A Ballyclare student is wowing online audiences with her efforts to combat fast fashion after her amazing clothing designs went viral on social media.
Tegan Hurst (18), who attends Belfast Met, has gained millions of views and secured over 60,000 followers on her TikTok account which features videos of her reworking old clothing items into trendy new pieces to avoid waste.
She said: “It all started when I was told universities and fashion colleges really pay attention to online platforms and I’ve always been into art and design. I started posting videos of my sewing on my TikTok account and it just blew up.”
Despite her creations mirroring high-end designs, Tegan says she only had basic sewing skills prior to going to college.
“One of my mum’s friends taught me to sew when I was around 10, but I gave it up thinking it wasn’t cool to be into sewing in high school,” she said.
One of her videos in which she created a dress for her sister’s birthday has almost three million views. It was reposted by UK website UniLad and received thousands of comments praising her work.
Tegan says she hopes her videos, which primarily involve visiting charity shops to buy second-hand clothes that she can re-work into more stylish and modern designs, will shine a light on the issue of fast fashion. This is a term commonly used to describe the practice of mass-producing clothing to sell for very low prices and delivering them to retail stores while demand is at its highest.
It’s a label frequently associated with some major brands that have been criticised for the effects the level of their clothing production can have on the environment due to waste and the disposable nature of cheaper products.
“Fast fashion annoys me, it’s such a big problem,” said Tegan, who will be attending university in Manchester this autumn to continue her fashion studies. “But I also understand for someone my age it’s not possible to always buy sustainable clothing because of the cost.
“People are always telling us to boycott brands. I’m just trying to do my bit and show people what you can do and make.”
When asked why she thinks her videos are so popular, Tegan replied: “I think most people now who want to get into fashion can’t actually sew and don’t understand the work it takes to put a garment together. I’ve had people reach out asking me to sew their designs for them so they can put their names on them. I have had to say no because they just think fashion is simply drawing and design. There is so much more to it than how it looks in the end.”
Despite her success at such a young age and her newly-established platform, Tegan says she has no interest in using her social media to achieve an influencer lifestyle.
“I’m aware now that I have a platform because my following has grown and I really want to use it for something better, not just showing an influencer life. My videos show garments being made and I hope that highlights the ethical concerns some brands have faced. People should not be getting paid pennies an hour across the world to do this kind of work” she said.
Tegan is now working with Pure Clothing, a sustainable Irish brand, on a number of projects.
She added: “I have so much more to learn, but who knows what the future holds? Maybe I’ll start my clothing line, but I’ll be finishing my degree first.”