Mending our ways to end days of disposable clothing

The fast-fashion system has supported this neglect and even as a grandma it has become easier – and cheaper – to buy children’s wear at a chain store rather than dust off the sewing machine and try to stitch or re-stitch a garment to pass on to grandchildren.

Latest statistics on textile waste are disturbing. And with popular television shows such as the ABC’s War on Waste highlighting the amount of waste, landfill and non-reusable textiles still being made, there are many reasons to sit up and take notice of how to turn these statistics around for the benefit of future generations.

But, there is some momentum for change in the environmental impact of the fashion industry, and it’s echoing around the world.

With the rise of sustainability books and forums, upcycling workshops, ‘op’ shopping or second-hand clothing markets and platforms, and even our most prestigious fashion magazine Vogue Australia now having a Sustainability Editor-at-Large, the tide is turning.

Queenslanders are also rising to the challenge to educate the younger generation and re-introduce them to the fun of sewing and creating unique outfits refashioned from existing or second-hand clothing and fabrics.

On Saturday, November 24, the refashion showcase WornOUT will be held in Brisbane.

With sponsorship currently from Reverse Garbage and Textile Beat, the show and its workshops promise to be a major contribution to reducing textile and fashion waste of southeast Queensland.

“WornOUT is an exciting opportunity to nurture an upcycling culture that enables designers and makers to explore creativity in unique, empowering, and resourceful ways,” says event director Jane Milburn of Textile Beat.

Jane believes in the slow clothing movement and lives by her belief that “sewing and stitching are life skills, just like cooking and baking. Life skills enable us to provide for ourselves.”

Jane travels the country conducting workshops at local libraries on how to upcycle and refashion garments and textiles for personal use and spread the word for mindful thinking about the clothes we wear.

Event manager Bill Ennals of Reverse Garbage says it is challenging the thinking around what is worn out.
“Textiles are our biggest selling item (at Reverse Garbage) as local businesses divert excess stock to the warehouse for resale, rather than sending it to landfill. And our clientele is really engaging around creative ways to reuse fibres and fabrics,” he said. The showcases are open to anyone and details on how to enter are available at

Each showcase will be curated by Elizabeth Kingston of @timeless_styling Instagram fame who believes that “WornOUT aims to spark unconventional and local designers or disruptive thinking, by inviting designers to engage in playful storytelling through garments made using pre-loved and salvaged materials”.

“Every day is a new opportunity to create when we bring together textures, colours and shapes in creative ways and reinvent them as refashion,” she said.

In addition to refashion, WornOUT will include a Cosplay showcase for children and adults. Workshops and exhibition details will be available this month.

The day promises to be fun, informative and entertaining.

If you are keen to make a difference to the footprint fashion is leaving for future generations this might be the introduction you need to start thinking about the choices we make when we next buy a fashion outfit.
For Styleboomer answers and ideas email