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Upcycling king settles in

Masterton fashion designer Paul Edgar Bird. PHOTO/EMILY NORMAN



Masterton designer Paul Edgar Bird has always had a passion for giving old garments a new lease on life.

And now, having secured a prime location store in Masterton, everything he needs to share his vision with Wairarapa is at his fingertips.

Edgar & Bird, which opened on Tuesday is a pop-up shop on the corner of Queen St and Lincoln Rd in the old Legal Theft store, which closed in 2015 and has been vacant ever since.

He was able to secure the shop space thanks to Our Future Masterton, and the Letting Space’s Urban Dream Brokerage service, which is running in Masterton this year to allow creative thinkers with dynamic ideas to test the ideas out in vacant commercial and public spaces.

As the overall winner of the 2017 Oversew Fashion Awards, and with previous awards under his belt, Bird has proved his talent in the upcycling industry.

“The main thing that has inspired me to do this is seeing the effects that fast fashion has on our environment,” he said.

“There are so many good fabrics out there that can totally be reused for awesome pieces.

“I just want things to have a second chance.”

Bird’s creative upcycling space would be in the business of re-engineering, altering, and mending garments and textiles, to “breathe new life into landfill destined pieces”.

The overarching aim is to get other like-minded people involved in the making and innovating process.

“I want to create a rapport with the community and help grow awareness of the ongoing effects that the fast fashion industry has on our environment,” Bird said.

“It’s quite scary how our throwaway culture is being embedded into our every-day momentum.

“Not just the fashion side of things, but our relationships with people.

“Our throwaway culture is getting embedded in that.

He said he wanted to bring personal connections back to people.

“This project is not just about fashion, it’s about connecting people, and getting people talking face to face again and getting excited and inspired by working together — feeding off each other’s positivity.”

Bird will be occupying the central Masterton store until Christmas, but said if the community gelled with the idea, he hoped it would be much longer than that.

“I’m totally starting from scratch so I am definitely looking for support from the community and hope to really get them involved in some way.

“I believe people are becoming more aware of the fact it’s not just an out of sight out of mind situation anymore and if there is something we can do to re-use and give some items a second life, its one less thing going to landfill or a third world country that is becoming overwhelmed with our waste problem being sent to them.

“There are so many quality garments and textiles to be used, if it has already stood the test of time there is no reason it can’t keep on going for a few more years.

“We just sometimes need to modernise pieces and bring them back to life.”

Bird said he would love to see other projects take flight out of the store like Boomerang Bags, if there were enough people and resources available to make it happen.

“I would really appreciate people willing to donate anything from clothing or textiles worth up-cycling, coat hangers, mannequins, garment racks, anything that could help the space out and just getting people a part of it and knowing what it is all about.

“Let’s get this network going, build this from the ground up and show what the Wairarapa is capable of when we work together.”

Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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