Macquarie Fields resident gives new life to old jeans

But make it fashion: Maria Salvadori is passionate about making new clothes from old jeans. Picture: TAFE NSW
But make it fashion: Maria Salvadori is passionate about making new clothes from old jeans. Picture: TAFE NSW

Nearly everyone has a pair of old jeans that they don't wear anymore.

They're either too big or too small, too daggy or maybe they've got a hole or two.

But no matter the condition, by the time Maria Salvadori is done with them those jeans will be a work of art.

The Macquarie Fields resident spends every weekend repurposing jeans into fashionable new items of clothing.

She will present a special collection of her 'upcycled' creations as part of her Certificate III in Applied Fashion Design and Technology at Macquarie Fields TAFE.

"You wouldn't expect that from a 50-year-old would you," she joked.

"Upcycling is really growing in the fashion industry at the moment.

"Like most things in the fashion cycle, what's old is new again.

"I've had such great teachers and support from TAFE that have allowed me to do things like this.

"Having an opportunity to get practical skills and experience and to make a change and help the environment while studying at TAFE NSW has been really rewarding for me."

Ms Salvadori first began her TAFE journey back in 1993, majoring in children's clothing.

She has returned to TAFE several times throughout the years to grow her skills even more, adding ladieswear and manchester to her repertoire. She'll also study menswear next year.

Ms Salvadori said she was very "old-school" in her process - "I still love to draw and put pencil to paper with my designs" - but loved trying new things like upcycling.

"Denim that's thrown away doesn't break down in landfill," she said.

"It doesn't hurt the soil, but it doesn't help anything grow either.

"For as little as $2.50 I have transformed one pair of jeans into three pieces of clothing that would otherwise have gone to landfill."

Ms Salvador said she was currently working on a wedding dress made of old white denim shorts.

"I bought two pairs of shorts from Vinnies at Macquarie Fields and I decided to try making a wedding dress," she said.

"I've made wedding dresses before but never our of denim. I know it can be done and I'm excited to give it a go."

Ms Salvadori has so far just kept her designs for her family, friends and peers at TAFE, but she hopes to turn her passion into a business next year.

"All my daughters' friends keep asking me when I'm going to make the next one," she said.

"That's definitely something I'm looking into for next year.

"I'll try and do a computer course at TAFE over the Christmas break to give me some more skills before I get into that."

Ms Salvadori hopes her work repurposing old clothing will inspire others to try their hand at sustainable fashion design.

She encouraged anyone looking to learn new skills to give TAFE a go.

Ms Salvadori's head teacher, Fiona Lloyd, said the course was a great was to exercise creativity.

"The Certificate III in Applied Fashion Design and Technology offers students an introduction to the exciting world of fashion which will challenge them to reconsider the way they think about the design process," she said.

"Students learn hands-on skills like how to design, construct a garment, patternmaking, fabric identification as well as an introduction to computer-aided design."