Episode 1

full
Published on:

23rd Jan 2024

Stitching Stories: Upcycled Fashion Basics and Sustainable Style

Stitching Stories: A Conversation on Upcycling Fashion

Bethany Mynott takes us on a journey through the transformative world of sustainable fashion, unraveling the art of upcycling and repurposing clothing, and delving into the challenges she encounters. Beyond her creative process, we explore her mission to empower individuals, particularly women, to embrace confidence through sustainable style.

From practical tips for revitalising cherished pieces to fostering a new mindset in caring for clothes, Bethany shares many actionable insights. Her evolution from alterations to creations serves as a compelling narrative, highlighting the profound impact of sustainable fashion on personal empowerment and environmental responsibility.

Guest bio:

I like to say I'm in the business of all things creations - not just alterations. I create unique, one-of-a-kind pieces that are an extension of your true essence and fit your body just as you are... all from what's already hanging in your wardrobe.

Connect with Bethany:

Bethany's Website

@bethanyalice_fashiondesign on Instagram

Bethany's Facebook page

Bethany on YouTube

Mentioned in this episode:

About the show

This is ´╗┐Reloved Radio: Sustainable Fashion Stories, the fortnightly show that brings you inspiring stories from guests who are making a positive impact in the sustainable fashion space.

Want to know the BEST places to shop secondhand online in Australia? Download this EPIC list for free!

Join the Reloved conversation on Instagram.

Credits

Music: 'Old Leather Sneakers' by PineAppleMusic

Transcript

00:00 Bethany

I always joke that everyone has a "Beth Pile". There's a pile of clothes that you can bring to Beth. So they just follow me for a while and go, actually, I'm going to get my "Beth Pile" worked on now.

00:08 Chryssius

Yeah. Yeah. I think I've got one of those...

00:10 Bethany

Yep. LAUGHS

00:23 Chryssius

Hey Relovers, welcome to Reloved Radio. I'm your host, Chryssius Dunn, and today I have a truly inspiring guest joining me on the show. She's a fashion designer, seamstress, dressmaker, wardrobe fairy godmother, and the creative mind behind Bethany Alice Fashion Design. She passionately crafts unique, one-of-a-kind pieces that not only redefine style, but also serve as an extension of your true essence.

What makes her approach even more remarkable is that she works her magic using what's already hanging in your wardrobe. It doesn't get much more sustainable than that!

Bethany Mynott is on a mission to empower women to embrace their individuality and feel confident in their own skin through her creations.

Bethany, welcome to Reloved Radio.

01:06 Bethany

Yay, thanks for having me.

01:09 Chryssius

It's a pleasure. I am a longtime follower of your work and I'm so excited to have you here because I have so many questions.

01:15 Bethany

Yes, let's get into it.

01:17 Chryssius

Let's do it. Okay. So can we start by, um, you sharing just a little bit about how your business came about?

01:25 Bethany

Yeah, so it's a while ago now, so it really started from when I finished university after studying fashion design, I literally just had no idea what area of the industry I wanted to go into because I loved the entire process of design all the way through to production. And there was also that part of me that was conscious of wanting to work for someone who was conscious of like, you know, sustainable, sustainable and ethical practices. But it seemed hard to figure out where to go with that.

So, my mum sort of put the idea in my head of like, well, why don't you just sort of do your own thing to start off with. So, I originally started by doing custom-made pieces for people. So, things made from scratch and then having a part time job, at a bridesmaids showroom on the side as well.Just the first job I could find after uni.

And it was like through these years that it sort of combined where I was making things from scratch, but then also noticing the people I was working with at the bridesmaids showroom were these beautiful women, all different shapes and sizes, but nearly every single one of them was like, "I need to lose weight to feel good in a piece of clothing". And I was just looking at them and I was like, it's just a little bit of tailoring that you need. And it happened to everyone, nearly everyone that I spoke to for a good five years. And, and that feeling sort of didn't discriminate from any body shape, size, age, whatever. It happened, it just plagued women. And so that sort of started forming in my head.

And then around the same time, I was introduced to "War on Waste" by Craig Reucassel. And he just did such a good job of bringing sustainability down to a really local level. Because I always thought, like, this problem is too big. What can I do to help? And there was an episode on fashion. And he was saying something like, you know, a couple thousand kilos of clothes are thrown out every few minutes in Australia. And it just blew my mind,

how much we were throwing out. It was just ridiculous.

