Dani Dawkins is a force of positivity and creativity. If you scroll through her Instagram feed you'll see why (@isitdanidawks). She presents the most amazing upcycled transformations as TikTok vignettes, cut to music, showing the before and after. Often the starting point is humble, (see the Ikea bag below) and yet the final creation is always a thing of real beauty.
We felt we needed to get to know her more and find out what makes her tick (and Tok)...
When did you start upcycling?
I started Upcycling when I was in college. I think I got triggered because it was the late 90s and I remember the trend being quite simple so a few times I'd rock up to college with a similar outfit to someone else's in my class. I hated it. Lol. Back then my upcycles were simply. Cropping Hoodies, cutting off the hoods to make off shoulder tops, cutting the sleeve of my jumper to make leg warmers. A real 80s vibe. 🤣
Your clothes are so good, do you have a fashion background?
No. People are so surprised that I didn't study fashion in school or college. However, my Nana was a seamstress by trade and my mum and aunt also sewed amazingly, so I just think it's in my blood. As a child about 6 or 7 years, I had a mini sewing machine and would make little clothes for my dolls out of mums cut off scraps.
What's your reason for doing it?
It for uniqueness and individuality. Style can say a lot about an individual. And I think it takes guts to trust yourself to totally deconstruct something. There's no going back, and if it goes wrong there is no fabric to try again. I guess this is what living on the edge feels like 🤣.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
I love so many different eras when it comes to fashion so I feel like my inspiration for my upcycles and style in general, comes from a mash-up of them all stirred together.
Corset from 16th-century style, 1950/60 high waisted fashion will always have my heart, the mish-mash ness of the 80s and the colourful and denim phase of the 90s all inspire my fashion thoughts.
Favourite item you've made?
My favourite item to date now has got to be my late dad's blazer. This was the scariest too. This was one of those "no going back moments" one wrong snip and it could be all over. Lol. I know, I'm so dramatic. But for real... The pride I felt when it was complete and looked frigging awesome (to me) is unmatched.
Tell us about Flip-It Friday?
So Flip it Friday came about really because it rhymes if I'm being honest. But the concept around it is to bring awareness to secondhand fashion, creativity and more importantly self creativity. It's amazing when people say they are not creative because as children we all were. We either grow out of it or we don't.
Do you shop preloved?
ABSOLUTELY... Preloved, secondhand, charity shops, thrift call it what you want. I love shopping preloved because it's like a treasure hunt and those days when you just find the gold and your hearts beating fast, and you have to call someone from in the shop to share your excitement... are the best.
So, what’s your best preloved find?
OMG! I have so many it's so hard to give one the spotlight. However, I found this dress once. It was an 80s vintage dress, sparkly, bodycon, full-length sleeves and double ruffle hem. I absolutely loved it but whenever I'd put it on, the neckline just bothered me. It had been sitting pretty in my wardrobe for 2 years and about an hour before I was leaving to go to a party one evening, I decided to cut off the neckline and make it an off the shoulder dress. So many people asked where it was from that night.
Worst fashion mistake?
Oh gosh. I can't actually think of any, not because I'm just amazing and never get it wrong🤣, but more because my style is my style. I actually love it when someone says "what are you wearing?" it means I got it right... I must look different or unique to the asker... The goal should self satisfaction. If you put on your outfit and thought "yass girl", no mistake were made.
Fav fashion brand?
I don't have one. I'm not a brand person. I don't follow brands, I very rarely shop high-street TBH. I love making my own clothes either from scratch or upcycling so I guess I'm gonna sayyyy... myself... LOL 🤣🤣. Wait why am a laughing... watch this space... The Dani Dawks Brand.
How do you relax?
Relax. Tell me more 👀. I want to say, by having a nice long hot bath, while listening to music, with a face on but I have a 6 and 13-year-old and guaranteed at some point that bubble of zen will be popped by the sound of them arguing or just bursting into the bathroom. But we rollerskate together so going out rollerskating, to the park, or just out the front is my relaxing time. It's when I'm not in the house thinking of something I want to do or need to do.
Life is a maze but life is amazing and if you can work on waking up and feeling grateful, feeling fulfilled and feeling blessed with where you are it is phenomenal what is available and waiting for you! ~ Daniella Dawkins
Cat videos, cat memes. It used to be a secret Guilty Pleasure but I don't care anymore. I LOVE FUNNY CAT VIDEOS... I said it!
Dogs or cats?
I have a cat, so I should say cats, but dogs are such lovable pets to have. But I gotta stay loyal to my furball so cats... today!