Sunday 22 September 2019

Runway to Reality: Meet the team who can make your dream outfit from pre-loved clothes

foot sewing machine with needle and thread in the background spools with colored threads
foot sewing machine with needle and thread in the background spools with colored threads

Freya Drohan

Have you a wardrobe full of unused, dated and once-loved clothes? Don’t toss them just yet - give them a new lease of life with the help of the professionals.

The age old problem: a wardrobe full of clothes, but nothing to wear.

We are all guilty of hoarding garments that we no longer need; whether it’s because they represent a happy memory, a size we once fit into, or a trend we hope to one day pull off.

Research highlights that up to 85 percent of women harbour clothes that are no longer their size, and The Wall Street Journal recently reported that we only wear about 20 percent of the items that hang in our storage.

With an upcoming formal event, I wanted to think outside the box, instead of splurging on a new dress that would most likely only see one night on the town before being relegated to the dark confines of the “good wardrobe” myself and my sister share with my mother.

I scoured the Internet, Pinterest and style blogs for ideas and inspiration, and spent hours window-shopping for an outfit to wear to my graduation ball, and just when I thought I had seen every variation of a long black dress, I finally found what I was looking for.

 An avid Instagram user, I saw a picture from Melbourne Fashion Week that showed the model Ashley Hart in a show stopping white pant suit.

The ensemble was comprised of a plunge neck jacket and sheer flared trousers, which she had accessorised with a messy up-style and a chunky necklace- my style to a T.

The inspiration
The inspiration
The inspiration
The inspiration

The outfit was made by Willow, a contemporary womenswear brand based in Australia, and my heart sunk when I saw the price tag of over €1200.

This is where The Zip Yard came in. I contacted Alba, the proprietor at the South Anne St store in Dublin, attaching a photo and asking her could she make something similar.

Alba told me to bring in a white blazer and we would go from there. I looked through my existing wardrobe, rooting out an old jacket from H&M which would do the job, and a pair of Zara trousers that I hadn’t worn in years but always liked the fit of.

At my first fitting, Alba and the store’s manager Paulina informed me that they would take out the collar of the jacket and insert a zip and make a split in the sleeves. They were also going to use the Zara trousers as a template for the new pants and shorts insets.

H&M blazer (before)
H&M blazer (before)
Zara trousers (for template)
First fitting at The Zip Yard
Second fitting at The Zip Yard

I went back a week later to try on the outfit and ensure the fit was ok and a final fitting the following week to ensure the length of the trousers was just right.

I was blown away with the results; the outfit looked sophisticated, glamorous and elegant; I couldn’t believe that it was the same cheap blazer from H&M that I had already worn to death over the years.

I decided to forgo a statement necklace in case it took away from the outfit, instead I accessorized the suit with an embellished bag and vintage-style earrings and rings from Accessorize.

Makeup by Amy O’Neill in Makeup Forever on Clarendon St and hair by Robert Chambers on Grafton St.

The finished product
The finished product
The finished product
The finished product
The finished product

The Zip Yard offers alteration services on "just about anything that fits under a sewing machine" and is a service used by leading stylists including Cathy O'Connor and Courtney Smith.

For more information on The Zip Yard Dublin 2, visit their Facebook or Website.

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