Cyprus Mail

Turning something old into something new

Alix Norman

Recycled is so 2010. These days it’s all about upcycling, a term that’s crept into the collective consciousness from sites such as Pinterest, CraftGawker and Etsy. In fact, even the print media is getting in on the act – open any interiors magazine and there’s bound to be a section on upcycling your kitchen chairs, turning your shoeboxes into crafty storage containers and transforming a man’s shirt into a child’s dress. And this, for the uninitiated, is what upcycling is all about: taking something old and turning it into something new and very much improved.

It’s a trend which has taken America and Britain by storm, and while the upcycling movement has been a little slower in reaching this end of Europe, the idea is beginning to catch on: Cyprus is about to experience its first Upcycled Charity Fashion Show.

“It’s all about giving people new ideas,” says Constantia Chrysostomou, who first had the idea of a fashion show with a twist. “Firstly, we want to do something for charity, help the people who really need it,” she smiles. “And we also need to teach people to reuse, upcycle and enjoy.” As well as running Constantia’s Beauty Spa in Aglangia, she’s an avid philanthropist, and has been making a difference to the lives of many through her work with the Forum of Intensive Care in Nicosia GeneralHospital.

“I’ve done voluntary work for the hospital for four years now,” she says, “helping with the organisation of events and rallying support. But I’ve always felt there was something more I could give. So I started asking my friends and acquaintances for something fresh.” Eventually, Constantia hit on the idea of a fashion show with a difference, showcasing upcycled clothing and promoting the idea of sustainable living in a time of financial crisis. And through her network of contacts she met Stavroulla Demetriou, one of the designers who will be exhibiting at the upcoming event.

An interior designer for 15 years, Stavroulla has recently moved into the arts and crafts arena selling her unique clothing brand ‘Authentic by Stavroulla Demetriou’ at fairs around the island. “Here in Cyprus we have a very copy paste society,” she explains. “We tend to emulate what others wear, say and do. And I do feel we need to work with people to change our cultural ideas just a bit; it’s quite challenging.”

Nevertheless, it’s a challenge the two have been willing to accept, and together with Anna Solominidou – who creates upcycled accessories – and ElinaConstantinou – who upcycles clothing through the medium of silkscreen printing – the show looks set to bring an exciting new vibe to the local fashion scene. “It’s been four months of very hard work,” says Constantia. “Organising not just the clothes, which were locally sourced from clothing recycling centres, but also the lighting, sound, music, models and venue.

“We were very lucky to secure the Melina Mercouri Hall as the venue for the event, and we owe the Mayor of Nicosia a huge vote of thanks for his help,” she continues. “So many people have offered their services, from well-known local actresses – four of whom will take to the catwalk along with the models – such as Christiana Artemiou who will be compering the show.”

As the two explain the outline of the evening’s proceedings, it becomes clear that the audience are in for a treat; this is no ordinary two-dimensional display, but rather an explosive extravaganza of colour, sound and sartorial elegance. In fact, as Stavroulla explains, the opening sequence which sets the theme of the show, it’s evident that this is something entirely new: “The theme is ‘I have nothing else to wear’,” she clarifies, “and the show will open with the age-old struggle of woman decrying the lack of a decent ensemble in her wardrobe.”

As the evening segues from acting into dancing – with a team from the JJ Dance and Fitness Studio – the actual catwalk presentation of upcycled clothing will be followed by a cocktail party during which a number of pop up shops will open in the backstage area. “All the items are upcycled,” says Stavroulla. “The clothes can be bought, the shops will sell everything from home accessories to stationery and there will be a real sense of fun. In a way, we hope to bond with each other as we did in the past, and build a positive energy about the future.” Heartfelt philanthropy, uniquely upcycled fashion and cost effectiveness… it’s a winner.


The 1stUpcycled Charity Fashion Show

At the Melina Mercouri Hall on Wednesday November 13 at 7pm. Tickets cost €10 and can be purchased by calling 99 405017 or 99 960172

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