Alterate Vintage

Project title: Alterate Vintage

 Participatory Budgeting funding request: $6850

 Organization/Individual: Sarah Graham and Chloe Dufort

 Location: Various community centres in Victoria

What is your project?

 Alterate Vintage will be an opportunity for youth to create positive change in themselves and the world while upcycling and altering unwanted clothes. The project will offer youth over the age of 13 a series of workshops to gain life skills and create alternatives to environmentally damaging fast fashion.

Alterate Vintage facilitators will gather unwanted, used clothing through donation drives and youth participants will be supported, if they desire, to organize drives in their own communities. Youth will learn from local mentors to re-purpose clothes by mending, embroidering, dyeing, knitting, crocheting and sewing. In addition to altering clothes, participants will learn how to re-purpose used fabric to make items like scrunchies or tote bags.

Although there are some opportunities in town to learn skills like this, they are expensive and accessing equipment, like sewing machines, is a barrier to many. We will bring in local community creators and makers to share their unique skills as well as to offer mentorship to youth participants. This free learning opportunity will be open to youth of any background and experience level to grow skills and build connections with like-minded peers and adult mentors.

How does your project benefit the lives of youth in Victoria?

 To build on recent youth activism about climate change, this project will be a tangible opportunity to create sustainable and environmentally friendly fashion alternatives. By building skills and confidence, Alterate Vintage will enable youth to be change-makers in their communities and to share their knowledge with peers.

In an age of increasing specialization, when most people take their clothes to a tailor, alteration is a unique skill that is fading from popular knowledge. We believe in the importance of equipping youth with the necessary skill sets to become self-sufficient rather than relying on paid services.

Youth already have social media skills and after these workshops, they will also have the ability to pursue the creation of small businesses on platforms like Etsy or Instagram to sell their creations. Mentors will also serve as role models and provide inspiration for potential career paths.

Research has shown the benefits of arts-based activities in reducing anxiety and depression while increasing mindfulness. Alterate Vintage will create a safe space where youth can use their hands and create items that they are excited to wear, will have positive effects on their well-being.

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