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The University of Southampton
Winchester School of Art

The Advent of the Woolly Hat Fair

Published: 20 December 2015
Students with their Upcycled Tree
Students with their Upcycled Tree

Every year, as December rolls around, millions of children (and many adults too) look forward to opening the doors on their advent calendar to see the day’s picture and probably enjoy a chocolate treat. This year Winchester’s Hat Fair have gone a step further by bringing the Woolly Hat Fair advent calendar to the city.


Every day, from the 1st to the 24th December a new door is opening , and a new event is happening, somewhere in the city.

Stories, music, theatre, chocolate fun (of course), and choral events are just some of the goings-on, and on 11th December Winchester School of Art (WSA) added their present to the pile with a ‘Festive Fashion Upcycle’.

‘Upcycling’ is a way of improving and reusing an old, second-hand item to create something new. WSA students, using clothes donated by the PDSA, in conjunction with the charity Winchester Action on Climate Change (recycling the recycling!), ran a workshop for local schools and colleges in which they taught the pupils this skill and helped them create new from old.

Given the time of year, it was only appropriate that the workshop involved making a Christmas tree from second-hand clothes. A metal skeleton of the tree was fashioned by WSA’s Chris Carter, and the MA Fashion students, along with staff members Reem Alasadi, Delia Crowe and Wendy Turner, covered it in fabric and built a marvellous creation out of second hand clothes.

WSA’s “door” to the Gallery opened at 5pm on Friday 11th and 80 members of the public, including many children, were welcomed in with mince pies and they all sat down with the MA Fashion students and created decorations for the tree, again out of second hand clothes. The students were magnificent with the children and a wonderfully Christmassy time was had by all.

The normal Hat Fair takes place in July, and more information can be found at



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