This Sustainable September discover a clothing collection recreated entirely from second-hand, upcycled materials.
Sometimes the items donated to us at St Oswald’s Hospice are a little too pre-loved to sell in our shops but that doesn’t mean they can’t be given a new lease of life!
Most of us will stop wearing our clothes once the hems have frayed or the buttons have fallen off as we think they have little or no wear left in them.
However, Viv Fung, a Retail Volunteer at St Oswald’s Hospice Gosforth shop, sees beyond their imperfections, looking instead at each garment’s potential.
Over the last twelve months, Viv has been busy creating a collection of upcycled clothing, making an amazing series of stylish shirts, skirts and jackets. Viv takes these imperfect or lightly damaged clothes on a new journey, transforming them into stand-out pieces that can be re-loved by someone new.
Viv, who spent twenty-five years working in the fashion industry in Hong Kong said:
“I love sewing and fashion. The thought of people throwing away nice products that could be mended or upcycled makes me think – what a waste!”
In 2022, the Gosforth shop decided to look for a volunteer who could support them with the mending and repairing of donations. It’s no surprise that Viv put herself forward for the role.
Marc Riley, Manager of St Oswald’s Hospice Gosforth shop explained:
“Viv first volunteered with us to help repair damaged clothing, mending small holes or rips in clothes that were otherwise perfectly wearable. Across the year Viv has repaired 128 items whilst volunteering which have been sold on to raise vital funds for St Oswald’s Hospice.
“It became clear that Viv was really passionate about preventing clothing and material waste. She spoke about how items that couldn’t be saved with a quick stitch or new button loop could be transformed into something entirely new.”
On Pinterest Viv came across designer brands who were creating cool and innovative garments. Given her seamstress skills, she knew she could take inspiration from these pieces, recreating them using second-hand clothing. After talking to the shop team in Gosforth the consensus was – ‘Let’s give it a go!’
With the backing of the Gosforth shop, Viv got busy collecting donated materials that she could use for her upcycled clothing collection. From here, the pieces started to take shape with old jeans being transformed into skirts and shirts being re-worked into backless blouses.
Marc has found Viv’s passion for re-cycling, re-using and re-loving a real inspiration:
“As a retail team we all have sustainability at our core and Viv has shown us another avenue of achieving this. Her upcycled clothing collection highlights that clothes which are a little too pre-loved can be saved and taken on a new journey. This collection allows us to give back to our local community, offering people something a little different that’s great quality and affordable.”
The upcycled collection will be available to purchase in St Oswald’s Hospice Gosforth shop from the 30th September until the 7th of October.
The remaining items will be available to buy online from the 7th October here: https://www.stoswaldsuk.org/shop/online-shop/
All money raised from the upcycled clothing collection will ensure local people and their families can continue to receive outstanding and compassionate care with St Oswald’s Hospice.
Take a look at some of the incredible upcycled and up-for-sale pieces, modelled by our Retail Development Officer, Caryan!
Image below: Model, Carayan (left) and designer Viv (right)