Re-work It

My favourite places to shop upcycled and deadstock fashion

I’ve always used clothes to tell a story about myself – I love the way that you can express something about your personality or beliefs simply through what you wear. From being 17 and realising I was able to communicate my taste in music to those in the know simply with my adidas Gazelles and vintage sportswear, to my decision to stop wearing heels twelve years ago in what I like to think of as a sartorial liberation to rebel against trends (and discomfort!). My wardrobe is so much more than a means of keeping warm and modest.

Now that I spend my time championing sustainable fashion, it’s perhaps no surprise that I’m drawn to items that actually look like they have the responsible credentials I so carefully hunt out. For example, I remember speaking to a shoe brand about using recycled soles and them saying it was difficult to find any that didn’t look recycled, with specks of colour spattered through the white rubber, but I told them how much I loved not only the way it looked, but the story that it told. I wear my creased linen and cashmere coat with visible mending (repaired for me by the lovely people at Nearly New Cashmere) like badges of honour. And, once I have mastered using a sewing machine, I really want to start making my own clothes from deadstock fabric or sourced second hand items like bedsheets and curtains, patched together like a wearable work of art. 

In the meantime though, and in case you too don’t have the amazing skills of the people I’m going to feature in this post, here are some of my favourite makers creating beautiful pieces you can actually buy without so much as threading a needle.

Puffer magic: Freya Simonne

I’ve been following Freya for a while now and it’s lovely to see her brand fly, having already reached somewhat cult status on Instagram. Freya makes stunning one-off pieces from vintage curtains, quilts and even sleeping bags. She’s only just launched her own label, which she sells at pop-up events and on her new website which has just launched, and you can also rent some of her beautiful pieces on Hurr Collective. freyasimonne.com hurrcollective.com

Cottagecore: The Well Worn

If you, like me, have an insatiable appetite for a buffet dress and gingham, you’ll love The Well Worn (also pictured, top). Using nothing but deadstock and vintage fabrics, designer Emma creates small batches of dresses, tops, jackets and denim – you’ll even see in the label how small the run was (the dress I am wearing is number two of four), which really makes you appreciate not only the workwomanship, but makes you feel like you’re wearing a piece of art. thewellworn.co.uk

Patchwork hats: Magpie Vintage

It was the quilted jumpsuits from Magpie Vintage that first caught my eye on Instagram, but I absolutely love the new range of bucket hats from this preloved emporium, a collaborative collection of which with Damson Madder recently sold out in lightning time. Magpie is about to launch a range of unisex Cuban shirts which are AMAZING. magpievintageclothing.com

Duvet days: Sunday at the Villa

Founder Jo studied at the prestigious Central Saint Martins college in London before cutting her teeth at Chloe, Paul Smith and later, fast fashion brands. Disillusioned with her job, she decided to make a change and set up her own recycled label during lockdown. ‘I feel like I am a new person,’ she told me, ‘no longer a slave to fast fashion, making the fat cats rich, churning out next years landfill at the cost of the planet and factory workers world wide.’ As well as these much sought after duvet coats, which Jo is currently sourcing more vintage duvets for, you’ll find beautiful on-off embroidered tops and summer dresses made from antique table cloths. sundayatthevilla.co.uk

Custom made: Lola Alba Vintage

As well as selling vintage pieces, Lola Alba is a made-to-order service – this reduces waste in a number of ways, because the chances of a return are much lower and because the fabric is used really carefully. It takes around 6-8 weeks to make a dress, another method that makes you stop and think before you purchase and slows down that appetite for new trends. Lots of sustainable brands are now adopting this model and I think it can only be a good thing. Also, how amazing is this dress?! lolaalbavintage.com

Quilt heaven: The Wild Folk Studio

I mean, who hasn’t spent lockdown lusting after a vintage quilt coat? The Wild Folk makes really stunning ones, and they’re very much in demand. I love that you can choose the quilt while it is still a quilt, so you really become part of the transformation process. You can also provide your own quilt or blanket, so keep your eyes peeled when you’re vintage shopping for any gems that might look great on your back! thewildfolkstudio.com

Bedsheets to jumpsuits: Made Rebekah Peters

Rebekah Peters, who models her makes in her signature colour-coordinated berets, creates her bold, bright pieces from vintage fabrics like curtains and bedding. Think puff-sleeve dresses and tied crop tops in pretty pastels and Eighties-style oversized floral prints. Rebekah also reworks existing items like shirts and blouses into more fashion-forward pieces with ruffles and matching scrunchies made from the spare fabric. maderebekahpeters.co.uk

Zero-waste scrunchies: Roake

Speaking of scrunchies, how great is it that since they came back into favour a few years ago, they don’t seem to be showing any signs of going away? Because they are the perfect size for using scraps of material that would otherwise be discarded during dressmaking. My local sustainable brand Roake does exactly this; sign me up for the gingham (obvs). roake.studio

Do you have any favourite creators and makers you think I should know about? Leave comments below!