From inner tube wallets, handbags and necklaces to construction net wash bags, Paguro products incorporate a wide range of reclaimed, recycled and repurposed materials. Meet Yen Goo, the creator of paguroupcycle.com

Innovative, imaginative, practical, beautiful and eco-friendly are just a few of the qualities Paguro Upcycle products have to offer to the conscious consumer. Yen Goo, the brains behind Paguro Upcycle, brings together and showcases for us a collection of the world’s finest upcycled products, focusing on quality craftsmanship and contemporary design. Yen and her team collaborate with producers and designers who share their desire to create positive social and environmental change.

I talked with Yen about Paguro, the inner tube products that look and feel like leather and why we should choose upcycled/recycled products.

How did you come up with the idea of Paguroupcycle?

“I was always interested in fashion, but I had become disillusioned with what I saw on the high street. Copious chain stores offering fast fashion and a throwaway culture to match. I found it hard to find many stores that offered products that were unique, individual and good quality.
During my sabbatical, I came across a designer whilst travelling in South East Asia whose mission was to create ethical bags and accessories using repurposed and recycled materials. What made these products so special to me was the imaginative way in which the materials had been reinvented and the positive impact that their creation was having on the local community.
I also noticed that many craftspeople lacked direction in promoting their products and making the products contemporary and appealing to the Western market and that’s how Paguro Upcycle was born! 

Through Paguro, I aim to showcase the quality of their craftsmanship and the individuality of their designs to a wider audience.  I like to see Paguro used as a platform that tells the story of the designers, supports their environmental or social vision and guides them in developing appealing and contemporary products.”

Why should we choose upcycled/recycled products?

“We appreciate that it would be far easier to create something out of new materials, but it requests far more creativity and skill to create great upcycled products that don’t appear in the first instance to be made from recycled materials.

Not only does the use of reclaimed materials have environmental benefits, but our designer/makers thrive on the challenge of using these more difficult materials in desirable and elegant ways. There is far too much fast fashion in the market and it is important that we pay greater respect to the world’s natural resources.” 

How important to the success of the brand are the artisans, the designers and your team?

“The designer/makers are the key people in the whole concept of Paguro Upcycle. Without their passion, creativity and the quality of their craftsmanship, we wouldn’t have the impressive product range that we have today. They share our vision for producing high-quality products and finish each item to the highest standards. Together we hope to change the perspective of some consumers that upcycled and ethical products are inferior in quality.”

What challenges you face with regards to the consumers and the demand?

“Some consumers struggle with the pricing of the products. They instinctively think that products made from recycled products should be cheaper than equivalent products made from new materials.

Whilst the raw material itself may be inexpensive, the products are handmade to a high standard which requires time and a considerable level of skill and energy. Whilst we endeavour to make the products as affordable as possible, it is essential to us that the designer/makers are paid a fair price for their craftsmanship.”

Where do you see Paguro Upcycle in the future?

“We are aiming to get our products into more well-known galleries, museums and also independent stores in the UK and around the World. We would like our website to be a platform that is widely known as the home of quality upcycled products and the first stop for consumers when looking for quality upcycled, fashion accessories.” 


You can find more about Paguro Upcycle on their website: paguroupcycle.com 
On social media: Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter @paguroupcycle

Stockists:  https://paguroupcycle.com/our-stockists/
Finally, you can check out their upcoming events page for an event near you: https://paguroupcycle.com/category/events/

 

 

 

 

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Borrow jewellery, refresh your look and only buy what you love! Meet Tamsin Ivy Gordon the founder of Glitzbox who is shaking up the way you discover and buy jewellery

I am very excited to feature the amazing female entrepreneur Tamsin Ivy Gordon and her innovative business, Glitzbox!

