Who are you wearing?

Fashion is fun! It’s a form of expression and creativity. It can be wild or subdued, tailored or fussy but whatever it is, it is everywhere in everything we wear. Even the most fashion resistant of us are inadvertently participating in fashion by virtue of the clothes that are available and the choices we make. Whether we like it or not, fashion has an impact on our everyday lives and sometimes, it is in the most surprising ways.

Depending on the clothing we choose to wear, we have a tendency to adjust our behaviour to suit our “costume.” We can even take on a persona or adopt a stance. A tailored suit can encourage us to sit up straight, and a gypsy skirt has echoes of dancing in the sand. 

And all of this is never truer, than when it comes to fancy dress.

Halloween may have its traditions in the macabre and the creepy, but over the years, it has evolved into a perfect excuse to free that inner rock star. At least once in our lives we all want to be Beyonce or Han Solo or even King Tut, and Halloween is just the ticket. Once that costume is donned, we become that person. At least for one night anyway. 

So, where to start!

Image: Shutterstock; Pexels.


When walking the aisles of a shopping mall or costume shop, there are often rails and rails of pre-packed costumes. The full regalia of a well-known character is all there, you don’t even need to come up with an idea anymore. They are convenient and cheap and can be very handy for a last-minute fancy-dress party. But they are also the epitome of fast fashion. These highly flammable single-use costumes are made of synthetic materials full of landfill plastic with catastrophic environmental repercussions. They are mass produced with little care shown for their longevity. They are flimsy and disposable. 

So, how do we maintain the wild abandon of Halloween without worrying about the horrors of climate change. 

Repurposing old clothes, shopping in thrift stores and upcycling is not necessarily the sole reserve of the green army and climate change warriors, anyone can do it and, it’s fun! 

Halloween comes at the same time every year so depending on how large you want to go, there is always time to prepare. However, if like most of us, you are more of a last-minute panic buyer, there is still no need to default to the disposable packet costume.

Just look around you, around your house, your neighborhood, under your bed. There is always something that can be repurposed. Thrift stores are brilliant for low cost once-loved clothes. Grab an old wedding dress or a tacky prom dress, shred it a little, add some fake blood and voila! You are a zombie bride, the bride of Frankenstein or ghost bride

Perhaps you want to create your own catwalk. 

All you need is black bags or paper.  

Image: AF archive / Alamy.


Fancy yourself as David Bowie / James Bond / Reservoir Dogs? Most charity shops will have cheap suits that you can pinch or pin to fit. 

There are also endless costumes for kids. You don’t need to be a seamstress or a designer, you just need a little imagination.

Image: A Beautiful Mess, Country Living.


A ball of wool and an old gingham dress / shirt / tablecloth.

This only needs some helium balloons, a box, and some paint. An old pair of braces attaches the box to the child. 

Being conscious of fast fashion and synthetic materials does not mean that the fun needs to be robbed from getting dressed up. In fact, sourcing and creating a costume can be as much fun as embodying the character you dress as. A browse in a charity shop may spark a new idea or perhaps some old junk in your house will inspire you to put things together in a different way.

A little creativity is always a nurturing experience and if it means you can trick or treat with a clear conscience, isn’t that what its all about?



Read more about fashion design. 

If you’re looking to pursue a career in fashion design or start your own business, we have the right course to help you turn your passion into a profession. 


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Written by: Fiona Byrne

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