And then it sort of fell together really perfectly. Cause then I also found Zero Waste Daniel and his business was literally getting scraps from clothing manufacturers and stitching them back together and creating new product from that. And I was like, I've already got my own studio full of fabrics and all clothes. Let's try it myself. And then that sort of developed into heading into more... alterations and working with what already existed. Because, ironically, when I first started my business, I hated doing alterations. Because it was really, really hard to do, because you're working backwards rather than forwards. So it became a really good creative challenge. And then doing the upcycling as well, I think, developed my skills in alterations. And I just love the creative challenge of working with what already exists. And then it's just sort of run from there. So, it's been a long arc. But this is how I've gotten here.

04:14 Chryssius

I love that. So essentially you've shifted from alterations as a thing on its own to creations.

04:20 Bethany

Yes.

04:21 Chryssius

So when you're working on upcycling or, or repurposing some clothing, what kind of challenges do you come across?

04:31 Bethany

A lot. Because there's a lot of limitations. The biggest one that I work with people is a lot of clothes not fitting anymore. And normally that means you have to add extra fabric in. And it can be really hard to match the existing fabric that is already in there. So I love using that as a creative challenge to fix the problem but then create a design feature out of it. So I always say if I can't match it, I'll clash it. So I'll do like a purposely contrasting fabric or a different texture or something and then create it as a feature so it doesn't look like you've just tried to fix a problem. It's actually like a design feature. So that's definitely like the biggest challenge is trying to work in new materials but using what's already out there.

05:14 Chryssius

Yeah. And so in terms of design features, I have noticed, in a lot of the designs that you work on that you tend to use the gathering feature quite a bit. And I mean, I point that out because I am a huge fan of a big sleeve!

05:32 Chryssius

I love it. I think it just creates such a beautiful shape. So I guess my question is, what's your inspiration behind that?

05:40 Bethany

I just, I find that whenever I look at inspiration like on Pinterest or in fashion, I love big voluminous sort of silhouettes and I think I noticed a part of that is I love the idea of women literally taking up space. And I think there's that beauty in that, like just having as much fabric as possible. I love the way it flows. It just looks so beautiful. And also, literally using gathering, you have to use a lot of fabric. So it's a great way to use like lots and lots of excess fabric in one spot. So it sort of just like ticks all these boxes. So I love using it.

06:14 Chryssius

So you're essentially reducing fashion waste, when you're doing that.

06:17 Bethany

I try yes, yes.

06:21 Chryssius

So obviously, you know, reducing waste is a driving factor in your designs, but how do you measure that? Like how do you measure the impact of your work in terms of that?

06:32 Bethany

That's a great question because I always feel like, no matter what I do, it's still not enough.

Because I still have waste that I need to get rid of, unfortunately. Or there's only so many scraps you can put together before you have tiny little ones left. And I love still I'm playing around and trying to find new techniques to like use as much of my own scraps as possible, but it is still an issue, I think, how much waste there is out there, and I think it'd be great for, like, I'd love for there to be like a textile bin where you have your little scraps and you can chuck it away and it gets recycled, or, you know, the fabrics that I can use, I can put in my compost and it can break down, but it is still a really, really big challenge to try and use as much fabric as possible, so.

As much as I can gather it and stitch it all together, I still end up with a lot left over. Yeah, it's still a challenge.

07:23 Chryssius

And so what, what are you currently doing with your leftovers?

07:27 Bethany

There's a couple of techniques that I do, that I've been doing. So there's one where I get lots of little fabrics in between two fabrics. It's sort of like, um, recreating a quilting technique, where in between two fabric you traditionally have a really light, soft fabric. But I'm using a lot of scraps and then like stitching it down.

So it does create quite a heavy textile, but that's been really fun to play around with doing it in between two sheer bits of fabric so you can see the colours of the small bits underneath or just in between two solid ones so it's just creating a really solid texture or another one I've been playing around with is like stitching bits together to create a really long strand and then like sort of knitting those like creating a new sort of like almost like a wool that you can knit into and making like bags out of it and little things like that.

