When Nicole Akong was growing up in Trinidad, the choice of imported clothes was limited, so she grew up around dressmaking. But it took a long time for her to give herself permission to buy ready-made clothes again after appearing on the BBC’s Great British Sewing Bee. Then, when her daughter persuaded her to come along on a charity shopping a couple of summers ago, she found the perfect middle ground -- transforming secondhand clothes. “It felt like I was doing a wholesome thing because I’m supporting a charity but I’m also buying something that might otherwise go to landfill,” says Akong. “As I’ve grown into myself, I’ve definitely embraced a much more colorful, flamboyant side that I’m not sure I would have had the confidence to in my 20s and 30s.”

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