SUNDAY 15TH APRIL sees our first clothes swapping event at The Shacklewell Arms in Dalston. The aim? To find your old clothes a new home, to talk shop and pick up a few new skills in the comfort of an East End boozer.

We’ll be joined by a panel including: Lyla Patel from TRAID, Nadia Idle from War On Want and Anna Hesse from Here Today Here Tomorrow discussing the topic of ‘Clothing With A Conscience > How To Be An Informed Consumer’.

The slow clothes swap will commence after the discussion, along with an embroidery workshop run by Rosa Martyn and a knitting workshop with Anna.

All proceeds from the event will go towards funding our project ‘Waste Through Work’. A community project working with young unemployed women.

More details can be found on our facebook page.

We look forward to seeing you and your unwanted clothes there!

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We Hit The Hut

We’re currently transforming our new temporary work space located on Oxford Street. The space used to be Pizza Hut’s London Training Centre and is now the hub of all things USED. In the throbbing heart of London’s consumerist district >> we’ll be addressing issues of fast fashion whilst utilising fashion consumer’s waste…and awaiting the arrival of our new neighbour Primark.

We’ll be opening up the space one day a week for the public to use our sewing machines and fix up their skills and old clothes.

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We Only Gone And Done It!

We’d like to thank you for your support in helping our community project reach our fundraising target, for believing in us, spreading the word and digging deep. We now have the funds to start moving into a space provided by 3Space.


Becca and Tom Sharrocks, Ellie Emptage, Rod Bower, Sophie Williams, Neil Usher, Kevin Rimmer, Lora Heinl-Rimmer, Iain Whiteley, Jeanne Griffiths, Susie Cell, Sandra Pearce, Elizabeth Millen, Sandra and Violet Garbet, Dan Eldridge, Paul Shellard, Danny Staple, Robert Watts, Leo Heinl, Veronica Csertoi and Deborah Byrne, Rosa Martyn, Scott Bradbury (Chips for the Poor), Tom Gilroy, Kim Hankinson, Jim Meredith, Naomi Bristow, Maren Grotemeier, John Porteus, Julie Norburn, Ellie Keeble and Bex Mullins.

It was with your help that we made equipment out of wood found on the streets of London, with the help of sculptor Philip White, and with reclaimed fabric that we made into yarn, we headed down to the Crisis Rough Sleeper’s Centre to make scarves with the hundreds of homeless people over the festive Christmas period.

We hope that in 2012 we will continue to work with organisations that work with vulnerable people, build up strong links with the local community and to find creative solutions for textile waste.

With your continued support, we’ve got a feeling 2012 will be a good one.

We hope you have a good one too!

Sarah, Meghan and Rosie x

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Bank Of Ideas

Brought to you by the people of Occupy London: the Bank of Ideas is a unique space in an abandoned UBS building in Hackney. The building had been vacant for a number of years and the Occupy movement is offering a platform to those that welcome change and the sharing of ideas and skills by cleaning it up and opening it to the public to use.

Whilst we see libraries, community centres and youth groups close due to lack of funding, and with a growing trend of spaces lying dormant and unoccupied; the Bank of Ideas offer a free open-access centre for them to continue their good work in a building that has been left neglected.

Education through thought-provoking lectures, discussions and debates, creative workshops, a library, a cinema and live performances are just some of what is on offer to bring people together to encourage free-thinking and skill-sharing.

To show our support we will be doing a free workshop, open to all and everyone, on Saturday 10th December between 12 and 4pm, making soft furnishings out of reclaimed materials to help regenerate this inspiring space for as long as we have it.

Visit the events page for more details:

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Made In Peckham

Here’s a ‘behind the scenes’ shot of our fundraising video.

We hit Peckham High Street with a camera and a vague idea – to make a quick, light-hearted video that highlights our project and a brief overview of the issues that are close to our hearts.

Only a few months ago Peckham was one of the areas hit by the London riots as groups of people across London took to the streets and looted local shops.

Meghan, the star of our video, slipped into her heels and into the mindset of a crazed consumer. In the photo above, she talks to a local Peckham resident about USED, but mainly about her shoes.

The result is here:

All money raised from the video will go to helping us move into our new workspace in North London – a disused and vacant office space – with the help of 3Space.

