Decluttering ones wardrobe can go one or two ways. For some, throwing out the old to make space for the new is an emotionless operation: by not having garnered any sartorial attachments, the process is simple and easy. On the other hand, for many (myself included), the very process reminds oneself of the reasons why they brought that item in the first place. Clothes jerk back old memories as much as music from the noughties do, and while they may be completely unwearable – maybe they've come apart, or that era of fashion has – disposing of them would be disrespectful to the you of that time.

But what if you could take your old clothes, and have them redesigned so they can breathe a new life: having time travelled from the past to arrive as a reflection of the present? This is exactly what the brand consultant and wellness advocate, Yasmin Sewell has done. Using has-beens from her own wardrobe, Sewell has asked seven students from the University of Westminister – all of which she already mentors – to update the pieces in any way they deemed fit. The result? RECHARGEX7, which is being exhibited and stocked by Selfridges as of today, and all sales of which will go directly to the students involved. 

To find out more about how Sewell and the students recharged the old energy of the pieces into something new, we asked the lady in question.

What drew you to these students in particular? What was it about their ethos and designs that you liked?
"They all had a unique sensibility and a passion for the concept, I also knew each would take the pieces they chose into a completely different direction. I envisioned my wardrobe which is made up of what I love, and I guess my own aesthetic growing into the sum of many. Now it's an entirely altered collection with the vision of seven different students that came from many of the worlds greatest designers. It just multiplied in so many ways."

You and the students were inspired by the use of energy healing techniques and how these can recharge vintage pieces so they can be fed back into fashion. Do you think this is also reflected within the designs of the pieces?
"The energetic part is to me the inspiration of the whole project, but I guess its not something you see. It's hard to see energy: it's a feeling. I wanted to take the feeling of stagnant energy into something more vibrant.

There are some hidden crystals that have been charged in Catherine's garments, you can see those if you look carefully. But really this is all led by feeling."

The challenge you set for this group of students is a revolutionary way of encouraging sustainable practices in the industry, do you think there will be a growth in demand for this type of circular business model within fashion?
"Oh yeah, I mean it's happening all around us. Many people I know are talking about taking what they have and renewing it, and there are some incredible designers like Duran Lantink who do this so brilliantly. I hope to see more retailers and brands take this on with older unused stock, as there are a lot of young creatives out there who could really benefit from this kind of craftsmanship – hand done, individual pieces remade. It just feels so right. It reminds me of designers I was drawn to in the 90's. I guess this concept is a little different though as for me, it was first and foremost about energy. Shifting, changing and renewing the energy that is within us and all around us."

Shop the RECHARGEX7 collection here.

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