Mariana’s Eco Fashion Mindset


“Some people save animals. I want to save clothing” 

Mariana Kirova ~ Garment Upcycler & founder of Eco Fashion Sewing


For this Friday’s blog post, RUDE were keen to feature Mariana from Eco Fashion Sewing     Thank you Mariana for accepting our invitation to share your passion for eco-fashion.  It’s over to you.

There is no other couple you can find online that is so authentic, dedicated, open and giving as RUDE guys are!   We all need to be more concerned about the waste we create and to be responsible for the things we acquire.  How to use and care for them, as well as how to repair and continue to reuse stuff (instead of dumping it).

RUDE’S ‘Beat The Man’ approach, and relating to what Karen and Danny are doing, was what encouraged me to follow Rude Record some time ago.  My hubby’s hobby is electronic, electrical and technical stuff repair,  and I’m into clothing and textile reuse.  Therefore us, having very similar interests to these RUDE guys was awesome.

That¹s me, Mariana, with crochet and lace makeover

Mariana with a crochet and lace makeover



I have loved textile scraps from a young age.   After moving to live in Australia with my husband and son in 2010,  I studied Fashion Design.

My first creative alteration as a fashion student (cushion turned into a bag);

My first creative alteration as a fashion student [a cushion into a bag]

My sewing room as fashion student

My sewing room when I was a fashion student

After graduating, I worked for a few years in bridal and general dressmaking, and also alterations. However, my heart was not in this type of work, and  one day I quit doing it.

Today, I rework and upcycle clothes and materials, in my studio, at home in Perth, Western Australia.  I source materials mostly from local charity shops.  Recently,  I found a Good Sammy warehouse, where lots of the unsold clothing goes.  This has become my main reservoir for raw materials.

My last purchase of 8.5kg bag of T-shirts from charity warehouse

My last purchase of 8.5kg bag of recycled T-shirts

I started my Eco Fashion Sewing blog to connect with like-minded people, like RUDE Girl, and share my knowledge, with one thing in mind;  to help others alter and making new from old.  My main goal is to develop a platform with digital products, for others to get into clothes upcycling, with some helpful knowledge and guidance of quality sewing finishes and professional redesign tips.   I recently published my first essential eGuide It covers important basics like designing with colours, and a group of techniques that can be adopted when upcycling.


I love mending and altering, yet usually my mind is also thinking how to enhance the look of a garment.  I will fix with an embellishment to cover a spot, or will enlarge a small size garment in a complimentary creative way, as I demonstrate in my tutorials




All my sewing machines are second hand.  I have a Brother domestic sewing and embroidery combo,  Bernina overlocker and Juki industrial straight sewer. I love my industrial sewing machine.  It just meets my stitching quality freakiness.

My sewing room recently after finishing a project (before vacuuming the floor;)

My sewing room just after finishing a project, and before vacuuming the floor



 I’m fortunate we rent a place with an additional room, big enough to accommodate my passion,  (for now, ha ha!).  Recently, I started selling garments I make on Etsy , but soon I’ll be selling at some local Perth markets as well.


Many creative sewers can rework and give back to the community by selling re-designed garments.  I’m finding this a good sustainable way to keeping the circulation of already produced textiles alive, and it helps to reduce textile waste at the same time.


The online presence of RUDE’S Karen and Danny on Facebook @ruderepair , and their Rude Record blog on WordPress, is giving me hope that together, we can shift the ‘fast over consumption’ mindset from ‘what we have’ to a happier, more natural way of living, focused on ‘who we are’ and ‘what we do’.

Thank you for the opportunity to present my passion and re-creations, RUDE guys!

Mariana, it was a pleasure featuring you and Eco Fashion Sewing this week.  We also want to promote your Facebook page and notice that you have a market coming up on the 11 June, 2016.  RUDE is inspired by your passion for refashion and keeping textiles out of landfill.  And what’s also inspiring to us, is that you are generously sharing your fashion design knowledge and skills with others.  If we strive to have this sharing and caring mindset, we will go a long way to beating The Man.

