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Fabric repurposing: From curtains to costumes

A glamorous gala dinner in a temporary structure requires a little bit of dressing before it can host the glitterati of the fashion world. In an annual event bringing together big thinkers, entrepreneurs and influential individuals from other industries, The Business of Fashion hosted VOICES 2021 from the Oxfordshire venue, Soho Farmhouse.

As well as workshops, seminars and creative experiences, the 3-day event in December 2021 invited attendees to a candlelit dinner on the grounds of the farm. To encourage a more clandestine feel for the dinner, the venue was draped in rich orange curtains lining the interior of the room. 315 individual pieces of fabric were used to create the desired effect and although fully recyclable, the material can be put to much better use as it is rather than being broken down during the recycling process.

Event Cycle work in partnership with resource centres for local communities and schools and this is where we placed the orange fabric.

Orinoco operates two scrap stores in Oxfordshire serving the community as an arts and crafts resource as well as putting on activities for the community. Their mission is to banish boredom and save the planet using creativity and play to inspire the reuse of materials. Over its 25 year history, Orinoco has saved lorry loads of interesting resources from ending up in landfill.

“We have taken the fabric and divided it between our scrap stores in Oxford and Banbury. We have put some of it in our stores for people to buy at a minimal cost to make things from. So far, people have bought it to make curtains for a canal boat. We are planning to promote through social media and our database of schools, as curtains suitable for a stage. One of our volunteers, who is a retired upholsterer and soft furnishings expert, recognised the material as blackout fabric she has used on many occasions when making curtains for residential homes, for example.
In addition, and possibly more exciting, we will be using it in our forthcoming costume making event during half term on 24 February. We will be setting up a workshop in Banbury town centre where children and their families are coming to make their costumes in preparation for world book day on 3 March. We envisage the material being made into wiggly worms, dinosaurs and capes for superheroes. The possibilities are endless”
Sue Smith, Orinoco

Want to find new ways to use no longer needed items? Talk to Event Cycle today


The Business of Fashion is recognised around the world for its authoritative, analytical point of view on the $2.5 trillion global fashion industry. Our mission is simple: build fashion’s global membership community to open, inform and connect the industry.


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