About Us

Starting as a small team of 2 we created the initial ideas for ThriftyCouture. The general aim was to create a sustainable business that would be able to train and employ young unemployed people and older retired residents in fashion.

Having previously developed "GetMoreLocal" (www.getmorelocal.co.uk), we felt it was vital that the company had strong commitments to the environment and the community.

With 1.2 million tons of clothing going into landfill in 2005 in the UK alone (DEFRA2007), we found that there was an undeniable gap in the market for 'up cycled' products. With our chronic addiction to 'fast fashion' and companies and trends nowadays moving so quickly, it seems only logical to make use of the unloved and wasted clothing and remake it into something timeless and fashionable. 

Thrifty Couture takes unloved clothes and with good design and workmanship creates covetable and affordable fashion

The main obstacle to scaling up Thrifty Couture from a project to a sustainable social enterprise is the lack of trained dressmakers.  So we are training our own army of seamstresses!  Working with the unemployed, retired and elderly residents and ex-offenders we hope to grow Thrifty Couture, offer employment and inspire others to start their own designer-maker business based on upcycling existing garments and keeping them out of landfill

Our main objectives:
-       wean women off Fast Fashion towards Slow Couture
-       create a sustainable business from commercial as well as environmental perspectives
-       train marginalized residents to give them an employable skill, and involvement 

How are we going to achieve these goals: 
     By showing women that there is another way to obtain an original “look” that will also make their annual clothes budget go further; they won’t be buying more frequently to replace the pieces thrown away, these garments are well-made and durable, won’t cost more than her annual fashion spend, and will ensure that they are buying ethically

     By offering workshops to the public we demonstrate how easy and fun it is to acquire or refresh a skill and can help you become independent of the fast fashion outlets

     By training marginalized communities in skills which are now scarce, we can help make them more employable

    Community benefits:

  • Up-cycling garments is ethical, good for the environment, and sustainable as a commercial activity 
  • Learning how to up-cycle is sociable and fun (in workshops) and can offer sustainable employment (through training) for individuals who are on the margins of our society  
  • Exchanging knowledge and skills through the outreach programmes helps support inter-generational and intercultural relationships

Our Commitment to the Environment:
The project is designed specifically to engage with those living in the London boroughs of Hackney, South Camden (King’s Cross) and Islington.

Our raw materials are donated or found.  Our biggest sponsor Retrograde Limited donated 1 metric tonne of used clothes and woollens to our project in 2011 and we finally exhausted this same stock in mid-2012.  We are now up to 1.3tonnes of clothing and cloth and counting

Sustainability is integral to the project.

We share workshop space with GetMore and just as their team incorporates sustainability into the way they run their day-to-day business, so we too, operate a tight environmental system. Examples of how we do this include:
  • Minimising office waste such as paper by only printing when it is unavoidable and only using FSC certified paper stock and 100% certified organic printer inks;
  • Paper patterns, project bags, and clothes’ bags are made from recycled newspaper and old curtains;
  • All cut-off remnants are either re-used in new creations, donated to Age UK for their craft workshops or added to the garden compost to aerate;
  • Recycling all our recyclable waste via our landlord’s recycling bins and waste collection service;
  • Using a plumbed-in miniaturised filtering system to provide filtered water to staff, avoiding bottle water waste and food miles;
  • Sharing the maintenance of the garden and growing our own vegetables, herbs and fruit with GetMore team in their office grounds;
  • Training our team to switch off equipment not in use;
  • Using low energy cooling systems which uses fresh air from outside to cool the building;
  • Using frosted windows in order to reduce solar glare and fixing aerators on taps in our offices;
  • Encouraging remote working and hosting events within 2.5km of our offices and transferring materials by foot or bike, avoiding car use;
  • Delivering our marketing and catering service by bike minimising car use.