Northamptonshire woman starts upcycling clothes course to change fast fashion attitudes

A recycling maven has become the talk of the town in Towcester with her reworked fashion looks

Friday, 24th July 2020, 1:25 pm
Updated Friday, 24th July 2020, 1:28 pm
Olesya, pictured in her handmade dresses and a coat, which were made from discarded jumpers.

Olesya Lane is on a one-woman mission to change attitudes to fast fashion and involve everyone in the reuse revolution.

In January, after her children started school, she set up her Etsy brand after deciding against studying for a course but instead following her passion of sowing.

It marks the latest step for a woman who has spent her whole life creating – from her first project, a costume for a school play and the upcycling of a jumper as a teenager using her mum’s sewing machine.

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Olesya pictured by Louise Smith at her sowing machine.

Taking her own old clothes and items from charity shops and donations by friends, Olesya has been using her sewing skills, folding in a few more unusual craft skills, and creating original, new looks for her Etsy store, 7 Crafts Boutique brand.

Now with her Slow Fashion Bus website and course she hopes to spread the word and share her mission by giving people the skills and inspiration they need to make their own recycled looks.

She said: “I encourage people to make a change, to ask themselves what they can do better. There are so many discussions about being sustainable and more eco-friendly, but this discussion in most cases is about what we have in the kitchen and bathroom, mainly focusing on plastic.

“As a result, we can miss what’s going on in our wardrobes. Fashion industry pushes us to buy clothes each season or even more often.

"As a result, more clothes are being thrown away with hundreds of thousands of tonnes in landfills, exported to Africa and the Eastern Europe, and even further away -and ends up in landfills there.”

Over the course of the last year Olesya had been building ways of getting people involved in her mission – aiming to teach people skills in design, craft and garment deconstruction and reassembly.

The Covid-19 lockdown initially was a blow to Olesya, who had planned to tour the country sharing her skills, but soon it provided new opportunities.

Although her scheduled workshops in person, due to be held at venues around Northamptonshire had to be cancelled, Olesya quickly turned her hand to creating web-based training courses, including manuals, videos and live one-to-one sessions.

Olesya’s mission began when she read about the issues caused by textile waste and fast fashion, so she committed to going 200 days without buying any new items of clothing in June: #200daysthatmatter.

Olesya said: “I most certainly never thought I would promote textile waste reduction, and challenge people to go for 200 days without buying new clothes.

"But after starting, I’ve discovered that there are so many benefits: it is good for your wallet, mental wellness, and the environment to name a few.”