Beat The Man and eco-fashion your mindset with Mariana!


Worn out belt on a cardigan replaced with a belt closure

A worn out belt on a cardigan is replaced with a belt closure

Venturesome Volunteers

images 8


Be of service. Whether you make yourself available to a friend or co-worker, or you make time every month to do volunteer work, there is nothing that harvests more of a feeling of empowerment than being of service to someone in need.   Gillian Anderson

RUDE volunteers our time on-line and in the community contributing in small ways to making things better.

Last week it was National Volunteer Week in Australia.  We both had a bit of a think about volunteering and what it means to us.  And we engaged in some discussions with others online.

Rude Record NVW 2016

We knew years ago that if we were going to volunteer it had to be different.  We did not want to work for a boss cocky [paid or unpaid] of the volunteer brigade.  We did not want to be scheduled and expected to work a roster.  We did not want to be volunteering creative ideas to an organisation, for some paid manager to claim as his/her own.

How were RUDE ever going to volunteer if we did not go along with the usual volunteer model.  We tried to ‘fit-in’ but it did not work.  Beat The Man types do not fit comfortably into a working for The Man model of volunteering.

As with all things RUDE undertakes, volunteering had to be rude around the edges.  We just decided to do it our way.  We are using the KISS [keep it simple silly] Principle.  We are happy to volunteer our time repairing things for targeted others.  All it takes is an email or telephone call by us or to us.  No meetings to discuss all the perceived issues before doing something.  Basically it’s about goodwill, reaching out and doing.



Our volunteering is usually self initiated and self directed.  And our area of interest is repair, in an effort to keep well made and useful things out of landfill.  We also have the freedom to say no, if a request to volunteer does not suit us. 

We consider ourselves successful in many ways and do not expect anything in return.  There is little what’s in it for us, other than to share the joy of repair with others.  This gives us enormous satisfaction.  And we enjoy engaging with people minus any organisational agenda.

This week we went to Dimboola in Victoria where RUDE Boy volunteered his time to get a vintage printing machine operating.

This Sunday we are volunteering our time to travel to Toongabie in Victoria.  RUDE Boy will be assessing a printing machine that is being sold on the condition that it is repairable.

RUDE Boy went to visit a friend this week and his flat screen TV was on the floor and not working properly.  Danny assessed it all day yesterday, determining that it was overheating.  A simple fix requires him to drill holes in the back cover for air to pass through.

RUDE Girl volunteers her time to write about and video our venturesome volunteering stories.  I am keen to network with, and promote others who care enough to make things better.

In the photo above [and in this little 40 second video] RUDE Girl wears scavenger style.  I like to promote the reuse and repair of textiles on our travels.  My cloche hat is made from a fulled woollen cardigan.  All that I am wearing has been rescued from the textile bin at the point of landfill.  The cardigan has been patched and mended.


Beat The Man and consider venturesome volunteering!

Slow Sewing



RUDE Girl slow stitching in her studio


RUDE lives a slow lifestyle.  We are engaged in slow cooking at home.  We wear slow fashion.  We are slow and steady, not fast and busy.  We are both homebodies.  We hibernate at home during winter.  Home is where our hearts are.

RUDE Girl is adding slow sewing to the Slow Movement (culture) wikipedia list.  I remember when I bought my first sewing machine in the 1980s.  It was a considered purchase, but when I started to sew, I did not take the time to get to know the machine.  It was a basic model, but it did have some functions, that quite frankly I was too busy to bother learning about.

I could not find a quote for slow sewing, so I created my own as follows:

‘Slow sewing on my sewing machine makes me appreciate feet – the zipper foot, the darning foot and the zig zag foot’ 

When I purchased my first sewing machine, a no frills Janome, my aim was to save money, and learn how to sew evening frocks.  These dresses were made to wear to weddings and other celebrations.  I also made skirts, shirts and jackets to wear to work.  I was not mindful, I just wanted to cut out the fabric using a pattern, and make up an outfit, pronto!