So yeah, and then I'd love to play around with sort of like what Zero Waste Daniel does is he creates sort of graphic designs on a piece and stitches it all down and it looks really funky cool. So it just, um, it's just quite time consuming. So I've just got to find the time to do it.

08:28 Chryssius

Absolutely. What about when you have pieces that you want to use, but there's quite a bit of wear and tear? What's sort of your process around that? How do you manage it?

08:50 Bethany

Yeah, there's a few different ways of doing it, but sometimes it's been cutting out sections and replacing it with a new bit of fabric, or if it's, say, like something that's um, damaged on a sleeve, I might remove the sleeve and replace it with something new, or one time I just sort of copied the shape that needed to be fixed and just placed another bit of fabric over the top of it, and then you can keep going, so it sort of just depends on what it is, or sometimes I've had a pair of jeans that are ripped right up in the crotch, sort of like the worst area, but I was able to cut around it and sort of turn it into a skirt, so I kind of re-changed the silhouette of it and just moved the fabric around a little bit, so, but patches are normally the way to go.

09:27 Chryssius

Yeah... So what would you say are your best tips then for breathing new life into well-loved pieces?

09:37 Bethany

It sort of depends on what the needs are of the piece. So for example, I had one client who had this jacket for like 10 years and it's, the lining had been completely worn out, but the outer was still perfect. So I literally took the entire lining out and unpicked the pieces to get the pattern pieces and then just cut a new bit of fabric to put it back in.

So, and then she was able to keep re-wearing it. So it's, yeah. So, and we had a lot of fun with it too, cause it was just like a plain lining, but then I got like a floral bright print fabric and put it and it's like a little secret for her just hiding on the inside. So, and now she can keep wearing it again.

So, but it is, it can come down to a real like case-by-case basis. And I do love the creative challenge of trying to figure it out sort of one-on-one with my clients and what their needs are for the garment that really helps come up with the ideas. So there's always a way, there's always a way.

10:28 Chryssius

Always a way!

10:29 Bethany

Yes, that's the tip, there's always a way!

10:33 Chryssius

So when clients come to you, in most cases, they have a piece, for example, or maybe multiple pieces that they want you to work with. What about when you're creating something for yourself? Where would you typically source your materials from, apart from your own wardrobe?

10:51 Bethany

Yes, yeah, I love to go op-shopping. That's a great place to start for all kinds of fabrics and um, prints and colours and all that kind of stuff. I'm very lucky with my friends and family. They know what I do. So whenever they do a wardrobe clean out, I sort of go through their stuff so I can get stuff for free. Yes, because everyone's always doing a wardrobe clean out. So it's always good to sort of rummage through there. But yeah, normally op shops are my way to go because there's just so much to choose from.

11:15 Chryssius

Yeah. Is there anything that you generally keep an eye out for? So even if you are going in with something in mind, is, is there something that you would always pick up?

11:25 Bethany

That's a good question. I kind of go in open-minded because I think if I'm after something specific I'll never find it. But I always love really lightweight fabrics, stuff that have a beautiful flow to it. I'm now getting more conscious of, it is harder to do now, but like fibre content. You know, like trying to look for good fibres, which is still hard to find because a lot of stuff has plastic in it. But I love looking at, um, in the men's clothes because a lot of their stuff has really good fibres in it, and I love suiting fabrics as well, so. But yeah, a bit of everything, and sometimes I might grab something that I never thought I'd go for. Like a bit of sparkle,

12:01 Chryssius

Yeah.

12:02 Bethany

So, yeah.

12:03 Chryssius

I have to agree, especially with the suits, that are more like the vintage suits. They're, you know, they're so beautifully made with things like wool and silk, which aren't necessarily the case now. Yeah, some of those fabrics are just, you know, I'm just in there touching all the things!

12:21 Bethany

I know, and I like to describe fabric as delicious. I'm just like, "Oh this is such a delicious fabric!" LAUGHS

12:32 Chryssius

All right. So in terms of your clients then, how do you usually find and connect with people? Are they coming to you, um, or are you putting yourself out there? How does that work?

12:44 Bethany

Yeah, it's mainly through, like, my social media and like my Instagram and Facebook and, I have people sign up to my newsletter as well, so a lot of them have been sort of like following my journey and seeing what work that I do, so, and a lot of times they'll sort of follow me not thinking they have anything in mind that they need altered and then they'll see some of my stuff and go, oh, I actually have something.

