Old trends, new threads

Old trends, new threads

Clothes you might think are worn and useless, or no longer fashionable, can be 'upcycled' and made into something new

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Junior reporters Yolanda Yip (left) and Pearl Tin learned the basics of upcycling with Chocolate Rain founder Prudence Mak (right)
Junior reporters Yolanda Yip (left) and Pearl Tin learned the basics of upcycling with Chocolate Rain founder Prudence Mak (right)
Photos: Edward Wong/SCMP
With Hong Kong's landfills nearing full capacity, textile waste from the fashion industry - a big business in the city - only adds to the problems. But what if you could use this textile "waste" and design new clothes with it? This is exactly what is being showcased right now at the Upcycling Fashion and Sustainable Living exhibition at Telford Plaza in Kowloon Bay. The event includes seminars, workshops, and a display of upcycled clothes.

Our junior reporters attended a workshop, where they learned to upcycle textile waste into clothes for Fatina, a trademark for Chocolate Rain, the jewellery and design company who organised the event.

Here's what they learned ...

Workshop origins

Prudence Mak, the founder of Chocolate Rain, taught us how to design and make clothes for Fatina, Chocolate Rain's cute female doll. Fatina's "story" is that she came to life to encourage young girls not to throw away their memories.

We were each given a Fatina figure, and had to be creative to dress her well. Fabric was provided by Chocolate, Sanrio and St James' Settlement.

Mak says she hopes the workshop helped students to understand the idea of upcycling, which she learned from her mother.

"When I was small, my mum and I went to factories in Kwun Tong to buy fabric at low prices to make clothes," she says. "We didn't have many resources, so we had to upcycle everything."

Mak says she also hopes the workshop helped raise participants' awareness of leading a sustainable lifestyle.

Pearl Tin


Four principles


Designer Orsola de Castro (right) also offered upcycling advice at the workshop.

The objective of the workshop was to reuse fabric waste, which would otherwise be thrown away. Globally, we produce around 30 million tonnes of textile waste per year.

Orsola de Castro is an ethical Italian fashion designer who founded the upcycling fashion company Reclaim to Wear. She helped host the workshop, and she says there are four aspects to consider when designing and making clothing: people, environment, creativity, and profit.

The people are the clients the clothes will be sold to, reminding us to make clothes of a high standard so that nobody can tell they have been made from textile waste. The environment is the method of manufacturing the clothes, while trying to reduce as much textile waste as possible. Creativity is the visual value of the clothes. And the profit is the money that will be made from the clothes, reminding us to make sure the finished product can be sold.

It's important to remember that even the smallest scrap of waste can be turned into a completely new, and desirable, design.

Yolanda Yip

Young Post organises regular activities for our junior reporters. If you wish to join, send your name, age, school and contact details to reporters.club@scmp.com with "jun rep application" in the subject field


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