Glitzbox is the UK’s first jewellery rental subscription set to revolutionise the way women buy and discover jewellery. The idea is based on the business model of “access economy” a type of business built on the sharing of resources. More popularly known as the sharing economy, the access economy suggests that “access” to goods and services may be more desirable than “ownership” of them. The result, in theory, is a lower environmental and cultural burden through mass consumption.

Glitzbox is all about giving the customers a choice! They can borrow and wear the items for a month which they can then return for someone else to enjoy (prepaid return slips included in the box). Alternatively, they can buy anything they love using the Glitzcredit discount.

I talked to Tamsin Ivy about her business, why renting jewellery can be the answer to fast fashion and the challenges she faces along the way.

What prompt you to create glitzbox?

“I created Glitzbox as a way to connect the offline and online experience of buying jewellery. I felt there were so many talented up-and-coming designers out there, but that customers were struggling to find them online. When they did find pieces they liked they were unsure about ordering higher priced items without seeing them first in person and then ended up going for established brands they trusted. Unfortunately, emerging designers don’t often have a retail space where you can go in and try pieces on so this was also a barrier to discovering these designers.”

Why renting jewellery?

“I believe that in the fast-fashion world we live in we are expected to regularly update our style and wardrobe. Newness is pushed on us from every angle and it can be not only expensive to keep up but also really wasteful. I too enjoy the excitement of trialling new trends and the novelty of wearing a new piece of jewellery or pair of shoes. So I wanted to offer that but in a more sustainable way. Jewellery is the perfect item to join the access economy because the pieces we use are long lasting and durable so can be worn again and again without ruining. It’s like modern vintage jewellery. Quality pieces are meant to last so you can enjoy them for a month and then send them back for someone else to enjoy. You don’t pay the full value of the item so you save money but still get new pieces to wear all the time. I hope it will encourage people to invest in pieces that they truly love and simply rent the rest! I also think that is the direction lots of industries have gone in (music, movies, clothing etc) and many others will follow!”

How important for the success of the brand are the artisans and the designers you work with?

I have worked with about 20 different designers since starting Glitzbox and it’s been such an exciting experience sharing the concept with the industry and trying to make a service that positively impacts their business. So far all the brands I’ve worked with have been founded by females, which is unusual in a traditionally male-dominated jewellery industry. This wasn’t a conscious choice at first I was just drawn to inspirational and talented women creating jewellery and they were excited by and believed in the Glitzbox concept. I love working with designers and connecting them with new loyal customers who offer valuable feedback and potential sales opportunities. Without the founding brands who took a chance on me, Glitzbox wouldn’t exist!”

What are the challenges you face with regards to getting more women to subscribe to Glitzbox?

“I think the word “subscription” can scare people off as they feel they may get tied into something indefinitely. However, our membership can be paused or cancelled any time so it is really flexible!  The other thing is they aren’t confident with the quality of the jewellery, but generally, once people subscribe they stay for a long time as it’s a fun and convenient way to continuously refresh your jewellery box whilst supporting independent designers.”

Where do you see Glitzbox in the future?

“We have been slowly testing the model and getting to know which styles and designers work well. As we get closer to our one year anniversary I’m going back through all our data, feedback and insights and building on those. I’m really excited to be announcing soon that we are growing the support on offer to designers we work with. From working with various up and coming brands we’ve seen their frustrations and struggles in great detail – everything from creating engaging content, increasing sales and receiving constructive feedback on their designs. These are all areas I feel Glitzbox can support brands with whilst growing the subscription side of the business as well.”  


You can find more about Glitzbox on glitzbox.co.uk  and Glitzbox on Instagram


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Revitalise Your Wardrobe In 5 Steps

  1. Take out of your wardrobe anything that is non-clothing and put it in a different storage space. Remove all the out-of-season clothes and pack them away in storage bags.
  2. Now the difficult part: Remove any clothing/ shoe or accessory items  that:
  • you have not worn in the last 12 months
  • do not fit you
  • are not comfortable
  • look old and tired
  • are old-fashioned
  • not flattering
  • not the right colour
  • clothes you can’t wear for 3 different occasions, with 3 other outfits in your wardrobe and over 2-3 seasons

3. Manage your wardrobe: Put your clothes together into different garment types: hang all your tops together, skirts, trousers, dresses and jackets. Organise your knitwear, accessories and shoes in clear boxes and baskets.

