Urban Renewal: Repurposing and reinventing sourced pieces

In the interest of making the old new again, Sally Matthews shares thoughts on sustainability, second-hand pieces and Irish brands which are revitalizing vintage fashion.

With news of COP26 and the worsening effects of climate change surrounding us daily, the issue of
sustainability is at the forefront of everyone’s mind. Ever since the Rana Plaza disaster of 2013, when a
garment factory in Bangladesh collapsed killing 1,134 workers, the fashion industry has been turning its focus to reforming this concept of ‘fast fashion’ in favour of a more ethical alternative. While clothes
made from sustainably resourced and environmentally friendly materials are a necessity in our current
situation, we can all agree that the most sustainable alternative to fast fashion is the repurposing and
reinventing of vintage pieces and items we already own. Whether your closet is filled with second-hand
pieces or you’re a guilty-minded fast fashion fanatic, this article will offer some ways of becoming more
sustainable in your clothing choices.

“The fashion industry has been turning its focus to reforming this concept of ‘fast fashion’
in favour of a more ethical alternative.”

Vintage clothes have a reputation for being ridiculously overpriced, for something you could probably
find deep in your parents’ 80s wardrobe. In the face of this, fashion marketplace app, Depop, has seen
a rise in popularity in recent years. Slowly the phrase ‘Penneys, hun’ is being replaced by ‘Thanks, hun.
Depop’. Since 2011, Depop has allowed users to buy and sell clothes for free with their own personal
online store, making it easy for anyone to refresh their wardrobe by finding a new and loving home for
unworn pieces. The app is filled with hidden, unique, and great quality gems, often sold for much less
than they would have originally been - a wonderful resource for the struggling student who wants to look stylish without breaking the bank.
Lockdown also aided in the rise in online vintage stores, one such example being Grace Collier’s Spice
Vintage. Having previously owned a store in Co. Limerick, the pandemic led to Collier launching the
massively popular Spice Vintage website, with a weekly stock drop of hand-picked vintage pieces
sourced from wholesalers and warehouses all over the world. Collier’s keen fashion eye and fantastic
styling abilities are capable of revitalising even the most unlikely pieces.Wild Éire is another Irish clothing website which truly embodies the term ‘urban renewal’. Their repurposed items, upcycled from vintage athleisure into one-of-a-kind corsets, bandeaus, and patchwork tops, prove that with a bit of creativity, any item can be given a new life. Additionally, the brand is vocal about the importance of inclusivity and mental health awareness, which makes shopping here an ethical practice in more ways than one.
For our Dublin locals, if you ever find yourself in Dún Laoghaire for the day, you should pop into
Slaughter House Vintage, a small vintage clothing store filled with an eclectic mix of pre-loved pieces.
Their vast collection of clothes, hats and accessories of every shape, style and colour is evidence of their passion for sustainability and love of all things vintage. Their Instagram (@slaughterhousevintage) is filled with outfit inspiration and different ways of incorporating these pieces into your existing wardrobe, showing us how we can revitalise our style by bringing vintage into the 21st century. The shop is also on Depop, making their pieces affordable and accessible for all. By blending styles and reinventing trends, Slaughter House Vintage creates a fresh, new outlook on fashion and urban renewal.
Revitalising and repurposing our wardrobes is certainly on the up these days, and for good reason. A
trend that encourages us to become more creative and unique in how we dress, while also helping the
planet? That’s surely one that will never go out of style.