I always joke that everyone has a "Beth Pile". There's a pile of clothes that you can bring to Beth. So they just follow me for a while and go, actually, I'm going to get my "Beth Pile" worked on now.

13:13 Chryssius

Yeah. Yeah. No, that's perfect too. Um, I think I've got one of those... we'll talk later! LAUGHS

13:17 Bethany

Yep.

13:21 Chryssius

And so do most people come to you or do you travel or...?

13:25 Bethany

I go to people. Yep. I love that that's another sort of addition to my service. Because it can be, we're so busy, it can be hard to plan in to go and, like, get your stuff altered. So I love coming to people and, and going through their wardrobe and then I get a bit more of a sense of what their style is and what their needs are and I just like to make it as easy as possible for people.

13:45 Chryssius

Yeah, definitely. And on that, I also find, as someone who needs to go and have things altered, especially with kids and a husband, you know, there's always something. It seems harder and harder to find someone with that skillset. You know, lots of those places seem to be closing down or they're really just difficult to find.

14:06 Bethany

Yeah. Yeah, it can be hard and I also find that sometimes, they might be sort of limited in what they can do. Like, the way that I love approaching alterations is not just taking things up and taking things in. I really love to see it as quite a creative kind of experience and transforming your clothes.

So it's sort of like having like a brand new piece of clothing at the end of the day. So, and yeah, I think that's why doing it one on one is really good too. So yeah, like I said, I never like to say "no". Like if there's an issue, like there's always a way that you can solve it.

So I think having that one-on-one in your own space, having a bit of time to sort of play around with ideas, is um, how it works really well with the service.

14:46 Chryssius

And it's, it's an amazing service, I have to say that.

14:50 Bethany

Thank you.

14:50 Chryssius

So just give us a little bit of an outline as to how it would work if somebody, you know, wanted to reach out to you?

14:57 Bethany

Absolutely.

14:58 Chryssius

What's the process?

14:59 Bethany

Yeah, so pretty much you reach out to me and I have sort of like two options you can choose from. So the first one is where we alter five pieces. And it's a really good starting point because normally I would say if you have one or two you need altered you can have about five. And I come to you, you let me know sort of like what the issues are with the pieces and I also love knowing what your favourite pieces are so I can get an idea of what you're drawn to. And I'll come up with a few ideas.

If there's some that are a little bit more, you know, quite transformative I might come up with a few sketches so you can visualise how it's going to look in the end. And then we just take a few measurements and then I come home and I work all my magic and then come back and do a second fitting just to make sure there's any final pieces that need to be done and then you take them and enjoy them. And then I have a more extensive, extensive package as well, which is like 20 pieces.

So we're doing sort of like a full wardrobe refresh. So this is sort of like when you were wanting to go out and buy a whole new wardrobe, but we can work with what's already there. And then I sort of go into how you can style them. And then we sort of come up with a resource of like different outfit combinations.

So you sort of feel like you actually do have more in your wardrobe and then identifying where those gaps are in terms of maybe what you do need to bring in your wardrobe. So if you do have to go and buy something, you're a lot more intentional with what you're bringing in and not just sort of going out and going, "Oh, maybe this will work."

And then it just ends up in the back of the wardrobe again. So it's sort of like, like I said, taking alterations to really transforming your wardrobe. And giving you that sense, like, you have a whole new wardrobe, but you've just used what's already in there.

16:36 Chryssius

Yeah.

16:36 Bethany

And it can get a bit addictive as well. Like, once you've done a few, you're like, "Ooh, God, what else can I do?" And it's exciting. You can shop your own wardrobe.

16:43 Chryssius

Yeah. And that, at the end of the day, that's what we want to be able to do. What about for people who, may be keen to start repurposing their own clothes? So, let's just use me as an example...

16:57 Bethany

Yeah.

16:57 Chryssius

So, somebody who might not have the skillset that you have, what's a good starting point? Or, can you recommend maybe a simple project?

17:08 Bethany

Yeah. I think the first one is there's no pressure because with these clothes that you want to change, you're already not wearing them. So if you mess it up, it doesn't really matter.

17:18 Chryssius

That is such a good point!

