Blending sentiment, sustainability, and education, influencer Ellie Rose uses clothes that belonged to her late, beloved grandmother to teach her followers how to turn things they already own into new styles.
In September 2019, Rose lost her fashion-loving grandmother, who left Rose with many of her favorite clothes. “Every time I would take her for lunch, she would strut downstairs in her outfit that she had styled and asked me if I approve,” the influencer told Newsflare. “Every time I would tell her how beautiful she looked and her face would light up. She was the best-dressed nan I ever saw.”
Rose viewed these clothes as an extension of the person she dearly missed, so she decided to incorporate them into her wardrobe as a way to wrap a little part of her loved one around her every day. On her TikTok, Rose started a series in which she transforms her late grandmother’s clothes into trendy pieces.
A pillar of Rose’s platform is her advocacy for slowing down fashion.
As clothing production systems have evolved, fashion trends have sped up rapidly, creating what we know today as fast fashion. Fast fashion describes clothing companies that operate on incredibly short fashion cycles to mass produce trendy clothing at the lowest cost, usually at the expense of underpaid workers and the planet.
Ellie Rose talks about how harmful fast fashion is to the planet, and she encourages viewers to upcycle by adapting older clothes to fit current trends and avoid buying trendy pieces from fast-fashion brands.
Upcycling is recycling an item to a point where it has a higher value than before; upcycling clothing can involve tailoring an item to fit better, adding embellishments, or reworking the pattern.
Since upcycling keeps clothes around longer, it helps the planet by reducing textile waste, lessening dye pollution in waterways, and conserving resources. Upcycling clothes also encourages people to slow their purchases of new clothing, a big driver for fast-fashion companies to keep producing and polluting.
A few examples of Rose’s upcycling her grandmother’s clothes: wearing scarves as halter and strapless tops; tailoring skirts; cropping tank tops and using the excess fabric to create cropped cinch tops; shifting a sweater into a front-tie top; cutting a scarf into a breezy summer top with a matching headband; and making a fluffy sweater into a cardigan.Today, artists are commissioned to rework old clothing into trendy pieces and transform sentimental items into keepsakes such as quilts, pillows, and stuffed animals.
Whatever your reason to upcycle, you have several ways to repurpose textiles to keep the memories of loved ones alive, prevent pollution, and save money.