TRU psychology student David Murray upcycles worn and unwanted clothing items into chalk bags, mittens, and other outdoor goods.
Murray started sewing just over three years ago while living in Victoria, B.C. where people seem to be, from his perspective, a bit more progressive, thrifty and environmentally conscious.
He says a friend’s grandmother taught him to alter clothing pieces already in his wardrobe stating, “the first thing I made was a hoodie to ski in. It’s always been hard to find things that fit right and, at the time, it was way cheaper to do it myself. My friend’s grandma taught us how to add a segment into a jacket to make it longer so we’d look way cooler on the [ski] hill.”
Murray first learned to sew on a machine and says the skill is far easier to pick up than some might think, “you’ve just got to learn how to work the foot pedal” and be comfortable making less than impressive pieces out of the gate.
Murray uses unwanted clothing and clothing scraps from his personal closet or thrift stores like Value Village to supplement projects already in the works.
He prefers to upcycle clothing for his projects because Fabricland, a local fabric supply store, that “is ‘mad’ expensive” in his opinion; Murray finds repurposing fabric more enjoyable, economical and sustainable than buying new.
Murray lived and worked from his camper van in the summer of 2019 and says he still found himself creating upcycled items even while living in remote, and often off-grid locations. He thinks he enjoys sewing outside for the same reasons some artists prefer to create in their own backyards; creating in nature is not only relaxing for Murray but inspiring. No wonder the majority of his creations are best used outdoors.
Although Murray has sought to profit off of his projects in the past and has had a surprising amount of individuals approach him for commissions, he prefers to trade his creations for other goods and services over turning a profit and ultimately enjoys gifting items to individuals who share a love for the outdoors. He says he often gifts items to friends who’s gear is ‘shredded’ in exchange for beer and claims “It’s more fun that way.” If you’re interested in getting your hands on some of Murray’s chalk bags, mittens and other outdoor goods shoot him an offer on Instagram at @birddogmurray.