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Reinvented Fashion with a Purpose : A Conversation with Lydia Bolton

words by Vedika Hinduja

February 19, 2021

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Lydia Bolton is a changemaker in fashion design, creating clothes with unwanted fabrics and used clothing. Through her E-Shop, she creates sustainable, made to order garments promoting circularity. Lydia walks us through her journey to mindful creation and fight against clothing waste.

On the path to sustainable fashion

Lydia’s passion for upcycling and sustainable fashion stemmed from her innate creativity as a child. “Three out of four of my grandparents were artists in their spare time so I liked making things and drawing. I used to “a dress a day” all of my teenage years where I drew a dress every single day.” This creativity when paired with Lydia’s personal preference for second-hand and vintage clothing, paved the way for her upcycled brand. However, Lydia elucidates that the connection between her personal values of sustainability and her work only formed later in her life: “ Although I lived in a very eco-driven household with my Mum extremely conscious of consumption and waste, I began my career in fashion without sustainability in mind.’ The turning point for Lydia was when she did a course in sustainable fashion, which imbibed in her the sheer amount of waste that fashion creates in the production and consumption process. Lydia’s brand was born out of her passion for this in April 2019. 

“The aim of my brand is to create clothing for women who want to look good, and know that their clothes have done good. So it’s for the conscious, but stylish shopper who wants to be able to work; wear clothing, which fits their style, and makes them feel great but not at the cost of the planet. I do this by modifying unwanted clothes. I get all my clothes from different places, some of it is people’s donations, some of it charity shops.”

“I love being able to provide all women with an alternative way to have new clothing, that isn’t made from new materials

Lydia Bolton

Everything Lydia recreates is made to order and is changing the process of shopping to something much more unique and personal. Made to order means that Lydia is not producing items unless they are sold, reducing the amount of waste and energy of making a garment. Moreover, this method is more beneficial to customers as well as they are able to request something specific and in their exact measurements: “I can tailor the size to make sure it’s perfect for the customer and in turn they have more of a connection to the item, valuing it more.”

Lydia’s brand is not limited to selling her creations. Part of her vision includes giving people more options than having to buy things through upskilling workshops, teaching them to repair and mend. She tells us of her practice, thinking of the “whole chain of where your garment has been made and where it will go” to promote and raise awareness of the garment’s entire lifecycle helps people value it more, and change their behaviour towards it: by wearing it for longer or remaking it.

SEWcial Sessions & DIY KITS

Lydia’s “SEWcial Sessions” stemmed from many customers feeling inspired and wanting to remake some of their clothes. These sessions host up to five people on zoom to encourage them to remake their clothing with basic sewing skills. Lydia also sells DIY kits, which are all unique, that were birthed from people’s desire to be more creative in the UK’s first lockdown.

DIY KIT

“The kits became super popular; everything you need to make it apart from scissors comes in the kit. So you have your needle, your thread, your pins and all the kits are slightly different. For example, the sweater vest kit, which is very popular, comes with a pattern. And then it comes with a patchwork of different bits of knitwear, which I’ve already planned out in the right shape, and there’s a little guide. And then you can hand sew it together using the needle and thread and I am making a blog post to go with each of the kits so you can follow the blog post that has videos and to know how to make it. The main hope is that they’re straightforward and easily doable for people that don’t feel like they can.”

Lydia’s brand and ethos is changing the way people think about their clothing. Check out Lydia’s unique creations here and join the movement towards more awareness and mindful consumption!

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