Rummage Style: Interview

Posted by Penny on February 06, 2012
Australian Design, Fashion, Interview, Recycling

Rummage Style Dresses: SS 11/12

I am definitely a fan of reusing fabric (especially when it’s as pretty as these fabrics are!) I’m also a fan of gorgeous Summer dresses. And, just looking at these photos, it’s easy to see why I’m a fan of Rummage Style. Created by Theresa Evans in 2007, Rummage Style has been clothing stylish ladies and bubs in beautiful clothes, all made in Melbourne ‘from vintage, recycled, donated, salvaged and rescued materials‘.

Personally I think part of the charm and draw of using salvaged or vintage fabrics is that, unless you uncover the holy grail of a warehouse full of fabric, you’re only ever going to have enough of each fabric to make a few garments. This makes Rummage dresses even more special – they’re truly unique.

Theresa, in amongst running her wonderful business and looking after her kids, was kind enough to answer my questions for Oh My Green.


I love the vintage & reclaimed fabrics you use (especially the adorably sweet baby collection) – how do you find your materials?

Fabric hunting is the favourite part of my job!  I guess that it has become kind of like an addiction and the thrill of finding an extra special piece is what keeps me interested and always with a keen eye out!  There are so many places where I find my fabrics but probably the most fruitful is from opp shops.  There are so many great opp shops around and they often have a section completely dedicated to material.  I also always check out the manchester because as far as I am concerned fabric is fabric regardless of what its previous use….bed sheet, tablecloth, curtains, all can be turned into fabulous dresses!  I also am at Camberwell Market every Sunday morning and get there at the wee hours of the morning to hunt through the stalls in search of fabric.  Sometimes I find nothing at all and other times I come home with a massive haul.  It all depends on the luck of the day.  I also have various friends who are always keeping an eye out for me and an ear out!  Recently a friend’s mother of mine who is in a sewing group was asked by another lady if I would be interested in her friend’s stash of fabric that had been in the garage for decades.  It eventually made its way to me and the four garbage bags I was given were full of untouched fabric from the seventies….each piece was amazing and I couldn’t wait to get sewing that day.  Often people don’t place any value on these old pieces of fabric but to me they are so special and I never let any of it go to waste.

Rummage Style Baby Collection

Why do you prefer to use reclaimed and vintage fabrics than new?

There are so many reasons why I prefer to use reclaimed materials rather than new.  Most importantly is the environmental aspect.  I love the fact that I can make a living out of people’s rubbish essentially.  The fashion industry can be pretty dirty and I couldn’t justify it to myself if I was to play a part in that.  There is just so much fabric out there that it’s just not necessary for a dirty factory to be producing new fabric for me to run my business.  I love recycling and try to do it in all areas of my life and to be able to run my entire business through selling a recycled product is the ultimate for me.  So, on my side of the business I am able to be completely environmentally guilt free, but for the person on the other end buying the product, I am offering an item that really is sustainable and green and so I am giving the customer a good option to buy responsibly.

There are many other reasons behind using reclaimed materials outside the environmental factors.  The fact is that newly produced fabric today is largely not of the same quality that it used to be.  Often new fabric doesn’t wash and wear well or is completely destroyed after one go through the washing machine – all a result of cheap mass production.  So, by using reclaimed materials that have been used and washed many times I can be sure of the quality and know that that dress will look the same after it comes out of the wash.

Another big reason for using recycled materials is that it makes for one off garments.  Each season I design a range and then  produce it all in different fabrics making each item a one off piece.  It is more work for me in that I have to cut each garment separately but at the end of the day there is a lot of value placed on unique one off clothing.  In a world of mass production having something that is so individual is rare and treasured!

Rummage Style Dresses: SS 11/12

Rummage releases two collections per year – do you have a favourite style or season?

I produce two ranges per year and I guess that it all follows a certain style that makes it clearly Rummage Style.  I really just design what I would like to wear and by doing that I know that I am being true to myself.  I try to keep an eye on what is in fashion at the time but also like to keep it unique.  The people that buy my clothes don’t want to look like everyone else on the street!  I am really excited by the new range coming up where I am trying to go a little more tailored and classic,  not in a conservative way, but by taking ideas from beautifully made vintage garments and using more from my collection of old buttons and trim.  You will have to wait and see!


Thank you so much Theresa! I’ve got to say, I can’t wait to see the new collection, I always love seeing tailored and classic styles in really fun and different fabrics!

To purchase Rummage Style, check out these stockists, or email!

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