Frockcycle Press Release – 10th April 2012


Frockcycle brings upcycled fashion fun to Forest Hill

London, UK – 10th April 2012

This month sees the launch of Frockcycle, events in which once-loved clothes can be upcycled [upcycle: to create something of greater value than the original] into new, stylish outfits. Participants bring items to re-fashion or donate, and are provided with a roomful of old clothes and scraps for experimentation, expert guidance for ideas and techniques, and sewing equipment with which to make a start. Stalls will sell haberdashery and artist-created accessories, and larger Frockcycling events will have expert demonstrations of textile techniques and mini-workshops. The first session takes place on Wednesday 25th April at upcycling art gallery and restaurant, Canvas and Cream in Forest Hill.

Frockcycle is the creation of Penelope Else in response to the fast fashion we now see on the high street. Penelope says: “It’s about reclaiming our style from McFashion naffness. High street clothes have become all about hanger-appeal and whether it folds neatly on the shop shelves. As soon as you put it on real women it looks terrible; small wonder they hire flat girls for the catwalk. They’ve completely forgotten about the individual, and I want to bring fashion back to us. Frockcycle promotes creativity, experimentation and learning by helping people convert unloved clothes into new and exciting outfits. It’s fun, frugal, and all that design mental-juggling makes you more intelligent!  And of course there is the total thrill that comes from wearing something beautiful you made yourself.”

Penelope herself is an enthusiastic sewist, with City & Guilds training in pattern-cutting/design, a fabric obsession and a background in IT project management.  She was recently seen on Mary Portas Queen of Frocks, looking increasingly frustrated with Mary as the programme developed.  “I was expecting to be part of some significant new thinking on fashion design for the older woman, but it just drifted off-track onto being another shop makeover and I was getting bored. I even lent them my Duct Tape Dummy dressform as a muse, but I think that just terrified poor Mary! But no matter – my annoyance spurred me onto the actions that led to this idea, which is the most fun and inspiration I’ve ever had. Mary, I thank you!”

Frockcycle is, in fact, the latest in a long line of crafts/arts initiatives that are making Forest Hill a cultural hub. This is aided by being on theEast Londonline, which is itself becoming known as the Arts Line for its artistic connections (including the secretive Gingerline pop up restaurant). In Forest Hill there are now Havelock Walk (home of many artists), Canvas and Cream (artspace and restaurant), Stag & Bow (craft classes and haberdashery), Little Green Screen (pop-up documentary cinema) and a new sweetshop & deliSugarMountain. Penelope says “I think this is a sign of people wanting new ideas, new thinking. The best thing that always comes out of a crisis is the intense increase in creative thinking, as people search for ways to overcome obstacles. It’s always the people who look for the diamond in the mess who survive and prosper, so I would challenge anyone who thinks of arts and crafts as being frivolous in a time of recession. Creativity is essential in a time of recession.”

More information about this event can be found on or by calling Penelope on 020 8249 9861. Tickets are £15 and must be booked in advance. The session runs from 6.30pm to 9.30pm (drop-in) at Canvas and Cream,18 London Road,SE23 3HF.

Company information:

Frockcycle, based in Sydenham SE26, is a new organisation founded by Penelope Else as a response to uninspiring high street fashion and from a desire to encourage creative thinking. It will start by holding monthly sessions around southLondon, aiming for larger events at the end of 2012 where many textile craftspeople and sewing experts come together for more diverse fashion-upcycling opportunities.


Related Articles:

Related Links:



Comments on this entry are closed.