17:19 Bethany

It, it takes the pressure off 'cause you're like, you're not wearing it anyway, so why not just give it a go? I think the first one, I think the great place to start is try cutting things off and just seeing how things flow, how it changes the idea of garment. And then the next thing is to like, try just hand stitching some things like a little bit of fabric on it, or maybe turning something over and like hemming it and just sort of getting comfortable with how the garment moves once you start changing things. And then you can start progressing to then getting comfortable on a sewing machine and then going from there.

17:53 Chryssius

Yeah.

17:53 Bethany

But yeah, just get the scissors and start cutting!

17:55 Chryssius

Oh gosh...

17:57 Bethany

No pressure.

17:57 Chryssius

That's a bit intimidating!

17:58 Bethany

I know. Just do it. Just do it.

18:01 Chryssius

And so when it comes to minimising fashion waste through upcycling, what are the practical steps that we can take in our own or in our own lives?

18:14 Bethany

I think starting really basic, knowing how to sew on a button I think is a great place to start because there's a lot of people who come to me and ask me and I'm like, I think this is something very easy to know how to do because a lot of people will throw something out if a button's missing or maybe if the seam's come undone and these little mending or fixer jobs are a great way to get that process going and I think even learning how to take care of your clothes is a really good thing too.

If something gets stained, learning how to wash it, all that kind of stuff. I think it's, it's so, and I don't blame people for doing it. It's so much easier to go and get something new than to try and fix it or to put that time into it. But I think just working with what you already have and taking care of it is a great place to start as well.

And I think taking the pressure off things needing to be perfect. The one thing I love about upcycling is it actually embraces the imperfections in the garment. You know, it, it tells a story of where it, where it's been, you know, instead of, Oh, it's got a stain on it. I had to chuck it out and get something new. Let's, let's embrace those. Or like if it's got a hole, you know, it tells a story like, "Oh, I tripped having a drink with my best mate and that's where the stain came from." You know, like it makes you fall in love with the garments, you know? So I think. Embracing those imperfections and learning how to do those mending jobs yourselves, like we used to do back in the day.

It was the norm to do that. So, and I think not letting convenience be the one reason we consume. You know, like just putting that extra bit of effort into taking care of your clothes is the best way to start.

19:49 Chryssius

Yep. And you do make a very good point there it comes to caring for your clothes in terms of maybe not washing your clothes as often. Um, that is a big thing, and I mean, I I know that I personally will wear things multiple times and I will just hang them straight back up in the wardrobe until I think they actually need to be washed.

20:12 Bethany

I do the exact same thing!

20:14 Chryssius

So, yeah, I think that's something that, it's a little bit of a mindset shift.

20:19 Bethany

Yeah.

20:21 Chryssius

Um... you know, you just think, "I've worn it, it needs to be washed." But that's not necessarily the case.

20:27 Bethany

Yeah. Yeah. Absolutely. And like, letting things air out. I've got a steamer. Steam is great to get things freshened up. You don't have to iron it. Like, there's all these little cheaty things you can do. And I'm all for doing minimal washing. LAUGHS

20:44 Chryssius

I feel like I damage less clothes that way too.

20:44 Bethany

Yes.

20:48 Chryssius

It's a lot gentler than ironing something.

20:49 Bethany

Yeah.

20:50 Chryssius

Yeah, absolutely. There was another question in that that I wanted to ask. What you said made me think, I wanted to know when you were talking about how, you know, back in the day it was normal for people to mend their own clothes.

Did you grow up, seeing, you know, your family members doing that type of thing? Or you a keen sew-er yourself when you

21:14 Bethany

Yeah. Yeah. well, my Grandma used to sew, my Grandpa used to knit, all this kind of stuff, and my Mum would sew as well. So my Mum taught me how to sew. And um, it's sort of been my creative outlet since, I've been sewing since I was like 10 years old. So, yeah, I've been doing it for a long time. And I say to Mum as well, like one of my favourite memories growing up was her, in the little study sewing, and like the sound of the sewing machine would just like help me go to sleep. And I just like, and she'd make our costumes and our clothes and everything. So I definitely grew up around it. So, yeah. Yeah, we definitely have that sort of um, sustainability mindset in my family. So, yeah, it was good.