4. Time to have fun! Create your own outfits by mixing key pieces (skirts and trousers/leggings) with different combinations of tops/ blouses/shirts, jackets, knitwear and accessories/ handbags and shoes. Hang them together as outfits – you can even use clear zipped dress covers to put the complete outfit together with the accessories and perhaps the shoes included! Do this for your work-wear and casual/smart casual.

5. Finally: write down a list of clothing, accessories and shoe items that perhaps are missing from your wardrobe or need replacing. This will be your wish list when you go shopping next.

This is everything you need to do to have an uncluttered and organised space for your clothes.

Good luck and enjoy your revitalised wardrobe!

Questions To Ask Before Shopping For New Clothes

These are some questions I’ve found helpful and I think are good to ask yourself before buying anything new:

Do I love it, or am I trying to convince myself I need it? Is the price/sale factoring into my decision?

Give it a few days before you buy it. It’s easy to get excited about something new so make sure it’s an item you want and will use (giving yourself some time to think about it often helps). It’s also incredibly easy to be tempted by sales, ask yourself if you would feel the same way if the product was regular price.

Make a wish list! To avoid impulse sale purchases – to know that you really need/want it. 

When/where will I wear this? Clothes should fit your lifestyle; only buy pieces you know you’ll actually wear. You start with doing things and then buy – you probably need fewer things than you need.

What will I wear it with? Make sure the outfit is your style and works with what you already have/doesn’t require you to buy other things to wear it.

Does it fit and is it comfortable? And if it doesn’t fit right, can it be altered? Your clothes should fit the way you want and if it’s not comfortable when you try it on, you likely won’t enjoy wearing it.

What is it made from and how do I care for it? Make sure the material has the properties you want (eg. soft, breathable, water-resistant, etc.) and is a fabric you like wearing. Check the care instructions and only buy things you are prepared and able to care for properly.

Is it good quality? Inspect the sewing and fabric construction, is it something that looks like it will last or get worn out/fall apart quickly? Read reviews and gather information (especially if you shop online)

How long can I see myself wearing this? 1 year? 5 years? This helps avoid fleeting trends and the longer you can see yourself wearing something the better the investment it is.

Does it fit with my budget? Make sure you can afford it and that your money isn’t better spent on a different piece(s).

Are there any sustainability aspects? Is the company trying to reduce their environmental impact? Does the company align with your values? Do they use child labour? etc. Look for sustainable materials, eco-friendly production, or any other areas where the brand is conscious of the sustainability of their products. Support companies who manufacture in an ethical way – pay their workers a living wage. Check out brand’s social responsibility policies and look for fair trade brands.

I hope these questions can help you make informed decisions when buying new clothes. There also other more sustainable options to update your wardrobe like thrift shopping and renting or borrowing a friend’s outfit even if it is just for you to try it out.

Finally, shopping your wardrobe and using your existing clothes differently to create new outfits can help you make the most out of your closet and save money too.

The Ultimate Wardrobe Check List

Building a wardrobe is like building a house – getting the foundation right is the most important part of the built.

A wardrobe that will last through time and seasons is the one that includes, good quality basic pieces and perfect fitting items. These pieces will be the foundation on which you will develop your style.

