Wednesday 14 May 2014

Designers drawn to Emmaus curtains in upcycling challenge

Hampshire Clare Jefferson Davies and daughter Amber Enliven 140514

A fabulous fashion trail through the Hampshire town of Eastleigh will begin at Emmaus Hampshire, as the charity shows off a pair of beautiful upcycled outfits encompassing skirt, jackets, hat, jewellery and handbag in its shop window.

Mother and daughter design duo Clare Jefferson-Jones and Amber Jefferson-Grant put together the his and hers pieces - all made from a set of curtains - after they were paired with Emmaus as part of ‘Enliven’ a fashion and designer-maker show.

Taking place in Eastleigh between 19 May and 7 June, the event lined up 10 designers with charity shops throughout the town, with the aim of encouraging more recycling and reuse, and helping shoppers to see what can happen when creativity runs free!

Clare, a freelance artist based on the south coast, works in a variety of media including textiles, paper, wire and also light projection. She also manages her own company, Splodge Designs, and runs community art projects and events, including creating large scale props and costumes. Her daughter, Amber is an illustrator.

Clare said: “When we heard about the Enliven project we thought it would be the perfect chance to combine the varying skills that we hold, while taking part in an exciting project with a great ethical background.

“We feel that in a throwaway culture, upcycling is a great way to look at items differently. Things that might otherwise be thrown away can be seen in a new light. For example, we had great fun imagining a past for the curtains that we chose from Emmaus Hampshire. We created a whole backstory and Amber has even illustrated about it.” 

Hampshire Clare Jefferson Davies and daughter Amber Enliven bird necklace 140514

Emmaus Hampshire community director Graeme Willis said: “We hope that this event will raise awareness of the great variety of goods in our shop. This competition really encourages a view of charity shops as a place to pick up vintage goods or items with the potential to be upcycled into something else that is new and unusual. We look forward to welcoming plenty of new shoppers to our stores.”

The fortnight of fashion fun ends with a catwalk show on 7 June, where upcycling designer Mia Nisbet and fashion guru Wayne Hemingway will judge the entries and members of the public will have the opportunity to meet and buy from all of the designer-makers. Emmaus Hampshire will have a stand at the event, offering buyers the chance to pick up some upcycled bargains, as well as raw materials to make their own creations.

Thanks to the European Union (EU) funded RECREATE programme the Enliven Project has grown every year, with 2014, the fourth year, being no exception. To find out more, visit the Facebook page, or the Enliven Tumblr page.

Perhaps you've done some upcycling of your own? We're always keen to hear more and see your pictures. Get in touch by emailing

 PHOTO CREDIT: Ashley James Photography