Upcycling: Christmas on a budget

By Lea Fabbrini

With news shoppers will spend less on Christmas with less in their pockets, an Ayrshire Charity is trying to bring some festive cheer in an innovative way.

UWS News talked to Laura Brown, the Development and Marketing Manager for Ayrshire Cancer Support, who found a good way to combine charity shopping and up cycling right in time for Christmas.

In October, the cancer support group reopened their Charity Shop in 43 Newmarket Street, Ayr, with a new purpose: upcycling.

Laura Brown says: “People of course at the moment have less money, so a really nice way to go out and be able continue to shop is, and continue to feel good about the fact that you’ve bought something is to go charity shopping. Look at the clothes and think how you can make them more fashionable.”

Brown says upcycling “has been going on for thousands of years and if we look at our parents they used to use the term ‘make dough men’. They would fix things, and repair things and even now they maybe have the same furniture or the same dining table as they had when they got married. Younger people don’t tend to do that.”  She thinks now people are becoming more aware, because there is less money but as well because it is becoming more and more about personal creativity.

Mark Antipof, the chief commercial officer at Visa, explained the current situation: “This year has seen a reversal of fortunes – with inflation outpacing wage growth and the recent interest rate rise leaving shoppers with less money in their pockets.”

“Although overall sales are likely to disappoint, we expect some clear winners to emerge. Online and mobile are set to take a record share of Christmas spending. Hotels, restaurants and bars are also forecast to report strong growth as Britons choose to celebrate Christmas and New Year closer to home.”

Brown does not see the current economy as a hurdle and looks to Sweden as a leading example in doing the best you can with what you have. She says: “They’ve got entire shopping malls devoted to upcycling. They upcycle everything. People stopped throwing out things into the landfills and take them along to an upcycling shopping mall. It is very fashionable in some parts of Europe, it isn’t in more rural Scotland and I suppose a way to make it more fashionable is by using design skills and creativity.”

“I plan to be leading by example, one of the things we will be doing is having workshops every Thursday evening, the first one is this Thursday evening. We have two designers which will be showing how to restyle your clothes and how to upcycle shoes. They are actually going to be demonstrating how you take items you find in a charity store and funk them up a little bit!”

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