Repair Café Cheltenham | Lauren O’Leary | Level 4

On May 7th, I took part in the Regeneration Café in Cheltenham. The repair café is an organisation that has been created by The University of Gloucestershire’s Product Design lecturer Michelle. The idea of the repair café is for the local community to bring along broken items for repair, an example of a few things brought in were bicycles, dresses, a blender, a wooden arm chair, an old record player and even a pitch fork to be sharpened. The items were repaired throughout the morning by volunteers, Product Design students and myself, Abi and Lowri from first year Fashion Design as well as our lecturer Margaret.

Here are the repair café logos that were created by Graphic Design students at the University

For my module of Sustainable and Ethical design I have decided to work with discarded denim, the denim that wearers no longer wear or want to repair. This denim usually ends up in landfill so I have decided to do something about it. So far, I have taken a pair of denim jeans and worked them into a different pair by using a completely different shade of denim. I have also used an old and unwanted denim jacket, taken the sleeves completely off and replaced them with a pair of jeans to create a loose fitting sleeve, this was also done in a contrasting colour denim because I think it works really well together. The list of things that can be done with a pair of denim jeans is endless. All of the work that I have done so far for my project was on show at the repair café and many people were intrigued to know what I was doing.

Here are the garments that I have reworked on display at the repair café, and whilst the lady had her jeans repaired she tried the ones that I had altered on.

At the repair café, I was repairing clothing for people as well as working on my own project, it was a great opportunity to explain to people what my project was all about and what I hoped to achieve. I showed a lady how to patch up a hole that had gotten too big on the front of her denim jeans, by doing this it stopped her from throwing the jeans into landfill because she didn’t want to wear them anymore, and hopefully she has taken away a new skill.

Hard at work at the repair café, 7th May

There was also another perk of being at the repair café… We managed to get our fabric scissors sharpened. If you’re a Fashion Student, you would understand how great it was to get them done. repair cafe cheltenham 6

I really enjoyed engaging with the local community and showing them what can be done with an old pair of jeans that hang at the back of the wardrobe, as well as teaching people how they can repair their own clothing and not giving up on them. The impact of the repair café could save a lot of denim from ending up in landfill. I feel privileged to be part of the organisation.

I now can’t wait for the Sustainable and Ethical project and the denim that I am working with to be shown at the end of year show. I hope that when people see the work I have created, they will be inspired with what they can do themselves.

By Lauren O’Leary

BA Fashion Design Student | Level 4

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