For RUDE, 2016 is a year we are keen to focus on repair, fixing and mending.  After  decades of reuse, we have enough stuff.  However, our secondhand things have to be maintained and sometimes repaired.  Pre-loved clothing rescued from landfill, will almost always require mending and reinventing.

RUDE Girl has embraced slow stitching with my addiction to boro most evident.  And it was time to slow down, and finally get to know my sewing machines.  On my bucket list [in the ‘little things to achieve’ section] was to machine darn and sew on a button using a sewing machine [photos below].  Hence, this post’s title Slow Sewing.  There was no garment to make or revamp, I just slowed down and gave myself the time to play and learn these two skills.

Here is the video of the pink towel being machine darned.

Hibernating in winter, in the RUDE home is always filled with creative wonder.  It’s like in childhood, when you go exploring and learning new things.  RUDE is always inspired to make and learn with what we have on-hand, right here at home.

Beat The Man and join the slow movement!

Scavenger Shopping


RUDE knows that you have to break the rules if you want to stick it to The Man


From the movie School of Rock [on sticking it to “The Man”]

Yes! But, you can’t just say it, man. You’ve gotta feel it in your blood and guts! If you wanna rock, you gotta break the rules. You gotta get mad at the man!



RUDE Boy and RUDE Girl had light bulb moments years ago to play the game Beat The Man

RUDE [Reusers of Unloved Discarded Excess] have been living off the junk of others from TIP SHOPS [shops in sheds at landfills or adjacent to landfills] for over 6 years.  It has been our mission to showcase and share, to any person who may be interested, what can be reused and repaired to save the planet, hip pocket and encourage creativity and resilience.

We share our frugal lifestyle most days on Facebook at Rude Record and weekly here on our WordPress blog.

We commenced ‘shopping’ at TIP SHOPS as soon as OP SHOPS [charity and thrift stores] started to go the way of small retail businesses on the high street.  We found that the days of rummaging around in a dusty and musty OP SHOPS was all but over.

We are now sadly finding, that TIP SHOPS are going the way of OP SHOPS, and are cleaning, organising and sorting the stuff that is dropped off.  We are glad we found TIP SHOPS six years ago, before the rush by others, including traders, to ‘discover’ them all over again, albeit in a made-over OP SHOP sort of way.

People often ask us about our scavenger ways, and are curious to know why we live the way we do.  Our lifestyle is definitely not mainstream, and we make some confronting, oftentimes unspoken statements by our actions [photo below taken at a wedding].  We choose to live this scavenger lifestyle but it is not out of financial necessity.  So, why do we choose to reuse and repair stuff, when we can afford to go to the mall and buy brand new items?


Michelle's wedding 13 Dec 2014

TOTALLY TIP TOP in swanky Sorento, Victoria


Basically, it boils down to strong competitive drives to Beat The Man, and our rebellious streaks to break the rules, associated with buying stuff and services.  Many have asked what does that all mean.  For us, The Man is symbolic of those in power, with a mission to make the masses consume, so that The Man gets richer at the expense of the majority.


The Man never frightened RUDE Girl.  In fact she was hell bent on ignoring his inappropriate advice

For RUDE, the way we stick it to The Man, is not to consume by shopping at the mall or purchasing services that we feel are a waste of our time and money.  It’s an easy and simple way to be an anti-consumer activist, and should not involve getting arrested! 


RUDE does not go to the mall even for the sales!

However, we agree that shopping for stuff can be fun.  It’s great to get something new for the house or to wear.  We ‘shop’ and we ‘buy’ for these reasons, like most people do.  It’s just that while the masses mall it, we trek to the TIP SHOPS and buy ‘new to us’ stuff, not brand new stuff.  Although, saying that we have oftentimes found brand new things at these TIP SHOPS, usually after Christmas. 

Here’s a good article if you want to know more about TIP SHOPS.  It inspired RUDE’S blog post today.


Go Beat The Man, but to give it a decent try, you have to feel it in your blood and guts!  And you will definitely feel freedom if you break free of The Man’s shopping rules.  Go visit a TIP SHOP for fun!