Kids Help The Environment One Footy At A Time
How do you help stop 6 tonnes of textile waste going to landfill in Australia each year? Turn it into footballs!
Children will have the opportunity to do just that at an upcoming Re-Fashioned Upcycling Workshop to be held at the Wattle Festival on Sunday 28th August in Hurstbridge.
They will taking fabric pockets made from pre-loved garments, and stuffing them with fabric waste sourced from manufacturers, local children will be given a hands-on way to learn about the importance, and joys, of giving old textiles a new life.
The footy pockets are pre-made by migrant and refugee women through Second Stitch’s training program, a non-profit organisation that provides economic opportunity through learning textile related skills.
This Re-Fashioned Workshop is just one of many upcycling initiatives run by Local Westfield Hero nominee Katrina Naish, who seeks to inspire the next generation to see textile waste as a resource, and to be more mindful of fashion consumption.
Katrina has worked in the fashion industry for over 20 years, and recently pivoted her business ‘A Fitting Connection’ to focus on sustainability, after becoming increasingly uncomfortable with the fashion industry’s role as a major polluter.
“I never felt comfortable with the amount of waste being created when clothes are manufactured, and when they are discarded through the ever-faster cycle of fashion.” Katrina says. “In Australia, 31 kilograms of textile waste is going to landfill for every person, every year. I find this absolutely shocking and have decided to use my industry knowledge to help change this.”
In the last 12 months, Katrina has launched multiple initiatives that educate and excite local students and the broader community about upcycling textile waste, to save it from landfill. Old garments and fabric waste are collected from within the local community and turned into new product. As well as running one-off workshops, Katrina also works with schools to create products for fundraising purposes, and hosts a seasonal clothing swap market.
“Our workshops and initiatives are designed to create awareness and start conversations,” Katrina says. “I’m particularly focused on getting our youngsters involved. They have a huge passion for environmental causes, and I want to give them the skills they need to bring about change.”
“Even better, the kids get to walk away with something they can enjoy, like a football. These workshops are not just educational, the kids love them because they’re satisfying and fun.”
Children can come along and make an upcycled footy at the Wattle Festival on Sunday 28th August in Hurstbridge. For more information, head to www.wattlefestival.org.au/
Further Program Information:
One-off workshops that allow children to create their own fabric football, accessory or other item from offcuts and pre-loved garments. These workshops have been particularly popular with libraries, who incorporate them into their holiday and after-school programs.
This program, run as a series of school incursions, teaches students how to turn pre-loved clothing & textiles into new products that they then sell to raise money for their school or nominated charity. Along the way they also learn about product development, creation, marketing and tallying up the accounts.
Local school Apollo Parkways Primary School were able to turn 37kg of waste into upcycled dog toys, which they sold to raise funds for Greenpeace Australia Pacific. Read more
Katrina has assisted schools in securing funding to undertake the program, through local council grants (Nillumbik & Banyule).
A purposefully designed Clothing Swap format that includes guests speakers who help educate on building a sustainable wardrobe based on the textiles and dressing for body shape and colour to ensure the clothes in the wardrobe are all adding value and not going unworn. The first clothing swap was held at Edendale Farm, Eltham, in May 2022.
A weekly after-school club, where children learn how to turn unwanted textiles into funky accessories and artworks. Children explore their creativity and learn new skills such as hand-sewing and screen printing.