21:53 Chryssius

A little off topic, but similar... my Dad used to do a lot of leather work and so he would do a lot of, you know, like stitching together of leather and he made some beautiful things and for me, I. That is like a really happy childhood memory. When I smell kind of like the beeswax, um, from the thread and that sort of thing. When I smell it, I'm just like, oh, it just takes me back to being a kid again. And, you know, seeing Dad, he would do it in the lounge room, you know, on the floor.

22:23 Bethany

Yes. Yep.

22:25 Chryssius

And yeah, just happy memories.

22:26 Bethany

Yes. Yes. Yeah. It's exactly the same. And yeah, there's - Mum's sewing machine has this smell to it as well. It's probably a sign that maybe needs a service. I don't know. But it's just so, it's just so comforting.

22:35 Chryssius

It is. Yeah, absolutely, I totally get that. Okay, I just wanted to pivot a little bit now. I know that your approach to fashion focuses on making women feel confident just the way they are. and in fact, you actually describe your designs as "extensions of an individual's true essence." How does your work play a part in boosting a positive and empowering body image?

23:09 Bethany

Oh, where do I begin? I could talk about this all day. But yeah, I think it comes back to my work at the bridal showroom and hearing all these experiences of women needing to change themselves. And I remember even way, way back then, there was someone really close to me who, we were having a conversation and she said to me, "I don't deserve to be beautiful."

And it just broke my heart. And I just think like, where, who is telling us this, who is telling women that we need to look a certain way? And then you're allowed to be happy and you're allowed to be deemed as beautiful? And I just think these - and, and working at the showroom really taught me that like, this feeling affects every single woman.

So it's like, so no one has that body shape. There will never be the perfect weight, the perfect size, the perfect skin tone. And then you'll be done and happy. And it just breaks my heart. It really, it really, really does. And I find that like it's so interesting how that that is then projected in hand-in-hand with clothing and you need to change yourself to fit a piece of fabric.

It's just, it's just insane, where it's like "You are perfect just as you are. That pressure shouldn't be put on yourself. It should be put on the fabric." You need to have a higher standard of what your clothing needs to do to fit you. So, you know having darts put in somewhere, or like having a bit of extra fabric put in somewhere else so you can move, or it's like, you know, my bust is too big in shirts. Okay, well your shirt needs to be bigger and then tailored to you to fit your body shape. That's not your fault that your body's like that. And a lot of the things that people say, "Oh, I need to lose weight." It's sort of even like a structural thing of your body.

It's like, this is your rib cage. You can't change your rib cage or that's your hips. You can't shave off something on your hips. You know, I remember once there was one woman who was probably like a size six, four foot nothing, little pocket rocket. And I was doing an appointment with her at the showroom.

And she said, "I need to lose weight." I was so shocked. I audibly said to her, "How? Are you going to lose a rib?" I was just like, it might've been overstepping the line, but it was just, it's just amazing. And I love working with women and, and changing their clothes and taking it back. And they put the piece of clothing on the look in the mirror.

And I can see that in that, even just a split second, they've given themselves permission to go, "Ooh, I look good." And then they realise, "But I didn't change anything. I didn't have to do anything to feel like that." And it's just, it is such magic. And I honestly think when every time it happens a little crack in the patriarchy appears.

But it's just, it's so rewarding to see sort of like, a switch flip and them go, "Oh! I can actually feel good just as I am." And just put in that little bit of extra effort to get the clothes to fit how I need. Because I read somewhere that like, something like only 10 percent of the population actually fit a standard size off the rack.

So you are so normal for putting something on and not fitting properly and it's not your fault. So just those little bit of alterations can help.

26:14 Chryssius

But none of us think like that, do we? We all expect that we should be the ones that should be fitting into these clothes, which are just made in one way. Even though there are all these different body types, we're all expected to just, and we think like that. We think we should be fitting into this rather than these clothes should be made to fit me.

26:32 Bethany

Exactly. And it varies, and you'll find it varies so much different from store to store because the way it works with their grading is when they're making a design, each store has a fit model. So just one person that they say, this person is our standard size 10 and then they grade all of their clothing off that size.

So that's why there's so many different variations from store to store because you haven't got the same person doing your fit grading. So you might be size 12 in one store and a size 8 in the. other, and you're feeling like crap that you're a size 12, but you haven't changed.

26:59 Chryssius

I know, right?

26:59 Bethany

So it's not you.

