Innovative fashion – the pain and the process

Ever wondered how this creative thing works? Here’s an insight to the Convert Collection from start to grand finale!

Concept: Modular Clothing

What I do: Few rubbish sketches on scraps of paper, which I carry around in random pockets, car doors and handbags, occasionally one finds an alternative use when retrieved as a snot receptacle when a child needs a nose blow in public, and I am dramatically under prepared.


Research: Kinda

What I do: Spend days lost on Pinterest, and google images searching random words, and creating sketch pages of research images, while accidentally watching YouTube videos of shark attacks (how does this always happen)? Read stuff about module stuff, and check out who’s making anything similar anywhere, and gloat about how your idea is better. Convince my friends to accompany me on road trips to various arty establishments, so I can catch some inspiration from museums, and real art and more often, fancy designer stores.


Development:How to make modular clothing? How will it fix?

What I do: Establish the parameters for the design, and muck about with some little toiles, which means making tiny versions of the idea, to save fabric and be all sustainability focused. Then realise that it’s all fine investigating cool silhouettes, but I still have no idea how the hell I am going to fix and unfix elements together on an outfit elegantly. So I try the following:

  • Punching holes, and threading things together.
  • Punching holes and clipping, or putting rings between elements.
  • Using zips between each element.
  • Button holes and buttons between elements.
  • Weaving recycled things then using this as a frame to lace up.
  • Thinking that it all looks super crafty and naff, and dreaming that I may be able to create something new using a 3d printer, only to remember that I’m not that clever, and I’ve not got forever to learn how to even use a 3d printer.
  • I spend a day weeping quietly into my coffee, scratching my head, walking my neighbour’s dog, and binge watching YouTube shark videos to avoid accepting that the concept will never work, and I am not as awesome as I think I am, while swearing at myself every 10-15 minutes.
  • I visit my local haberdashery for inspiration, accompanied by an ominous cloud.


The mesh on this garment set was smaller, and more flexible than used on the other two full garments in the collection, allowing for double layers, and crisper finishing. Configuration 1: The skirt and top.



So, I’m really lucky to live near a great factory that has managed, against all odds to keep manufacturing technical fabrics in the UK, Heathcoats is the name, bit of a legend by all accounts. Anyway, I pop in to their factory shop, which sells lots of supplied fabrics, factory made net, and the odd selection of seconds fabrics that the factory can’t put to industrial use, this is where you find me dear reader, foraging.


Weren’t expecting that, were you? Yup, fully reversible, and the top can be worn back to front. Here we have a strap and bag addition (the bag isn’t really a finished item, but it gives you an idea what can be done.


Total score, I found a number of robust mesh fabrics, and had a light bulb moment. I remembered using push stud things for the leather work in the Protest collection, in fact still had some at home. Brought samples in various mesh hole sizes and colours and went home to test the theory.


Eureka! The studs could be pushed through up to 4 layers of the mesh fabric to temporarily affix elements of a singular garment, or just fix things together, and then taken out without ruining the fabric. It even looked quite pretty, it wasn’t a quick release system, that’s for damned sure, but it did work together, and I liked the final effect.


Realisation: Making stuff

What I do: Make mad dashes to various locations for fabric, agonising over decisions, colour combinations, and fabric type (more on that in our next instalment), injure myself on a myriad of sewing tools and machinery in surprising places, argue with my unwilling model daughter that pins don’t hurt that much when they stick in your neck, and spend days in a zombie like state with a hunch back from time served at the sewing table. Finally producing some wearable stuff.


Just a few ways you can wear this garment, by changing where it is attached, and using a few straps. It’s like lego clothes, and so much fun to play with!















The idea was that a wearer could easily create their own embellishments for a garment and attach them to it using more push studs, and the shapes and additions are all temporary, which leaves you with a very flexible multiway garment, and almost unlimited options, especially if you make it fully reversible. Honestly the whole collection made my head spin on shoot day, so many options, and a bit of fiddling about configuring and reconfiguring, made it one hella long day!


What do you think? Want to try this outfit, or have some other ideas about how it could go together? Please sign up to take part in upcoming trials of my fashion rental platform, just complete the following survey.

About The Author

Eve Copper