Footballs take recycled form

Footy fill-up: Cooper Thomson is a picture of concentration at Kyabram library on Monday during one of three Upcycled Footy Making programs run by former fashion designer, Katrina Naish.
Footy friends: Judy and Jack Wu were given the opportunity to make their own footballs, filled with textile scraps, during an educational session where participants were given an explanation of how the end product helped the environment.
Starting young: Ruben Campbell may not have had a full understanding of the upcycling program, but he was more than eager to get among the mounds of scrap material offered as filling for the upcycling football program.

When Katrina Naish stepped away from the glitz and glamour that is the fashion industry she had a clear direction for the future.

That vision has landed her in the driver’s seat of a unique upcycling business which takes waste from that same industry and uses it as an educational tool for the next generation.

Ms Naish was at Kyabram library last week after reaching out to the Campaspe shire, offering her skills and expertise to provide three sessions at the region’s various libraries during its winter school holiday program.

A Fitting Connection is the name of Ms Naish’s business, based out of North Melbourne,

She said her company ethos was to educate students to not only start to understand the complexity of textile waste and circular economy, but to also see textile waste as a resource.

“We do that by facilitating opportunities to explore upcycling that earns financial rewards,” she said, explaining the company’s fundraising with purpose initiative involved turning pre-loved clothing and textiles into saleable products.

At Kyabram earlier this week it was a simple “stuffed” football upcycling program which captured the imagination of participants.

“The aim is to help the environment by keeping textile products from the cutting room floor from becoming landfill.

“I never felt right that we use so much material and pivoted my business from creating fashion collections to using the waste connected to the industry,” Ms Naish said.

She grew up in Glenrowan and her family spent some time in Finley. Her brother now lives in Moama.

She said the upcycled footballs had been in big demand since starting the workshops.

A program offering migrant and refugee women training in the industry, titled Second Stitch, is also part of A Fitting Connection’s work.

“It offers women a chance to learn the skills to work in the textile industry,” she said.

“The whole goal is to keep stuff out of landfill and today the kids will walk away with a football and be conscious about the role they have played in doing just that.”