27:01 Chryssius

Okay. Good to know. All right , on that then, if somebody is not feeling entirely confident about their body, what tips would you give them for embracing their personal style and going out and finding outfits that will actually make them feel empowered?

27:20 Bethany

Mm hmm. So, it's gonna be annoying, but you do have to put some time and effort into it. So, I love to start off by playing dress-ups. So

in your own wardrobe, if it's hard to find the time, but I love playing dress-ups in my own wardrobe. So I love starting my starting point is I love finding inspiration on Pinterest. You can find on Instagram anywhere, but the best way to find inspiration is to find something that you like, but don't listen to the voice that judges you that says, "Oh, but I could never wear that." If you liked it initially, that's a sign.

So don't judge it, just like, "Oh, I like that. I've never tried it before, but there's something about it that I like." And collecting more of those images over time, and then starting off by seeing if you can replicate those looks with what you already have in your wardrobe. You might find that you, you can. And then that's how you can start to realise what's missing, what you can change. And then you can start playing those dress ups and finding those things you're liking, maybe at an op-shop or anywhere else.

Start off finding inspiration and don't judge what comes up and what you like, because there's a reason. There's a reason you're drawn to it, you know, and then just trying and it can be, it can be hard, but trying without judgment, you know, and trying and taking the pressure off that, like, try it on like, "Oh yeah, no, that did look like crap". You might also try and go, "Oh wow, I never would have thought to put those together. I really like that." And yeah, but it does take a bit of time to just experiment.

And then, in, you know, in conjunction with that, when it comes to altering or upcycling, I like to really pay attention to what your needs are. If you're like, I don't feel comfortable with my arms showing, okay, great, let's add some sleeves to things, all this kind of stuff.

Or, you know, I don't like wearing things that are tight. Okay, well, let's look at tailoring rather than having something too form fitted. Or, you know, I don't like wearing skirts because I need to move around, all that kind of stuff. Think about what your needs are and then, and then, you know, fitting towards that too. So, yeah.

29:17 Chryssius

That is such great advice.

29:19 Bethany

Excellent.

29:19 Chryssius

And I mean, who doesn't like playing dress ups? Come on.

29:22 Bethany

Exactly. Exactly. Embrace your inner child. Dress for your inner child.

29:27 Chryssius

This one's a bit more of a personal question for you.

29:29 Bethany

Yes.

29:30 Chryssius

Are there any resources or books or even people, you know, individuals who have inspired you along your own sustainable fashion journey?

29:41 Bethany

I think, like I said, Zero Waste Daniel is a big one, like, it was just so awesome to see him recreating things with fabric scraps, so that was really good creatively. And then, I love Faye Delanty!

29:56 Chryssius

Yes! Opshopulence!

29:57 Bethany

Oh, Oh, my God. So, I, like, that's goals. Like, she just has so much fun and I love the way she styles things. It is just absolutely amazing. And just every time I see her I was like, oh God, I want to go now. So it is so much fun watching her, like, her creativity with that. And I love just getting inspiration from Pinterest. Like, I'm always on Pinterest and I'm always drawn to, I notice, things in nature.

And sometimes I even love the juxtaposition of nature and architecture. So I love, like, creating flowy silhouettes but stuff that's really structured. And I think my personal style is a lot like that too. So, yeah, I just sort of let it all inspire me.

30:42 Chryssius

So what are some of the things that you would search for? If you were jumping on Pinterest, are you just browsing or are you specifically putting in some search terms there?

30:51 Bethany

I feel like I've got my algorithm down to a T now, that it just pops up so beautifully and I just keep pinning and it just goes from there. But, um, yeah, I sort of just follow a trail where I might start off with, like, I love blazers, so I'll search "blazers", or like, I'll go, um, "blazer outfit winter", "blazer outfit summer", and, um, "street style", um, inspiration I really love as well, because you also get an array of, like, body shapes and all different kinds of women, so that's also a really good tip of, discovering your own style is finding people who look like you and have the same body shape as you is really good inspiration for that too.

So, because it can be really intimidating like, oh yeah, it looks good on a six foot, you know, nothing model. But if you've got like a bigger bust or if you're shorter, all that kind of stuff, it's really good seeing how an outfit looks on someone similar to your body image. And I think now, like with resources like Pinterest, there is a lot more of that out there, which is really good.

