Interview: With Brett Mettler Founder of Generation Upcycle
In honour of all the wonderful mother figures in our lives we sat down with Brett Mettler, mother, eco warrior and Founder of Generation Upcycle.
Mettler finds eco conscious ways to achieve unique looks with her daughter and shares her journey on social media to help other parents build their child's artistic confidence as well as combating throw away culture
Brett, What made you move into the upcycling world?
I was raised by artists and environmentalists so sustainability and design are baked into my DNA.
However, in adulthood I got swept away in the creative escapades of fashion and it wasn't until I had my daughter a few years ago that the environmental impact of my industry really hit home. A kind of "whoops I had a kid, but the world is ending" moment. I swore to myself and her that I would only be part of the solution from that point on. I would use my creativity for "good, not evil"😜
What are the best finds for a person looking to create cool wears for their child?
There is an absolute abundance of "ultimate finds" in our world right now. We are at peak clothing due to fast fashion increasing our speed of production. Use what you find in second hand, or better yet what you already own but hate. My personal favourite is finding the ugliest most broken down garment and thinking outside the box on how to spin it into gold. My instagram Generation Upcycle @Genupcycle is full of suggestions on how to approach the unfixable or unlovable.
What is your favourite sewing pattern for upcycling?
Each garment my daughter and I work on is unique so I will draft patterns based on what we think up and what is wrong with the garment. The overall stratagy is to leave as little waste behind while still having fun in the process.
Do you have downloadable patterns that our members could access?
This is something we are developing right now. So watch this space @genupcycle for links! I want to make the creative journey for other parents and children as easy as possible. Despite the uniqueness of each project there will always be overlaps and shortcuts for anyone who wants them.
Natural dyes, tell me more babe?!
Such an exciting way of using up kitchen scraps as well as fabric ones! There are so many ways to explore natural dyes. Collecting and using avocado pits to create bright pink clothes is one of my favourites! I'll be showing a project this spring season on how to use these millenial must-have fruit seeds and breathing new life into greyed out dead clothes.
How do you get your little one excited and involved in the process?
This part has been super easy Tbh. Kids are creative wonders. Somehow we are all born with the fascination to play, explore, push boundaries, make art, dance, sing etc. It's just giving these little geniuses some tools to explore with. On my Instagram @genupcycle I'll be posting children fashion figures for little ones to draw out ideas. Also there are a number of projects where I show how my daughter explored the medium of fabric paint to take a garment she wears to the next level. She often gets me excited about a project just as much as I get her excited. For her to wear her own creation means the world to her. It validates her artistic voice and strengths her sense of self in the world. Plus, I can see the together time delights her and its something fun that is screen free.
What is the missing element for Generation Upcycle?
I adore working on these projects with Quinn. It's made a big difference in our relationship, in her development and in saving at least a few items from the landfill. I believe other parents and kids could find this approach revolutionary as well. I've been designing from haute couture to home with a child and no matter the setting the artistic endeavour and problem solving come naturally. I can see endless potential for the development and education of these ideas. I'd love to meet growth stratagists who are just as excited about upcycling as a fashion disruption revolution waiting to be unleashed
And finally, what are your favourite pieces on The Sample Room?
Quinn, my daughter, and I adore colour! This poptastic beauty, The Jessica Russell Flint Felt Tip Lovers make up bag looks like it would be the perfect accessory when looking for that unusual detail that makes a look sing. I can't help but think of a cheeky bit of upcycling too. Would love to add a ribbon, or chain, that Quinn picked out, just long enough for her to use as a purse on the days I didn't call dibs😜