Tops Bottoms Denim

White button-up shirt

 

Suiting trousers

 

Dark-wash, straight/ flared or boot-cut jeans (high waist, small back pockets)
Blouse Suiting skirt Skinny jeans
Chambray top Black Skirt (pencil, a-line or full) Boyfriend jeans
T-shirts/ camisoles in neutral colours Black trousers (straight or bootcut)
Leather/pleather pants
Leggings
Knits Dresses Jackets
Classic cardigan Little black dress Black blazer
Crew neck sweater Versatile dress (sheath or wrap preferred) knee length (sleeves or not) Moto jacket
V-neck sweater Cocktail dress Suiting jacket
Organic cashmere/ Polartec / Thinsulate   sweater Evening dress or gown (can be hired)
Outerwear Jewellery Shoes
Trench coat Diamond studs (real or faux) Black pumps
Puffer jacket Statement / mixed metal necklace Nude pumps
Black or camel belted Winter wool coat Cuff / Bangle in gold or silver Pointed toe flats
Faux fur coat/gilet Gold or silver earrings (depending on your skin tone) Boots (ankle/knee high)
Cocktail ring Stylish trainers
Watch Sandals (day and evening)
Layering dainty necklaces Wellington/ weatherproof boots
Bags Accessories Other
Evening bag (black envelope clutch or silver) Black belt Great fitting bra
Work Tote bag (medium size) in black or honey brown colour Brown or tan belt Shapewear for tummy/thighs control
Weekender bag Waist-cinching belt 1-piece swimsuit
Backpack (for days with the kids/walk the dog) Stylish hat 2-piece swimsuit
Chic sunglasses (over-sized, wayfarers, aviators etc) Matching lingerie
Good quality scarves Comfortable robe
Fashion tights Pyjama set

“I hope this guide will help you to create a good wardrobe foundation to streamline your
clothes collection. Your personal style, favourite colours and fabrics will determine which of these items will have a place in your wardrobe.” Elena x

Top 10 Tips To Help You Make The Most Out Of your Clothes

Here are my top 10 tips to help you make the most out of your clothes and feel much more organised this season. If you only wear 20% of the clothes in your wardrobe, this one’s for you!

  1. Arrange your clothes per lifestyle first (workwear, casualwear, weekend, going out, sportswear, beachwear etc) – and then per items of clothing (bottoms together, shirts/blouses, dresses etc.) – keep in your wardrobe only the clothes you wear a lot.
  2. Look after your clothes: knitwear always folded, hang the trousers and skirts in soft grip trouser and skirt hangers.
  3. Accessories need to be accessible! Have them on display so you can see what you have. If they are in a box you will forget about them.
  4. Shoes & Handbags: place them neatly on bookshelves or take photos of them (if they need to be kept in boxes) and save them in your phone for easy access.
  5. Make sure that your clothes fit you. Well-fitting clothes will complement your body, whereas ill-fitting garments will draw attention to your problem areas.
  6. Book a professional bra fitting every 9 months or so, it can help you drop a dress size!
  7. If you feel comfortable and confident in a specific outfit, then it is the right style for you. Look for similar items when shopping.
  8. Make a wish list before you go shopping and stick to it!
  9. Invest in quality basics.
  10. It is a fact that 70% of the world wears second-hand clothing. So next time you want to go shopping, try checking out a second-hand store or look for a clothes swap event near you! (Check out my Walk In Wardrobe™ events here)

