This month's Vogue includes a feature on the 'new movement in recycled fashion' announcing that a new crop of designers who use second-hand clothes and fabrics have made the practice cool, exciting and even - wait for it - desirable.
Dear Vogue, you missed the boat. The east London design duo Junky Styling is one of a number of pioneering labels creating intriguing and desirable clothes from old threads. But they've been doing it for ten years.
Annika Sanders and Kerry Seager's seemingly endless enthusiasm for their craft has resulted in timeless, deconstructed, re-cut and completely transformed clothing. No two Junky designs are the same - they can be cut from the same pattern but the raw materials will always be different.
In the late 1990s, they started out experimenting with pinstripe and tweed suits, then evolved to deconstruct and transform all matter of garments - from old shirts, skirts and jackets to trousers and jeans.
Some of their best known creations include skirts from men's shirt cuffs, scarves made from suit sleeves, circle skirts using several trouser legs cut off at the thighs, a swoosh dress made from deconstructed men's shirts, a sideways skirt with bow using shirt sleeves to create a dramatic swishing bow detail...the list goes on.
In their new book, Junky Styling: Wardrobe Surgery, the pair describe their design vision as follows:
‘Taking a garment that already has an identity and looking at is as a raw material, studying the existing form and details, then applying them to a new design- a complete reinterpretation and disregard for the existing identity of the piece.'
Luckily for anyone buying the book, a section entitled ‘how to design and construct' gives step-by-step details on how to make their most popular recycled creations. With a sewing machine and a bit (or more) of DIY inspiration, the unworn clothes in your closet can be transformed into individually-refashioned pieces.
Budding designers will enjoy reading about the leasons learnt from Junky's rise from humble beginnings on a stall at Kensington Market, through numerous catwalk shows, wholesaling, trade fairs and the various financial and psychological ins and outs of growing a design business.
Though they've kitted out the likes of Kate Moss, Sienna Miller and Sadie Frost, Junky Styling are more likely to boast about their contribution to shaping up-and-coming designers and design students. They proudly admit to having their brand namechecked on the GCSE syllabus, and are a case study on the A-Level syllabus.
Aside from its 'off-the-peg' collection at their east London Brick Lane shop, the Junky Styling business has evolved and now offers a Wardrobe Surgery service, giving customers the opportunity to bring in favourite garments that are out-of-date or damaged, to be reworked into a new, made-to-measure design creations.
Their foray into clothing design was more accidental than intentional: neither had studied design or fashion. Using a sewing machine given to Annika for her 18th birthday, they started creating 'bits' for themselves to wear out clubbing.
From there onwards, their contribution to fashion - and the ethical fashion movement - has been secured. Their new book shows the best of their efforts to combine the avant-garde with a make-do-and-mend spirit.
Matilda Lee is the Ecologist's Consumer Affairs Editor
Junky Styling: Wardrobe Surgery by Annika Sanders and Kerry Seager Readers can order copies for the special price of £16.99 (RRP £19.99) by ringing MDL on 01256 302699 or emailing email@example.com and quoting GLR 2ZI. Offer valid until 30/09/09.
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