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Show Us Your Space

With so many redundant shops and office spaces popping up around the country we got in talks with 3Space to put a roof over our heads and find a suitable home for the bags of reclaimed materials we’ve been rescuing from being thrown away and provide a space that we can work on re-using them.

The premise of 3Space, a charity, is to work with landlords who have an empty space to provide Community Interest Companies, social enterprises and other charities with a free temporary office or pop-up shop whilst it’s vacant and unused. Their aim is to help regenerate an area by making use of available premises, supporting local communities as well as giving organisations a platform to work their magic.

Our new space ties in nicely with the USED ethos, of using our available resources to make our upcycling community. A place where we can work on our range of clothes made from reclaimed materials, and to work with the community to skill-share, connect with our existing materials and create new from old.

Our aim is to be in our new working environment by the end of the month.

3Space are currently running a competition to charitable organisations with the chance to win the use of a free retail unit and £1500. See here for more details:

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Hold The Press

Sarah was asked to offer her upcycling know-how for an article written by Christine De Leon which was featured in the style page of The Huffington Post.

Read the full article here:

For reporting on sustainable fashion on the street, check out VeryNiceThreads

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Attention Admin


We’ve been trying to get into the mindset of project administration, more specifically, writing the business plan for USED. The A Level Business Studies books were dusted off, online business plan templates poured over and brains wound up like old mechanical tin toys. If anything makes you want to reach for the bottle, defrost the freezer, arrange your knickers drawer or stare aimlessly at the television at another repeat, attempting to write a business plan will do it.

When searching the internet for possible funding avenues we stumbled across The Bright Ideas Trust. It was set up by Tim Campbell of The Apprentice fame to offer young people an opportunity to kick-start their businesses so we were thrilled to be invited to attend a workshop after submitting our proposal. The workshop was aimed to give us the confidence and knowledge to fight, not fear, the figures, to translate the jargon, and arm us with the skills to writing the beast of a business plan and to realise our project. It helped us to understand the areas that we need to sit down and focus on, the bits that need some refining and tweaking and, more importantly, determination to push forward.

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Sewing The Seeds

Doing A Little Dance On The TOTP

And so the story begins…

There’s a pressure, to begin a tale, especially one that started a few months ago over a pint in a South London boozer on a rainy Monday evening, and make it sound worthy of being the beginning of an exciting adventure. I feel there should be a build up, to create the mood, set the scene, introduce the characters slowly, weave a plot, but we’re long past that now. We’ve reached the stage of staying in on a Saturday night, writing lists, sourcing an overlocker and looking into funding applications. So, to use some artistic license and make this blog in any way interesting I’ll try and refrain from reporting on the complete mundane, but stay true to our journey with its highs and lows.

There are some exciting movements going on in the sustainable fashion industry, people looking to slow fashion down a bit and to help us understand, once again, the value of our attire. There’s a story of a woman stepping out of Primark on Oxford Street with several bags stuffed full of cheap clothes into the heavy rain. She continued to walk on despite one of her overstuffed bags getting wet and breaking, spilling her brand new purchases all over the pavement. The woman failed to pick up her clothes, I suspect, because they weren’t of any particular value to her in the first place. This is a tale of when throwaway fashion simply becomes littering.

Recycling fashion comes under many guises: vintage, second-hand, swapping, upcycled or DIY. There are some brilliant people working away on different areas of the fashion cycle to improve it, whether it be from sourcing new, more sustainable or organic materials and fabrics, or improving manufacturing conditions for workers that feel the repercussions of our demand for cheap clothing by being paid poorly and treated inhumanely. There are people that are attempting to tackle our consumerism and waste, to dispel the myth that eco means ‘hemp’ (itchy), recycling means ‘second-hand’ (dirty or, as someone once said to me “but someone might have died in that”), or reserved for people with ‘no money’ who can’t afford the luxuries of wearing the latest trends. There are some beautiful and innovative labels working to ethical, sustainable or fairtrade values producing trend-led ranges, and there is something to be said about finding a unique garment from a vintage shop that no one else will have.

With so much material in existence we decided to look to extending the lifecycle of our clothes. To intercept clothes and materials that would end up in landfill or in an incinerator (or even strewn across the pavement). If someone has spent the time to make this, if someone once loved this and we can re-use the fabric, then we shall. And this is how USED was born.

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