Students beat recession by making their own clothes


By Miranda Bryant

hyggeligHyggelig’, a new student movement devoted to customising clothing, knitting and recycling clothing has been set up by environmentally conscious Goldsmiths students.  

The group of Goldsmiths students started Hyggelig at the student union as an opportunity to get together and make clothes. They customise clothing while socialising with wine and cupcakes.

The group is part of a New Cross renaissance in DIY fashion and recycled clothing – customising existing items to fit or beautify them, knitting and creating clothing and jewellery from pre-existing objects.

“Recycled clothes and crafty things have all of a sudden got really cool again,” says Charlie Waynright, Hyggelig founder. “Local shops have started selling recycled fashion and there’s loads of knitting groups around London.”

Getting started

Waynwright initially started knitting when her nan gave her a book. Beyond making practical items – she is currently making a draft excluder for her door – she stressed how enjoyable it can be:  “It’s really addictive, I haven’t done it for a couple of weeks and now I can’t stop, even when I’m talking to people. It’s quite therapeutic.”

Whilst knitting is not recycling, it adopts the same concept of recycling clothes – the idea of skirting past the mainstream by making for yourself. Waynright says she rarely goes to chain shops now: “I go for more unconventional things, I bought a skirt the other day made out of an old shirt.”

Anna Ponpionts, another member of the Hyggelig group is also an arts student and organised a recycled fashion show last year at Goldsmiths. She aims to make recycled fashion’s image more glamorous because at the moment she says it can be considered drab. “If we can promote recycled fashion as clean, beautiful and glamorous and not just an ugly t-shirt. Topshop ethical t-shirts for example are just boring and plain. Even People Tree [ethical clothing brand] is quite plain.” 


Recycled clothing does not necessarily equal ethical though. Ponpionts says making truly ethical items is expensive because you have to know where all materials come from and how they were made and by whom. 

She is also a jewellery maker, which she makes out of recycled items. “I recently got hold of spare sewing machines and clocks which I wove together for my most recent jewellery collection”, she said.


Useful shops around New Cross

Source shops:

Charity shops – Deptford High Street

Habberdashery – Peter and Joan, Deptford

Pound shops – Peckham High Street

Vintage shops:

Prankster, New Cross Road – vintage and recycled couture costumes, for hire or tailor made to buy

Danse Macabre, New Cross Road – reasonably priced vintage and recycled clothing

Vintage Emporium, New Cross Road – temporary vintage shop (open until January) for men and women’s clothing, stock ethical jewellery, prices from £10-£100+

Knitting groups:

Higglig – contact Charlie Waynright at Enviroclub, Goldsmiths Student Union


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