processes involved in the production of their clothing. The global industrialisation of clothing manufacture even in the past 25 years has caused a seismic shift in the way clothes are produced and consumed. While even a generation ago most people would have had some level of competency with a needle and thread and most of our grandparents would have made and mended their clothing themselves, these are skills which as a generation we have lost. Most people have a very limited understanding of the stages involved in the production of their clothes. The mystification of the clothing production line has become totally normalised over the past few decades and an opaque system plays into the hands of fast fashion brands, who can capitalise on our ignorance and desire for convenience through the exploitation of both people and planet. The reality is that fast fashion is only really fast as long as consumers are complicit in ignorance. The recent boom in home crafts that we have seen, largely a result of lockdowns, can help us to address this problem. This sort of crafting offers creative fulfilment but more importantly reveals the value and time required at each stage of production, helping us to treasure the things that we own and appreciate their intrinsic value.