Project Upcycle

Winter 2011- Three Swinburne University design students from the Middle East were doing a special project on sustainability. Myself being a teacher in another faculty, regardless, ran down with my sewing machine and dress mannequin and possibly took over, LOL.

They had researched all about clothing waste and made some posters to display important facts (bless their little learning souls). I was surprised to learn from one of the students that in the Middle East, there is an obsession with new clothing, and opportunity (thrift) shops and vintage clothing stores are practically non-existent.

(This story is told through a cool software program called “Comic Life”. And no, they are not paying me to say that.)

We invited passing students to the Student Lounge to come and have a go at restyling a kimono jacket on a mannequin. One passing student had already studied fashion and draped an asymmetrically sleeved dress. Some of my own design students, who I’d dragged down to broaden their perspectives on design, had some fun dressing the mannequin too.



One of the male students even had a go placing a long tube denim skirt, which were all the rage in the 80s, but now no longer in vogue, over his head and fashioning a pretty cool looking neckpiece. Another male student looked pretty hesitant and embarrassed about the the whole thing – a bit too girly perhaps..?


Their professor brought a bag of clothing his family were no longer using, and one student made cleaning cloths using my sewing machine. The bag had so many items which looked like a real headache to deal with… Why buy so many in the first place, I wondered… ?!


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