Discards become upcycled fashion

Making couture fashion by taking the best of the old and making it new

Jenn Bell is designing upcycled garments.

There’s a trend that is getting a lot a of attention from fashionistas and it’s not from the latest high profile designers. Move over Ralph, Donna and Yves, there is a new game and it is taking the best of what you do and transforming it into something new — sort of.

Jenn Bell is a budding clothing designer who goes dumpster diving, scavenging through thrift stores and garage sales to find those treasures destined for the dump.

She’s seeking out those interesting garments with potential for transformation. She calls it “upcycling” and it is. She takes old and new garments destined for the landfill and creates new one-of-a-kind garments. A regular viewer of Project Runway, Bell started out by using paper a florist threw out to make a paper dress and continued to fuel her passion for fashion with forays into duct tape and recycled fibre dresses.

She particularly likes vintage dresses as she says they are so well made compared to their modern made in Third World counterparts.

“I just don’t understand why people would just throw them away.”

Eco-fashion is a big trend in Vancouver and the city seems to have the leading edge entrepreneurs. Bell is right onto that. The Vancouver store, Twig & Hottie, is interested in her line and she wants to get enough one-of-a-kind pieces together to showcase her work in the store. She has a Facebook page, Discarded Couture, which showcases her work.

“I’m trying to do quality versus quantity,” she said.

She has a seamstress, Patrice Wilson, who sews her garments as she is not yet a sewer. She wants to get some training at the Pacific Academy of Design, but the tuition is $20,000 and this is the way she is raising the money for it.

“Right now it’s more like a hobby, hopefully it will take off,” said Bell.

When Bell isn’t in her work room she is at SEAPARC coaching swimming, which she has done for the past 10 years.

Bell will have her models strutting down the runway showing off her latest creations at the Women’s Wellness Fair at Sooke Harbour House on Sunday, March 4.

Just Posted

UPDATE: Tsunami warning ended for Greater Victoria

Homes in Colwood near Esquimalt Lagoon were evacuated after tsunami warning for coastal areas of B.C. after 7.9 earthquake off Alaskan coast

Greater Victoria under another wind warning this morning

Strong southeast winds will reach speeds of up to 80 km/h in Greater Victoria

UPDATE: Tsunami warning cancelled for coastal British Columbia

Warning issued following 7.9 earthquake off Kodiak, AK

Tsunami warning issued for Coastal B.C.

It is recommended that individuals residing below 20 metres should move to higher ground.

Support growing for palliative care facility on the West Shore

Dave Saunders says facilities ‘bursting at the seams’

Testing the Google Arts & Culture app

Going face to face with art

VIDEO: Fuel truck and train collide in B.C. causing massive fire

More emergency crews are still arriving on scene of a massive fire at the Port Coquitlam rail yard.

Back to work: U.S. government shutdown ends after Democrats relent

Short-term spending measure means both sides could see another shutdown stalemate in three weeks

Man lives despite malfunctioning defibrillator at B.C. arena

A middle-aged man went into cardiac arrest after at game at Pitt Meadows Arena last Wednesday.

Reynolds, Edward Milne capture titles at Esquimalt hoops tournament

Host Dockers take fourth in senior girls draw

Cause of Northern B.C. seaplane crash released

TSB releases report on seaplane crash during a water landing in 2016 near First Nations community

Vancouver police crack down on pop-up pot vendors

Officers raided merchants’ tables on Robson Square late Sunday

Bell Media, NFL take appeal over Super Bowl ad rules to top court

At issue is a ban on substituting American ads with Canadian ones during the game’s broadcast

Most Read