Better NOW than Never

“There is a next time for NOW because I think never is not all that sustainable”   Karen Ellis / Reuser of Unloved Discarded Excess

For Fashion Revolution Day today the 24 April, 2015 I decided to demonstrate that reasonable quality fast fashion from KMart can be sustainable.

There is so much talk about how fast fashion is not sustainable and RUDE agrees to a point.  The amount of fast fashion garments ending up in landfill is frightening.  And the consequences on people and planet of the fast fashion industry and our insatiable desire for new is alarming.

I do not plan to go into details here about the woes of our hunger to consume and spend.  And many of you will already be following the fast fashion industry’s shameful legacy on other forums.  You can Goggle all about the topic.


This good condition NOW garment by KMart in the above photo, was rescued from the point of landfill and was free.  It’s not just the responsibility of the fashion industry, consumers also have responsibility to care for their garments whether fast fashion or not, right?

When I spotted this gem in the pile of clothes at my local Tip Shop it was clean but looked sad  and devoid of human heart.  Maybe because it had been pieced together in an environment that cared little about uniqueness, and more about rapid turnover.

The hoodie was the same fabric and had a bright white thin cotton tape through it to tie around the neck.  The neck  had a 5 inch slit down the front and the edges of it had been overlocked/serged.  The back of the garment was too short, and riding up my back.

To make this garment sustainable it firstly had to be rescued from the dirty and smelly clothes around it.  But even one step before that it had to have someone like me recognise its potential.  Obviously nobody, before me had realised the value in this garment.  I initially, threw it to one side as I continued to scavenge for more interesting clothes.  But then I remembered that I was keen to demonstrate that unsustainable fast fashion can become sustainable with a bit of tender loving care and a mend and make new ethos.

This garment came home and was placed in a laundry bag, soaked overnight and then washed.  The laundry bag prevents piling and protects the fabric from too much agitation of the fibres.

The NOW tag was removed [I do not like tags on clothes].  In my mind, I created a new top with some uniqueness.  I was then responsible for the entire re-design of the garment.  My hands made the re-make happen.  I personalised this top for me, and it really reflects everything that RUDE [reuse of unloved discarded excess] stands for. 

RUDE will send this blog post to KMart to show the company it can also get more sustainable by encouraging the actions of its customers to upcycle its garments.  In other words people really do have the power to make companies like KMart think differently about their clothes and garment design.

Here is the video showcasing my new not NOW windcheater.

Beat The Man and join the ReFashion of Fast Fashion Revolution!

Upcycled Shirt to Upcycled Dress

  • upcycling_quoteReiner Pilz and upcycling here.

RUDE certainly values the old product.  In this post RUDE Girl [Karen] that’s me, demonstrates that this paisley printed rayon fabric was once a man’s shirt.  It was beautifully made in the Philippines, and was rescued from landfill fate.  I was taken by the colours of purple and turquoise in the print.  And I thought there would be something I could do with the garment.

The first upcycle involved the shirt being decreased in size with different sleeves being added.  The sleeves came from a pair of rescued jeggings, also from landfill.

I wore the shirt top last winter but it was not a favourite piece, as I do not wear shirts.  The collar was annoying and always felt out of place = it just did not sit right, probably because it was a soft rayon without the addition of interfacing.

The first two videos below are of the shirt being upcycled and the third video is where it is styled.

For this winter I decided to hack into this shirt again, and I re-upcycled it into a dress.  I rescued a Target brand top from landfill.  Chopped off the bottom of it, and attached the bottom of the shirt top after chopping off the collar and sleeves.

Photos below:  This year’s re-upcycled creation showing both front and back.  The Kangol pure wool beret was scored from a charity shop many years ago for $1.  The necklace is from bits and pieces found at the local tip shop near landfill.


SAMSUNGBeat The Man and Re-upcycle!

RUDE Behind Closed Doors

“No one but YOU knows how hard you work, how many hours you put in behind the scenes, so rely on YOURSELF for approval, not the outside world.”  Anon 

“You have to work very hard behind the scenes, to make a message clear enough for a lot of people to understand.”  Stefano Gabbana

6863_20121027_124018_400308_297303653707079_1332581554_n[1]Above graphic:  RUDE Girl may know the faults but she is not big on judgement, preferring people to be authentic.  She rarely cries behind closed doors these days, as a simple life affords her peace.  She does fight battles that nobody knows about.  And if people do find out about the battles she fights, she knows by experience that most of the time she will not be supported by them because oftentimes they just want to fit in to the mainstream.  And that’s okay for them but it’s not RUDE Girl’s way.

There seems to be some revealing of late, by bloggers that I follow, about what goes on in the life of a blogger behind closed doors, or in other words behind the scenes.  To RUDE Girl’s thinking this is a good thing.  Therefore  it’s my turn to share what I do, to bring our followers YOU,  a weekly Friday WordPress blog post,  an occasional tweet at Rude Record and a daily Facebook page post at Rude Record.

But before I do that, I want to share that behind closed doors, and away from my WordPress blog, I have my sticky little fingers glued to the keyboard [wearing off the printed letters on the keys – yes true] in some other forums.

