Upstyling is the buzz word of the moment, as is sustainable fashion. They go hand in hand, I suppose. Some people are very good at upstyling. I was not one of them, but I have been converted.

The stylist daughter Courtney (you can follow her on Instagram @courtneysmithstyle) is an avid upstyler. From a young age, she was cutting up, re-modelling and re-styling clothes that she found in the attic.  The bodysuit she is wearing below was one of mine from the ’80s.

Then she started raiding my wardrobe and when she was sixteen ‘upstyled’ my very expensive pair of designer leather trousers.  She told me that I was too old to be wearing them…I was 45 at the time!  In truth, they were a little too tight. And yes, she did convert them into a beautiful jacket. Naturally, she went on to study fashion design in college. She later designed two hugely successful boot collections in collaboration with Buffalo a few years ago (see two below).

Now she is considered to be one of Ireland’s leading Fashion Stylists, although currently in lockdown, with all her jobs cancelled. Her ‘Closet Confidential‘  series on Instagram is garnering a huge following.

Before Covid, she brought many items (both pre-loved and new) into The Zip Yard for upstyling. Below you can see one of her creations made from a dress she found in a second-hand shop. Yes, she has a wonderful eye. She has built up a wonderful relationship with the branch in South Anne Street, Dublin, and often does collaborations with them.



My friend Marie had a lovely, expensive wool coat belonging to her mother, who had passed away last year. Her Mum had worked in fashion for many years and always loved style and this coat had been a present from Marie and her sister. She was keen to get the coat altered so that she could wear it.

Marie has quite a quirky style (see below) and she realised that it would need some radical work. First of all, the coat was too big and secondly, the style was too traditional and sedate for Marie.

Enter Courtney and The Zip Yard, for whom she had offered to upstyle/revamp selected items of clothing for use on its social media platforms.

Below you can see the end product. Marie was delighted with the transformation, knows that she will get lots of use out of her new jacket and, of course, the added bonus is that she is wearing something that belonged to her mother.

Upcycled Marie and Hilda


My offering was a Zara dress over 2 years old of which I had grown tired, possibly because it had a very striking print. I had worn the dress for a collaboration I did with Marshes Shopping Centre in Dundalk. Also, it was not a forgiving dress and if I put on a few pounds it was very noticeable.

Courtney’s solution was to make it into a top and skirt and I would get far more wear out of the two items. She was right.  I have two very versatile separates, lots of possible combinations now and yes it no longer gapes in the bust and tummy!


  • We have become more aware of the damage that fast fashion causes to the environment and cutting back on our purchase of clothes can only be good for it.
  • Revamping clothes from our wardrobe is one way to work on having a more sustainable wardrobe.
  • Buying second-hand is also good. Courtney advises going up a size as it is easier to alter.
  • We cut down on the staggering amount of clothes that ends up in landfill.
  • We have something new and we feel good about it.

So, take a second look at that coat that you think is a little old-fashioned or the dress that is too big. Is it possible to upstyle or revamp it?

You might be able to get an entirely new wardrobe that way.

Stay safe my friends.

Hilda xx