Tenant Profile: Learn to Recreate

Posted 7 July 2017

learn to recreate

After staging an exhibition in The Workstation,  we caught up for a chat with Olusola McKenzie, Creative Director of Learn to Re-create to talk about eco-fashion, and creating opportunities for all in the fashion industry.

How did Learn to Re-create begin?

I founded Learn to Re-create out of a desire to provide a bridge for individuals who wanted to work in the Fashion or Textiles Industry but lacked the required skills. Additionally, it was important to offer a support mechanism to Fashion and/or Textiles graduates and professionals to gain relevant business skills to enable them to run successful businesses as this support was not readily available for those with such aspirations.

Furthermore, creating a platform to stop the talent drain we were experiencing in the industry and contributing to the percentage of UK production of own label was always part of the agenda when I decided to start Learn to Re-create.

Today, I am pleased to see how the business has evolved as it continues to improve and we are still true to our core values.

Learn to Re-create is all about Upcycling, Ecological fashion, collective working and empowering people. What are the main challenges that you face as an ethical business and social enterprise?

Research and development resources remain our biggest challenge i.e. the finances to grow, to launch new products and services whilst still staying true to our initial aim.

We have chosen to keep true to our values and our aims and I believe this has paid off although it was a challenge in the early days when there were suggestions to change or give-up. There will always be a period where every business whether it’s a social/ethical or non-ethical business needs to prove itself and we’ve had to go through this too.

Tell us about some of the success stories that Learn to Re-create has been involved with?

The business has won 2 business competitions which gave out grants. We have also been fortunate to receive product sponsorship from Brother UK and Aurifil, Italy.    

What inspired the current (most recent) exhibition?

The most recent exhibition was a showcase of the hard-work of the interns and work placement students. It was put on to give them an opportunity to display their work to a wider audience in a public setting.

We also wanted to inform the public of Learn to Re-create’s products and services.

The display was a combination of 2D and 3D objects which included mixed-media. The exhibition featured a sculptural piece in the form of a garment, printed material, garment patterns, design concepts and items from our current and past collection.

The sculptural piece which was a garment made out of umbrella fabrics, jute, bits of other materials and objects captured our ecological and creative values. Some of the materials used would otherwise be discarded but in our sculptural piece we showed the public the potential of reusing materials. This piece was made by the combined efforts of our intern from South Africa and a Sheffield College work placement student.

The exhibition flyer was designed by our intern from the University of Sheffield.

It was also important to showcase work from previous students i.e. lampshades. The other products are part of our Fashion collection and I believe the garment patterns and drawings speak for themselves.

What are your future plans, and do you have any other exhibitions coming up?

We are working towards expanding our Fashion Development Programme which includes the Fashion Incubator to Europe as we have only provided this programme to participants from outside Europe to date.

We are working on a crowdfunding campaign to raise much needed funds to develop our Fashion collections for the commercial market and there is a Worker’s Craft Cooperative where we intend to give people who are unemployed an opportunity to earn whilst they create craft items.

In the next few months we will start our apprenticeship programme so these projects are keeping us busy as a lot of work is going on behind the scenes as we plan and prepare. This means we do not have much time for another exhibition soon but we will let you know when we plan to hold our next event.

learn to recreate exhibition

Ralph Parmar

Marketing ManagerRead more posts by Ralph Parmar


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