Start Garden Party

Start Garden Party
A Garden Party to Make a Difference

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Pimp Yo Pants! Q&A: Jenny Ambrose

After two successful workshops at the Start Garden Party to Make a Difference,
Jenny Ambrose chatted with Jess Moore about her inspiration and passion.

1. What inspired you to become part of the fashion industry?
I started off doing general fashion and then I decided that wanted to
specialise in lingerie, I was just attracted to it. Lingerie is less
seasonal than fashion, i.e clothes and thus pieces don’t become
redundant as in fashion with its seasons. Also, I just love underwear!

It was a constant evolution, a personal journey, into self employment.

2. What are your favourite materials to work with?
Hemp and Bamboo. Bamboo is great because people are shocked to think
bamboo can actually be what’s making knickers! It’s also soft,
pliable, washes well and easy to fit. I started off wanting to make
hemp exciting; improving its reputation by printing bright spots,
things like that.

3. Who do you look to for inspiration?
Vivienne Westwood - for her controversy and sense of humour.

4. How can the public participate in this industry without becoming overwhelmed?
By encouraging people to draw on what they have in their own houses
and through teaching them, context-specifically about issues. If I’m
giving a workshop on organic knickers, I’ll talk about that, but not
other issues.

5. What do you think about the START Garden Party to Make a Difference?
On the main event Jenny thought it was brilliant; “I had no idea what
to expect - but it really inspires people. It’s great.”

Further to this, Jenny raved about the Red Cross Tent and the NOI
Collective’s practicality and set up. “The tent is really nicely set
out” and “there are lots of good tools” - the importance of which
Jenny and I discussed. Having good tools, we agreed, was a must for
allowing maximum enjoyment and education for the public. As an
activity (upcycling) which some people find new and hard to conceive
of, it’s vital that doing it feels as normal and easy as can be - a
bit like her idea of sexying up Hemp - to make it more accessible for

6. Any tips or advice?
“Go for things. Don’t think too much. Jump in and be experimental.”

Monday, 13 September 2010

Red Cross Upcycle Challenge

The Red Cross challenged me to upcycle two garments that had little chance of selling. This is the first one:

I started by cutting off the sleeves and most of the length...

I began to experiment with using the fabric I cut off from the sleeves and length - unpicking the seams, folding and pleating...

Continuing with the pinning and reshaping until it starts to take form...

Lu Flux Patchwork Workshop

Pimp Your Pants 12/09/10

Enamore designer Jenny Ambrose was in charge of the fantastic Pimp Your Pants workshop, turning old Pants to Poverty stock into desirable and cute underwear.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

TRANSFORM: Pachacuti Ethical Panama hats

Taking old stock and broken ethical Pachacuti panama hats and reconstructing them to make cute new shapes for clutch bags.

Friday, 10 September 2010

THTC Inspiring Future Upcycle Stars

Searching through THTC garments to source just the right t-shirt for his project!
Three generations of sewing enthusiasts chat to Gav from THTC whilst remaking the t-shirt.
Another satisfied customer!

Day 2: Recycle, Remake, Renew!

The day began with a suitcase of beads exploding into and enveloping the Red Cross Space; Alessandra Rigillo had arrived. As the tin cans of wooden, paper, glass, plastic and felt beads were unpacked, people started making their inquisitive way towards the scene.

While Alessandra’s jewellery/bookmark/key ring workshop began to get going, the Grow a Dress mannequin went through it’s first big changes, surely the first of many. Off went her bright orange waist belt and in came creams and browns and mauves which swirled around her curves and contrasted with the turquoise cape she held since the first day of the Garden Party.

The T-shirt workshop meanwhile cracked on, Carolina sewing a green t-shirt into the t-bag form, others of which hung on the surrounding models. Later on the Red Cross Team got involved and made their own tops and bags and enthused about upcycling, eager to go home and keep on sewing!

Overall the day was a success! Any rain encumbering the visitors only drew more to our workshop space where we discussed wastage, rubbish, junk and all their potential beautiful manifestations. People departed, from the rain and from the day, with explosive paper-bead rings, silk scarf evening tops and funky earrings with a multiplicity of items strung upon them, along with, hopefully, an enthusiasm and increased knowledge about the potential newness of their old wardrobes, curtains and piles of, let’s face it, what we all have: junk.

written by Jess Moore.

Little Glass Clementine: 10.09.10

NOI Q&A with Alessandra Rigillo

Interview - Alessandra Rigillo - Thursday 9th September

1. What inspired you to get into this field?

My mother and I used to go to old house sales and search through all the junk, finding objects with history and depth, seeing how they were and could be beautiful. The transformation from ugly to beautiful, and from one function, a particular utility, to another (whose utility could simply be to be beautiful) really grabs me.

Alessandra and I talked about how for her some objects have an obvious transformation-journey that she sees must take place. It is obvious that a piece of beautiful green piping has to be a particular neck piece, at a particular angle. For other pieces of scrap metal, old leather, abandoned t-shirts and many packed grandmothers’ jewellery boxes, exploration into what can be made must take place to discover each objects history and the new history to create.

2. What is your favourite material to use?

“Poor materials.” Stuff which is abandoned, old, preferably with rust. Brass and Copper; greens and browns in the form of rusted pipes are my favourites. Also paper, scrap metal and old used leather. Recently I’m using paper mache combined with metal - getting a contrast is important. Bottle tops are beautiful.

We also talked about what makes an object, or a material precious. I asked her if she thought her process of putting an old water pipe part alongside pearls, silver et al, meant that she was in some way questioning our ideas about what precious and/or highly valued materials are. This question lead back to a discussion about an objects history, and we talked about how there is a lot of implicit hidden value, of a richer kind, embedded within found and rescued objects.

3. Who is your favourite designer?

Martin Margiela.

4. How can the public participate in this industry without getting overwhelmed?

Through buying better quality, longer lasting non-Primark clothes and products, through buying into the positive ethical fashion industry, the public can participate. This doesn’t mean they have to completely convert suddenly to being completely ethical - it’s gradual.

Everybody is creative. Today at the workshops everybody managed to create something really beautiful - whatever their skills were before coming. Everybody has ideas. By taking part in activities, like learning to crochet, like joining a knitting group, people learn what’s involved in production. This leads to holding in higher value their objects which were made by other people, to value the process.

5. What do you think of this event?

It’s not clear who the event is for. But, saying this, we actually got lots of different people involved in the workshops today; young and old women and surprisingly, some men.

Alessandra Rigillo was interviewed by Jess Moore.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Photos from Workshops Day 1

Visitors taking part in the TRANSFORM workshop.
Scarf demonstrations.
Grow a Dress box of scrap fabric for the growing dress.
START...Drying clothes naturally!
Sinitta arrived on the morning of the first day to say hello to the team.
Orsola and the From Somewhere team.
START...Reusing and Repairing!
Entrance to the Red Cross space.