METANoIA - Necessity is the Mother of Invention -

Necessity is the Mother of Invention

It seems hard to imagine now, but many of us grew up in the days where recycling and upcycling weren’t terms that were commonly used. The universal recycling symbol had been created (in 1970) but the whole concept of conscious consuming didn’t really exist in our world. Recycling and reusing was just something that we did - or rather our parents did - out of practical necessity.

Without knowing the slogan “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” we put out empty glass bottles for the milkman, we watched or helped when sofas were recovered (holding the fabric, never the staple gun) and we put newspaper on the floor when tables were sanded down and re-stained. ‘New’ sets of drawers would be repainted, and tiles would be stencilled - if you were super-fancy and didn’t have linoleum ones.

Baby formula tins were washed out and covered in contact paper to store sugar and flour, old tyres were made into swings, everyone had at least a small vege patch, that always grew more rhubarb than any one family could be expected to eat. Washing the dirt off potatoes from the garden was a regular chore, and there was a suitcase under the bed full of fabric if you needed a dress-up costume, or wanted something new to wear for school. There was no popping to Kmart at 8pm.

Sunbaking was literally that, slathered in coconut oil and we rubbed our sunburn with aloe vera stems because there were no plastic tubes of aloe gel, just pink chalky calamine in the medicine cabinet. Teens just want to fit in, we certainly didn’t want to wear something original, unique or handmade. We wanted the same style and brand as all our friends…

Eventually we develop our own style, and learn what suits us best. Depending on our lifestyle and our peer group it can go in many directions – vintage, corporate, high street, athletic - usually a hybrid of all these and more.

Great personal style is an extreme curiosity about yourself. -Iris Apfel

Fast fashion often goes hand-in-hand with learning about what we like and don’t like, and choosing to op-shop was motivated more by style than sustainability. For those of us who embraced op-shopping, we know vintage is the ultimate treasure-hunt, the process is as important as the result. You need to truly love the thrill of the journey, regardless of the outcome.

Now that we are aware of the precarious state of the planet, there is a return to slow food, slow fashion, slow travel (ahem, pandemic aside). Upcycling, recycling, repurposing, using what we have and minimising waste – necessity is the mother of invention takes on a whole new meaning in the fragile world we are living in.

We now know that our individual choices have a collective impact. Not just in daily life as consumers, but in our role as creators and designers. Being mindful of our materials and our production process is important. Design inspiration cannot be separated out from our past experiences or from our current knowledge, and bringing this together is one of our core values. Finding a way to create beautiful, functional, timeless pieces that draws these threads together is a process itself.

Hunting for vintage treasure, finding a way to breathe new life into forgotten jackets and shirts and belts, transforming them into something completely unique that offers value in both function and form, and sharing it with the world. This is the journey.

The transformation of our own mindset, our own metanoia, to appreciate the history and stories of every piece we make, and to understand that there is nothing appealing about ‘factory new’ is fundamental. Maybe not everyone has made this shift, but it is up to us to show them the way...

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