Helen Mends has a variety of ever changing products. You may notice that some of our products are more expensive than the same type of items from major retailers. You may also notice that we have very limited stock of specific colours and patterns. That's because all our products are sewn by Helen and a few other people, all using materials that are either directly upcycled or deadstock. What does that mean?
Upcycling refers to materials that were already made into something when I got them. This includes bedsheets, upholstery samples, clothing, towels, random scraps, and other household linens. I choose to upcycle only items that are no longer usable as they are. If people give me clothing in good condition, I pass it on to a local charity. If it has stains or other damage, I cut it up and make it into something new. With this kind of every-scrap-is-used sewing, almost nothing goes to landfill (or textile recycling, which can be hard to access).
Choosing Our Products
The textile industry is the second most environmentally damaging industry in the world. By mending your clothes you are reducing how much you send to landfill. The average Canadian makes 81lbs of textile waste a year (Source.) Reducing new fabrics and your dependence on disposable items by using Helen Mends upcycled alternatives doubly reduces your impact on the environment by cutting out plastics and new fibre materials.
Deadstock textiles are materials that were made for fashion or upholstery use but never sewn into anything. For example, my first acquisition of deadstock material happened when an upholstery company in Toronto closed their physical location and moved online. Anything they couldn't sell, or that was seriously outdated they gave to me. This included some seriously gorgeous material that I am still going through today. Some of it produced as long ago as the 1980s.