5 Ways To Reduce Textile Waste

Waste is going to be one of the next biggest problems for the fashion and textiles industry. Last year the worldwide consumption of textiles reached about 73 million tonnes and is expected to grow at nearly 4% annually through 2025 (APIC 2014), yet only 20% of textiles are recycled each year around the world (Soex presentation at Textile Exchange conference 2014).
The average UK household owns around £4,000 worth of clothes, and about 30% of it hasn’t worn in the last year. (recyclatex)
Textile waste categorised into two different types:
1) Pre-consumer; the leftover materials from the production of clothing and
2) Post-consumer; what is discarded by consumers after use.
1) Pre-consumer; the remaining materials from the manufacture of clothing.
It is estimated that a single textile mill can produce from 5% up to 25% of pre-consumer textile waste on its total yearly production. The local market often absorbs over-production runs and liability stock from manufacturers and mills or sold via third parties. Damaged clothing and discarded rolls of branded and/or recognisable fabrics are regularly slashed, landfilled and incinerated to protect intellectual property and brand image. This reality is hidden. Investigative reporters have tried and failed to find out what really happens with pre-consumer waste. In the UK, roughly two million tonnes of clothing and textiles are thrown away every year, and only 16% of that waste is reused. That’s approximately £140 million worth of waste. Meanwhile, 80% of textile waste going to landfills can be reused (WRAP, 2015).
2) Post-consumer; what is discarded by consumers after use.
Post- consumer waste can be a garment that the owner does not require anymore and has decided to discard. Facts:
• The average lifetime of a piece of clothing is only about 3 years.
• When it comes to textile waste, the consumer is the biggest culprit. In the U.S., only 15% of post-consumer textile waste gets recycled.
• Every year, 3.8 billion pounds of unnecessary waste from recyclable textiles are added to our landfills.
• Clothing and household textiles currently make up 5.2% of the waste in landfills.
• Up to 95% of the textiles that are land filled each year could be recycled.
• Recycling clothing and textiles decrease the use of natural resources, such as water used in growing crops and petroleum used in creating new clothing and textiles. It also reduces the need for chemicals used in manufacturing new textiles and the pollution caused by the manufacturing process.
• Of the clothing donated to charity in the UK, only 10-30% is re-sold; the rest gets exported overseas. In Uganda, some 81% of all clothes sold today are castoffs from the west. It is widely reported that this influx of second-hand clothing to developing countries is destroying local textile and tailoring economies (BBC News, 2015)
How to manage your garment waste:
Most of the times we think that a bag of old clothes will be easy to sell for a few pounds, so try to sell them. Unfortunately, most likely is that our old clothes, even the ones we paid dearly for, will be rejected because of small flaws or no longer being in season. With fast fashion speeding up trends and shortening seasons, our clothing is quite likely dated if it’s more than a year old. Many second-hand shops will reject items from fast-fashion chains like Forever 21, H&M, Zara, Topshop etc. The inexpensive clothing is of poor quality, with little resale value, and there is just too much of it. The average UK household owns around £4,000 worth of clothes, and about 30% of it hasn’t worn in the last year.
Below you can find a list of ideas that may help you minimise your clothing waste.

5 easy ways to reduce your clothing waste:

1. Wear your clothes for longer. Ask the experts for new ways to mix and match your clothes and accessories. Restyling existing outfits and garments with different accessories or trying new colour combinations can have great results. You can look online for inspiration.

2. Get swapping with your friends or find swapping events near you. The WALK IN WARDROBE™ event, for example, is a pop-up clothes swap event with locations in London and Surrey (WALK IN WARDROBE™).

3. Upcycle your garments. Think of clever uses for different items of clothing.
Examples:
I use cotton vests instead of dust clothes (easy to wash and I don’t spend money to buy the branded ones from the shops).
I wear my faded garments as loungewear.
Also, tops that are getting small are perfect for layering.
A dress/shirt/trousers with a great pattern can be transformed into a cushion or a tea towel etc.
A few of my not so flattering/unwanted scarves and tops can make a statement belt.
Use the fabric and make children’s outfits.
Donate them to a school to be used for their projects.

4. Update/Transform/Customise them into a different piece of clothing
Examples: Create denim shorts from an unwanted pair of jeans. Change the buttons on a shirt/coat or add a belt on a coat. If you can’t sew, you can take them to a tailor for altering.
You can also: raise the hems, change necklines, belts, add embellishments, remove sleeves, distress, over-dye, adjust the fit.
5. Recycle/donate. Finally, if you can’t do any of the above, you can still choose to recycle or donate your old garments/fabrics. Use the online service (loveyourclothes.org.uk/recycle-your-clothes) and locate your nearest recycling places.