Imagine the jacket you’re wearing wasn’t always a jacket. Imagine if it was once a completely different piece of clothing. That’s the idea behind refashioning clothing, which used to be a tailor’s bread-and-butter. Today, it seems like the way forward for a growing number of designers concerned about the waste involved in the fashion industry. Designer Pashmina Ahmed, who runs the brand Plush, recently launched the initiative of redesigning clothes by breathing new life into old ones.
“The idea came about when I realised I had too many weddings to attend within the same circle of friends and didn’t want to make a brand new outfit for each occasion,” she said. “It is expensive and a complete waste of fabric, material and money for an outfit I won’t make use of more than once,” she added. That’s when Pashmina took older pieces and added a modern twist to them to create new outfits, something many people do close to wedding season. This sparked the idea to run this business on a commercial level.
Pashmina asks customers to send a clear image or description of the outfit they wish to transform, along with an approximate budget they would prefer the work to be done in, in addition to their fixed service charge. Once evaluated, the brand shares with customers what they would do with the outfit and how much it would cost. “Upon agreement, we ask them to send us their outfit in its original condition and grant us permission to cut it up and use it to its full capacity without sending back any leftover pieces,” she shares.
Next, they send two sketch options for the clients to choose from after which they redesign the outfit, staying true to their signature designs. She describes the brand’s aesthetics as “unconventional and effortlessly cool, embodied by a woman with self-confidence. Someone who particularly cares for the environment.”
Pashmina added, “Sustainability is key at Plush and that’s why this service is important to us. We want to encourage as many people as we can to recycle and revamp their wardrobes and not let their clothes go to waste.”
Plush aims to focus on embellished clothing with detailed work and outfits that they can make the most out of. “People have also come to me with coats and jackets that they love and don’t want to get rid of and I’ve helped transform them,” adds Pashmina.
The brand is based in Pakistan but also sells abroad in the Middle East, mainly in Oman, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates. “We want people to be able to avail this service online without having to visit our studio space, both for convenience and for the excitement of getting something brand new in the mail.”
Today, wardrobe refashioning has made a comeback, in equal parts, from economic necessity and a renewed consciousness among people buying and discarding clothes too quickly. With more benefits than one, refashioned clothing seems to be one of the few ways to make fashion sustainable.
In a world where trendy throwaway fashion is big, the idea of refashioned apparel can be an anomaly but it’s slowly seeping into the mainstream. It reduces waste through the repurposing of unwanted clothes. It cuts down on costs and paves the way for an environment-friendly fashion industry.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 27th, 2015.