Re-making or re-designing a garment can include altering a garment to fit better, altering a garment to change the style, or recombining multiple garments and textiles into a new garment.
Historically, when clothing was more expensive, it was common to remake garments. People would frequently alter the style of sleeves, collars and change the length of garments to match seasonal trends.
With clothing becoming less expensive and less people having the knowledge to sew and make alterations the practice has become less common. Recently however there has been a resurgence in interest in the practice. For some remaking and redesigning is an ethical decision to reduce their impact on the planet. For others remaking is about preserving the past and capturing the stories and embedded meaning in garments and textiles by extending their life. And for others it's the chance to have a unique wardrobe consisting of textiles that may otherwise have been too expensive to work with.
AlterationsAlterations can extend the use phase of clothing by making a piece that is no longer worn wearable again. Clothing alteration services can make adjustments to your clothes for you if you're not comfortable making alterations to yourself. Common alterations include:
- Shortening pants and jeans
- Taking in waist bands
- Changing collar styles
- Shortening skirts and dresses
- Adjusting garment fit
Re-designing a garment can involve making multiple alterations to a single garment to change its style and appearance or can involve combining several garments and textiles together.
A number of designers are reworking worn garments and textiles, often from homewares, into new garments. Consisting of small runs and one of a kind pieces, working with existing garments allows designers to create unique pieces with less environmental impact. This practice extends the use phase of garments, often redirecting partially damaged garments away from landfill and reclaiming the still useable aspects of quality clothes.
Some examples include:
- Australian brand ShiloLydia work with high quality mens shirts and combine them with heirloom linens, table cloths and lace to create one of a kind garments that embody the stories of the original garments and textiles they are made from. See the work of ShiloLydia here.
- New York based Bode uses vintage textiles such as quilts and table cloths to create a range of menswear garments. See the work of Bode here.
A popular trend on social media platforms like YouTube, Instagram and TikTok is the concept of Thrift Flip. This practice sees people finding outdated or unfashionable garments at second hand stores or in their wardrobes and re-working and re-designing them to fit into modern trends and styles.
Critics of the practice have suggested that it is aiding in the gentrification of second hand clothing and that wearable vintage pieces are sometimes inadvertently destroyed by people not recognising vintage styles. It has also faced criticism for reducing the available stock of plus sized clothing in second hand stores and for body shaming, with many on social media buying plus sized garments to transform into smaller sizes.