DIY Fashion Lookbook

Hand-painted clothes, the beautiful and sustainable fashion trend

I went to a wedding once, where all the bridesmaids were dressed in hand-painted clothes. They looked beautiful, draped in silk sheets with intricately painted floral outlines in bright colors. They stood out from the crowd because their clothes were the epitome of elegance, sophistication and vibrancy. 

I vividly remember that wedding because it gave me the idea of wearing hand-painted clothes too. I realized that all I needed was plain fabric and fluorescent fabric paints to make myself something akin to what I saw at the wedding.

Sunflowers painted on a plain white fabric.
[Image description: Sunflowers painted on a plain white fabric.] Via rehstorepk’s instagram

I recently painted on two scarves of plain white fabric. I drew flowers and leaves on them, keeping them in tone with the summer season, and filled the spaces with shades of pink, red, orange, and blue. They hang peacefully in my closet now, ready to be worn with my matching outfits.

Since then, I’ve seen many small-scale businesses flourishing in the hand-painted clothes market. And for all the right reasons. Brands such as Rehstore are following this trend. If anything, hand-painted clothes should be promoted widely for a variety of reasons, some of which I’ll highlight below. 

Hand-painted clothes bring an edge to the clothing industry.

Although hand-painted clothes are becoming increasingly commonplace, they’re not the norm. People don’t wear them often. Designers don’t sell them often. They’re not as widespread as they should be.

This doesn’t mean, however, that they don’t look great. When you walk into a room full of people dressed in clothes stitched and designed almost on the same patterns, you’re bound to turn heads if you’re wearing clothes that you’ve painted yourself. You’ll stand out because you’re the only one who has done something different. 

Hand-painted clothes are edgy, fun, and different. On a personal level, I feel they’re a gem in the clothing industry.

Your clothes reflect your personal style.

A pink hand-painted fabric hangs on a pole against a plain white sheet
[Image description: A pink hand-painted fabric hangs on a pole against a plain white sheet.] Via rehstorepk’s instagram

When you’ve made something yourself, it’s all about you. It’s hard to avoid lending little pieces of yourself to your art, even if it’s created on clothes.

A lot of the time, the way we dress represents our style statement. Clothing can be an extension of our identity, and hand-painted clothes give you the opportunity to reinvent your style. 

If done smartly, it’s inexpensive and lends itself to being a sustainable item.

Most of us have  unused fabric lying around the house. I know I do. I purchased silks because I was getting ready to attend weddings that were unfortunately postponed in the wake of the pandemic. But I cut a small piece out of the silk fabric to paint myself a scarf. Alternatively, if you’ve got any plain dresses to serve as blank canvases for you to decorate, use them. Recycling and giving your clothes and upgrade is never a bad idea. Think about it. Taking your outfits and re-designing them, re-purposing them slows down the rate of one time wear purchases you make. Yes, the beautiful designs you paint on are personal, but the ability to change up your clothes would allow you to keep and wear them for a very long time. Keeping a piece of clothing for longer, and being able to paint it blue if you wanted to, means you’re less likely to purchase another blue shirt.

Next, all you need are some fabric paints. If you’re not the best at drawing, you can trace patterns and fill them in with colors of your choice. The paint dries up easily, and once you’re done, your clothes will be refreshed and ready to be worn.

Most of us are spending this summer inside our homes. If you’re looking for something to do, painting your clothes could be an exciting adventure. Give it a try, you might never turn back. 

By Izza Malik

Izza Malik is a university student based in Lahore, Pakistan. She is focusing on Political Science at university but her main interests lie in fiction writing, journalism, and drawing. Izza also has a blog called Escaping Space which is dedicated to feminist writing, raising issues concerning the various marginalized communities in Pakistan and sometimes narrative and poetry writing. In her free time, you’ll find her reading murder mystery books, watching shows on Netflix and cooking desserts.