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Hywell combines a life-long passion for fashion with her interest in sustainable living to create upcycled children’s garments designed for play and individual style.

21 September 2018

Designer Spotlight: Hywellagain

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Self-confessed fashion fiend with sustainable ideals, Hywell: “I hope that we are able to build a community where we not only recycle quality, vintage material, but we repurpose and make them a version of new!”

My name is Hywell Sebastian and I am a self-confessed, life-long fashion fiend. I have always loved pairing quirky pieces with classic and contemporary styles. I love investing in statement pieces and admittedly, have been guilty of buying into fast fashion.

Hywell combines a life-long passion for fashion with her interest in sustainable living to create upcycled children’s garments designed for play and individual style

In my corporate life, my area of expertise is HR and hospitality and I rather enjoyed working and helping people. Three years ago, I became a mum to a wonderful little egg and with the encouragement and support of my husband, I began to explore creative interests I’ve always had, but never had time to focus on.

A clothing rack of colourful Hywellagain garments: “I’ve slowly made friends with my sewing machine with lots of practise”

It was about 12 months ago that I really started sewing. Always a self-learner, I’ve been fortunate to have my mother in law teach me the basics and I’ve slowly made friends with my sewing machine with lots of practice.

A salvaged shirt in the process of being recreated at Hywell’s workstation, looking out onto her garden through a fog-covered window”

In changing what I do for a living, sharpening my attitude to waste, reinventing my purpose in creating, and transforming pre-loved clothes to give them a chance to be loved and reused again, hywellagain was born.

Three collared shirts repurposed into children’s dresses, againsta a backdrop of vintage carpet”

In the time I’ve had my daughter I’ve become more conscious of the ease and availability of easily replaced, poor quality clothing for kids; most lacking personality and individuality. I mean, every kid is one of a kind, why shouldn’t their clothes be?

A sleeveless collared romper in a bold pink, blue and aqua checked print: “Every kids is one of a kind, why shouldn’t their clothes be?”

Over the past couple of years, I’ve developed a taste for hand-me-downs, pre-loved gems, op shopping (so much history and love) and sustainable sources.

These days I am busy combining my love of sustainable living and my creative pursuits.

The transition of a pink men’s business shirt into a fun and functional dress. Left: A little girl wearing the oversized original shirt. Middle: The shirt repurposed as a feminine pink collared dress. Right: The same little girl wearing the better-fitting new garment.

It also helps that I have always been hesitant in throwing away quality things. My grandmother taught me how to thrift and never waste. “Sayang” she would say in Tagalog (Filipino), meaning “it’s a waste”, and to be honest, I hear this throughout my process so I’m always on the lookout for how I can reduce waste.

A bright blue and red checkered business shirt cut up on a workbench, in the process of transformation: “My Grandmother taught me how to thrift and never waste. “Sayang” she would say in Tagalog (Filipino)”

I thoroughly enjoy designing and repurposing found and made vintage fabrics into crisp, charming, durable clothes made for play, with sustainability at the heart of all my creations.

A bright blue and red check print collared girl’s dress on a hanger against a white wall.

I see my craft as taking part in the concept of artists that I admire like Duchamp and Rosalie Gascoigne, who took found objects to modify and transform them into artworks.

It sounds like a stretch, but it makes me feel good to think that in my small way, I do something very similar with hywellagain.

Another transformation process. Left: A blue and white collared men’s business shirt cut up on the workbench. Middle: Cut pieces of the original shirt with new collar pieces in a floral fabric. Right: A young girl modelling the finishes dress with floral peter pan collar, against a white brick wall.

I’ve been on Madeit since March 2018. I love that I am part of a community that supports local, small businesses who create! I still consider myself a hobbyist, as I am honing my point of view and practicing.

Hywell in her workspace, a range of her creations in the background: “I love that what I do is completely individual, handmade, and the epitome of limited edition.

In recent months, I’ve concentrated on custom orders for ladies’ wear, obviously dependant on the availability of the fabric and materials, and have been completely overwhelmed by the warm receipt, appreciation and gratitude people get from my one-of-a-kind pieces. I love that what I do is completely individual, handmade, and the epitome of limited edition.

Hywell’s inspiration; a cabinet full of business shirts, ripe for repurposing: “I’m continually amazed by the quality and durability of men’s business shirts”

I’m continually amazed by the quality and durability of men’s business shirts - in my mind the perfect material for clothes meant to be well loved staples in someone’s wardrobe!

Two of Hywell’s creations wrapped up in brown paper packages, tied with string and a tiny strip of shirt fabric, and finished with a hand-written thankyou note.”

I get all my material at my local op shop, with quality, valuable items destined to go to recycling plants or landfill; items that can’t be sold due to minor faults, but are still in great condition.

I love the idea that I’m able to rescue and save something, giving it a chance to shine again!

A blue short-sleeved collared romper with a very fine polkadot pattern, hanging against a plain white wall.

My dream is that as much as it is an option to purchase clothes from a regular department store, or buy from op shops, there’s an in between - that repurposed clothing is another option.

Rather than turning to brand new materials and utilising new resources, I hope that we are able to build a community where we not only recycle quality, vintage material, but we repurpose and make them a version of new!



Visit Hywellagain to find more quality shirts that have found new life as unique children’s fashion, loaded with personality: Hywellagain

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