Vintage at Southbank 2011 (the follow-on from last year’s Vintage at Goodwood festival) was held in London last weekend. I volunteered to help man the stand for whomadeyourpants? in the outdoors vintage/eco marketplace. We were positioned in the Upcycled Marketplace curated by Louise Kamara of The Eco Design Fair. Whomadeyourpants? is a Southampton based social enterprise founded by Becky John and I have volunteered with them in the past, assisting with marketing and events to the best of my ability. Although their key selling point is the fact that you can trace the production of your pants back to a marginalised woman in Southampton, (who through whomadeyourpants? is gaining improved employability skills and confidence), to fit with the theme of the fair we were emphasising the upcycled nature of the products.
‘Upcycled pants!’ People would say, ‘What does that mean?’ All seemed relieved to hear that they weren’t in fact, reused knickers, but just that the lingerie fabric was upcycled from the lingerie trade. Fabric such as offcuts and end-of-rolls, that would otherwise be thrown away are used to create these beautiful pants. This is a bit of a dirty secret of the industry, all of the fabric which is never used. In the fashion industry, for every line of garments by a big manufacturer, fabric will be kept in reserve as ‘liability stock’ in case something goes wrong with the main production run.
Other brands at the fair took a more literal but still ingenious take on upcycling, using sub standard colouring pencils to create jewellery, or ring pulls to design bags. There were plenty of vintage stalls which needed far more rummaging time than I could give, but still I bought three scarves and a 1960s tiny beaded purse/bag. See the pictures below for the whomadeyourpants? stand and my purchases.