31:40 Chryssius

And if you had to sum up your own personal style in maybe just a couple of words, would you say?

31:48 Bethany

I feel it's like. I this is weird to say, but I've always said it's like, "effortless sophistication and a bit of sensuality".

And I love bringing that into my designs as well, so I love this kind of like, very classic, tailored look. But maybe it has a little bit of femininity in it as well, so I love blazers and like, flowy silhouettes and like, thigh high boots and, and stuff like that, so, but I am wanting to expand, like, I have a lot of black in my wardrobe, like, very classic Melbourne, I'm, even myself, I'm wanting to explore a bit more colour now, and maybe things a little bit more feminine and flowy, so, yeah, I'm open to trying something different as well. But I always come back to black. LAUGHS

32:33 Chryssius

I think that that's a pretty common theme though in most people's wardrobes.

32:37 Bethany

Yeah. Because it's just safe and you don't have to worry about getting it dirty.

32:40 Chryssius

Oh my gosh, yes. That's so true.

32:41 Bethany

Yeah.

32:42 Chryssius

Alright, so before we wrap up then, I would love to know is what is your "Best Bargain Brag". So, what's your favourite or most interesting, or just even the strangest piece of clothing that you have picked up secondhand?

32:58 Bethany

Okay, It was hard to pick, because I love them all dearly. But I had two that I love, and one was, of course, it had to be a black blazer.

Because, always. Because, I was looking for one that was just a simple, loose silhouette one, which I've got that I love and I wear to death. But I found this second one, that was black, with a little bit of gold buttons in it, because my favourite colours are black and gold. Little bit of shimmer and then feathers on the end of the cuff and I put it on. I was just like, oh, YES! It was just one of those ones like this is so fierce. I just, I didn't have a choice. I had to take it with me. And I think it was like 10 bucks. So even better.

And I just feel so fierce whenever I wear it.And I get so many compliments. And it's just so fabulous. And I love it.

33:44 Chryssius

I can't wait to see this!

33:46 Bethany

Yes.

33:47 Chryssius

And I will just say, for everyone listening, that you will be able to see this beautiful blazer in the Reloved Radio's, Instagram highlights.

33:56 Bethany

Yes, it's a fave. I love it. Love it, love it, love it. And then another one that I found is a emerald green wrap dress with white polka dots on it. And it's so flowy. It has the gathering technique on it as well. And I've worn it so many times. My mum has worn it.

Like it's, it's like the sisterhood of the travelling pants.

It just, a wrap dress suits everyone and I just love it and I feel so pretty in it. And yeah, it's fabulous.

34:21 Chryssius

Is that a vintage piece, that one?

34:23 Bethany

I found it in an op-shop. So, yeah. It's just, it's just stunning. And yeah, that was $10 as well.

34:28 Chryssius

Oh, bargain!

34:29 Bethany

I know, it's just the best.

34:33 Chryssius

Alright, well thank you so much Bethany for sharing your passion for upcycled fashion with us. If someone is listening to this and they're thinking, oh, I've got something in my wardrobe that could be made into something new and they want to get in touch with you, where will they find you?

34:49 Bethany

The best place to go is my website: www.bethanyalice.com.au. It's got all my information on there, all my packages, all the links to my socials, everything's on there.

35:01 Chryssius

Thanks for listening to Reloved Radio. You can find the show notes for today's episode on the website, www.relovedradio.com.au. And that's also where you can download all my best sustainable shopping secrets. There's 45 of them, they're free, and they'll walk you through exactly how to shop secondhand like a pro.

Show artwork for Reloved Radio: Sustainable Fashion Stories

About the Podcast

Reloved Radio: Sustainable Fashion Stories
Be inspired by the individuals who are not only transforming wardrobes but also paving the way for a planet-friendly fashion revolution. Tune in every second Tuesday to discover how these incredible stories of secondhand style, sustainable fashion, upcycling, rewearing and reselling are reshaping the narrative of our closets... and, in turn, our world.

About your host

Profile picture for Chryssius Dunn

Chryssius Dunn

Wife. Mother. Op-shops. Re-wearing. Anti-fast fashion. Decaf coffee. Cat videos. Train surfing. Nude skydiving. What? Oh, I was just listing words.