Through an unassuming door on an unassuming street in central Christchurch, a Guerrilla movement is underway. A zero waste movement to revolutionise how people approach streetwear.
Briar Cook founded Rethreads in 2007 to reconstruct second-hand clothing into green, modern, funky and fashionable streetwear. Raw materials are sourced locally at garage sales, second-hand shops or given to Briar. She then reimagines them into arm warmers, jerseys, hoods, skirts, dresses or accessories. The possibilities are limitless. Briar has two rules only: the finished garment can’t look recycled. And nothing is to be wasted. Every by-product and fabric scrap is utilised, or passed on to someone who can use them.
When I visited Briar on a weekday afternoon, I entered through the front door of her quirky house and passed cool, darkened rooms full of vintage fabrics or projects-in-progress. Briar’s studio is hidden away behind a hung plaid blanket. The small studio is warm and stocked with a sewing machine and other apparatus of a small sewing business.
Briar is outgoing and informs me that she used to teach creativity art and design to families. She was also once a puppeteer. She moved to New Zealand from Canada when she was 21 and took part in a government initiative in the 1980s to be trained in craft and design in Invercargill.
Briar opened her central Christchurch studio a year ago. Even though she doesn’t advertise the address of her workshop, people still manage to find her. They knock on her door and buy her garments direct. It’s a challenge to keep up with stock, she says. That’s a good problem to have.