Secondhand September & Project Ms Universe/Repurpose

In May, in the midst of Covid, we ran our RENEW, REVAMP and REPAIR campaign.  Renew your commitment to quality, fairtrade and sustainability. Revamp and Repair to give longevity, no waste and help the environment.

For Secondhand September we’d like to inspire you with a project we were very busy with this time last year, in collaboration with Huong Dinh from the charity Pure VN, their consignment and thrift Papa Shop and the gorgeous Vũ Quỳnh Trang, Ms Universe Vietnam entrant for Nam Định.

What grew out of a casual conversation turned into a wonderful opportunity to raise community awareness about the possibilities of slow fashion.  Through her involvement in the Ms Universe competition, Trang wanted to focus attention on ethical and sustainable fashion and support the community at the same time.

Trang’s challenge to Pure VN and Future Traditions was to make an evening or cocktail dress to wear in the competition, made from clothes that had been donated to Pure VN’s Papa Store.

Our first challenge was to go through bags of clothing that had been donated to the Papa Shop to find items we could work with:

  • garments with enough fabric for us to do something with
  • clothing made from fabric that was suitable for evening wear
  • pieces of clothing that matched in some way so we could put them together

We came up with 5 designs and narrowed this down to two gowns to make.  Following is the thrift shop clothing we used, the designs and the completed dresses:



In order to get enough fabric, we turned the slip upside down and inserted the feature ethnic Thai godet pleats in what had been the bodice of the slip.  The feature fabric is a vintage piece of ethnic Thai handwoven cotton that we had at Future Traditions.  We were lucky to find a blouse in a matching colour and this is what we used for the bodice.  Whilst the fabrics are different, separated by the stripes, the difference in hue is not noticeable.

Black’n’White GODDESS Gown


On the left is a tube stretch fabric that had been made into a scarf (seen folded in two here) – this became the body of the dress.  On the right is a dress made of a semi-sheer stretch fabric which we used for the sleeves and the lining.

Congratulations go to Trang, who at 22, is the founder, CEO and spokesperson for Vic Vietnam International – an organization specializing in the design of extracurricular programs abroad for Vietnamese students. Her dream is to build and develop Vietnamese education. She finished in the top 10 and was crowned Ms Bravery.

Plans to further develop this project were stalled by Covid, but we hope that to bring you new developments in the not-too-distant future.

So echoing Trang’s advocacy for greater consciousness in how we think and participate in fashion, our message for September is buy sustainable, slow fashion and renew, revamp and repair!

Check out the fabulous small independent fashion houses that are keeping production runs contained, with minimal waste and environmentally friendly practices.

And if you have clothes that need a revamp, adjustment or repair, bring them into the showroom and we’ll help you make them wearable again.


Future Traditions is committed to supporting artisan textile producers, commissioning new textiles and re-purposing and recycling existing fabrics, to create heirloom pieces featuring the exquisite textiles of northern Vietnam.