I administrate one of the largest Marching Girls’ groups in the world on Facebook.  It is about to reach 1,100 members shortly, and it is a very active and vocal group.  It fits well with the RUDE philosophy of recycle, in that it is reuniting people with a sport, that was lost to many of them after their teenage years departed.  This group has an annual meet up in Melbourne, Australia.  Individual members have been known to also meet up with each other as agreed.

Marching Girl photo for coverPhoto above:  Graphic of three New Zealand marching girls.

I also administrate a small closed group on Facebook of passionate recyclers at Bowerbirds Journal.  This group is capped at 45 members to keep it focussed and intimate.  It’s sort of like attending a face to face group where it is safe to share diverse comment and opinion.  And some of us do meet up face to face.

Bowerbird GraphicPhoto above:  Crocheted bowerbird by group member Maretta is the cover photo of Bowerbirds Journal.

RUDE [Danny and I] are regular contributors to a local forum, that allows us to get up on The Soapbox, and have our say about posted local issues.  It’s a great forum for us to express our concerns about local waste management and recycling issues.  At the moment there is a vast amount of timber and textiles being dumped into our local landfill which is facing an expansion submission. We have been advocating for hardwood timber to be free to the community if it is going to be dumped.

soap boxPhoto above:  Cover page graphic for City of  Melton Soapbox

We  have been instrumental in getting the free textiles happening but as yet timber is not forthcoming.  Until we see it on offer to the community, we can only assume it continues to be dumped into landfill and/or chipped for landscaping.  This is very concerning when beautiful hardwood timbers are a limited natural resource.  Local upcyclers working with wood are prevented from sourcing recycled timbers, which in RUDE’S opinion is a travesty.  

SAMSUNGPhoto above:  RUDE has advocated for free stuff and now it is available at our local Tip Shop.

Working and non-working flat screen TVs were also being dumped on the ground at our local recycling transfer station.  RUDE made a video to expose the apathy.

Thanks to lobbying by RUDE it would appear this is no longer going to happen.  The flyer below has recently been displayed at our local Tip Shop.


In regards to this blog Rude Record, it usually takes a few hours, sometimes more to get it published.  It depends on numerous factors, including what I want to add to the post such as photos and videos.  If I make a video, of course that involves more time on top.  So, it would not be unreasonable to say, a blog post takes a working day to publish.

I love writing and sharing my thoughts.  RUDE as a couple loves sharing its unique lifestyle with interested like-minded souls.  We have found that it is best to write for and share with our followers.  And we too get so much inspiration back from you.

Photo above:  RUDE [Reusers of Unloved Discarded Excess] is couple Karen and Danny. 

Therefore, rather than go out and volunteer for a charity, we give our time to share globally on-line via these forums I have mentioned.  We hope our efforts [and my writings] in some small way inspire collaboration, networking, recycling, frugal living, reuse and repair to name a few things.

We know that writing about living off landfill is a niche topic.  We are unique in our activities of daily living.  This is no doubt why you follow us, and we are dedicated to delivering something very different. 

Our unusual lifestyle aka scavenger style is 24/7 and 365 days of the year for 6 years, has a tendency to get us looks like in the photo below.  But we also get some amazing constructive and positive feedback via our numerous forums.

Scrunch nose

It was always the intention of The Man to keep us in our homes in suburbia, not sharing anything, so that we would all consume more.  It was orchestrated 1950s marketing that worked a treat, and suckered the masses. 

Beat The Man by sharing your stuff, your thoughts and what goes on behind closed doors!

A Dumb Phone Repair

I use technology for communication, but I don’t have a Blackberry or an iPhone. I use an outdated cell phone, but I’m fine with it.  Nicolas Cage

Dear MacGuyver, Enclosed is a rubber band, a paper clip, and a drinking straw. Please save my dog.  Peter Griffin

Last week I read about this young guy who appears to be finally following RUDE girl’s trend.  He has embraced old mobile phone technology.  You can read about his story here

1427680088488Photo above:  Nick Fuentes with his beloved Nokia 208 after breaking so many smartphones. Photo: Steven Siewert

RUDE boy has a smartphone supplied by his workplace, and it is so annoying for me to operate.  I suffer with Essential Tremor so the screen jumps all over the place.  The keypad is very difficult for my fingers to navigate because of tremor.

My hand-me-up old Motorola mobile phone, by comparison to the smartphone, is easier to use because of the touchpad.  And because it has a flip cover I do not have to worry about screen damage.  I also like the functions which appear to be more intuitive to how I enter data and text message.

And with RUDE’S frugal ways who can not like a $9 per month plan with 100 free text messages!  Phone calls out are expensive but I do not make them.  I prank RUDE boy and he rings me.  Of course anyone can call me at their expense.

All that has to happen now,  is that I find someone to give me their old Motorola, as the one I have is being held together by my favourite type of rubber band.  These rubber bands are purple and come wrapped around bunches of broccolini and asparagus.  Everything pretty much is reused in our household!

Anyways, here is proof in this video below that purple rubber bands can practically save anything.

Beat The Man and be your own MacGuyver!