A fashion designer has started a slow fashion revolution in Saltaire – turning old bed sheets and vintage tablecloths into quirky, colorful outfits.
Baildon-born Natalie Bell, 27, is behind Silly Wednesday – a planet-friendly fashion brand focused on fun and frivolity.
From patchwork tops to large frilly collars, each unique piece is made with upcycled second-hand cotton, deadstock fabrics and interesting materials in charity shops.
She even ventures out to independent shops like Shipley’s Scraptastic and Farsley’s Scrap – saving waste materials from landfill and adding one of a kind details to each piece.
The designer, who trained alongside a former Savile Row tailor at Rochester University for the Creative Arts, perfected her craft working at a luxury women’s fashion house in London for several years.
“After a while I realized it wasn’t really what I wanted to focus on,” Natalie told the T&A.
“I wanted to get back to really crafting the garments.
“I quit my job just before the lockdown, not realizing that the lockdown was going to happen.”
The fashion designer began selling small scale starter kits, designed for beginners to start making their own clothes at home, and worked part-time as a nanny for a family in London.
Silly Wednesday – a term coined for her and her boyfriend’s Wednesday drinking sessions at home – was born out of a desire to make the fashion industry more affordable, sustainable and size-inclusive.
Natalie returned home and set up her home and fashion studio in Saltaire, launching her first collection last Autumn.
The latest limited edition, made to order collection is called Fetching Farm; imaginatively brought to life with a vintage spring bulb patterned bed sheet, retro farm checked print, Oeko-tex certified gingham and more.
The former Guiseley School pupil said: “I don’t want people to have to spend an absolute fortune to be able to afford nice and sustainable clothing.
“I think it’s the way things need to go. The impact on the environment is horrible.
“There needs to be something happening in the next few years where people realize how many workers are being exploited. You’re exploiting a person when you’re purchasing these [fast fashion] garments. I don’t blame anyone for buying them but it’s down to the companies to change.
“I saw some video footage of my mum as a child and it was over the course of three years and she was in the same swimming costume in her garden over three years. It was her cousin’s before it was her’s. We’re just buying too much. ”
Describing the Silly Wednesday brand, Natalie said: “It’s got fun, it’s got frivolity. It’s a case of practical, comfortable clothing that is just fun. I’ve always wanted it to be playful, exciting and unusual. ”