‘No one Re:Yak workshop is ever the same’: Lucy Greenwood On Lucy & Yak’s Upcycling Workshops
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‘No one Re:Yak workshop is ever the same’: Lucy Greenwood On Lucy & Yak’s Upcycling Workshops

Meet the co-founder of the UK's favourite overalls brand

Now settled in the thick of a cost of living crisis (or ‘cozzie livs’, if you’re internet fluent), many shoppers in the UK are looking to buy less and buy better – and extend the lifetime of their clothing items beyond trends and seasons. So, how are brands responding to our new shopping habits? ‘We’re trying to take responsibility for the entire life cycle of our garments,’ says Lucy & Yak co-founder, Lucy Greenwood, ‘From ensuring all the organic cotton we use is GOTS certified, all the way through to hosting our own repair workshops in our stores.’ We sat down with Lucy to find out how her brand has grown over the last six years, and where we can sign up for one of Lucy & Yak’s new upcycling workshops.

Lucy Greenwood On Lucy & Yak’s Upcycling Workshops

Lucy Greenwood with models holding upcycled clothing

Lucy Greenwood (far right)

Hi Lucy, thanks for joining us today! Can you please kick us off by introducing yourself and the lovely Lucy & Yak?

Hi, I’m Lucy Greenwood, co-founder of independent clothing brand, Lucy & Yak. We’re on a mission to bring consciousness to fashion (we like to say we’re a square label with a circular soul) making clothes for every body while upholding a positive environmental and social impact.

What led you to starting up the brand?

Back in 2014 myself and our other co-founder Chris abandoned the 9-5 to travel. We wanted to find a way to earn a living that allowed us to continue our travels, and so we started upcycling pre-loved clothes into handmade pouches. When we eventually got back to the UK, we started selling vintage clothes on Depop (with dungarees being a hit!) and we noticed we had a bit of an eye for fashion. Our next trip saw us looking for a manufacturer to make our now iconic original dungarees and the rest, as they say, is history!

I’ve got to ask, where did the name come from?

Yak is the van where it all began! While we were traveling this van wasn’t just our means of transport but also our office, workshop, and home so it felt right for it to continue to be part of the brand we’d built from it.

Re:Yak workshop

And how has Lucy & Yak changed in the years since 2017?

We’ve grown so much – from running out of my parents’ basement to now looking to have nine stores by the end of the year and a combined social following of over 800,000 people.

But despite our growth, the soul of Lucy & Yak hasn’t changed, it’s just on a bigger scale. We’re still led by our gut and do things because they feel right. We’ll always champion making products ethically for every body and to nurture our community and partners.

You’ve set Lucy & Yak up to be a brand that is committed to bringing joy to people and planet. How are you going about this?

Helping keep clothes on people and out of landfill has always been at the heart of Lucy & Yak’s mindset and mission, and part of that is creating the space and opportunity for customers to repair or return their items. We’re trying to take responsibility for the entire life cycle of our garments, from ensuring all the organic cotton we use is GOTS certified, all the way through to hosting our own repair workshops in our stores.

We also like to reinvest for good. Every Black Friday we donate a percentage of profits to Fior Di Loto, which gives girls in India the education they deserve. Fior Di Loto is a charitable foundation mainly focused on providing an education and improving the living conditions of more than 700 girls living in the villages surrounding Pushkar, Rajasthan, in Northwest India.

Each year we also have a series of campaigns which aim to uplift our community and give a platform to people who don’t often have the one they deserve. These campaigns aim to spread positivity and joy, while educating our wider audience. For example, this year our campaign ‘For Every Body and Every Mind’ sought to celebrate the neurodivergent people in our community and beyond, while a portion of profits from the limited edition collection went to ADHD Foundation, Neurodiversity Charity.

What would you say you’re doing differently that sets you apart from other clothing brands?

I would have to say our amazing community is what sets us apart! Lucy & Yak is fortunate to have a community who are equally engaged and committed to a more environmentally conscious approach to the fashion industry. At the same time, our community is a place where people champion and support one another which we love. They are often our go-to for advice on new product launches or campaigns, meaning they are really a part of the brand.

Re:Yak workshop

Tell us about your new Re:Yak workshops – what are they (and how do we sign up)?

The Re:Yak workshop is just one element that sits as part of several circularity initiatives under the Re:Yak umbrella, including our Imperfect Sales and Buyback schemes. The workshops help customers to extend the lifespan of their Yaks (or any clothes they’d like to bring) and give them the skills to continue to do so!

The workshops are currently running on a bi-monthly basis and, as we continue to expand our network of shops around the UK, we hope to make the Re:Yak workshops accessible to even more people. To sign up you can keep an eye on socials and online or speak to your local store for more information on dates and times.

Will the workshops differ from store to store? 

No one Re:Yak workshop is ever the same! Each workshop will have its own focus, be that embroidery, mending, painting or more. Customers can either bring their own pieces to mend or upcycle, or they can customise a Lucy & Yak piece they get in-store should they want to. All the materials and tools to upcycle and customise their pieces are provided.

And are you excited to see how people revamp their Yaks?

Always! From the workshops we’ve already run, we’ve been so impressed with the huge variety in what has been created. The clothes we wear allow us to say something about ourselves, and being able to have a hand in that expression can be such an empowering tool for people.

The Re:Yak workshops are also just a wonderful way to come together, get creative and have some fun – our stores act like community hubs and it’s been so wonderful to see like-minded people using the spaces and building friendships.

People holding up upcycled clothing on colourful background

Do you have any other exciting Lucy & Yak plans for 2023 (and beyond)?

We’re continuing to expand our stores to serve more of our community around the UK. As well as Manchester (which will be opening very soon), we’ve got stores planned for other parts of the UK which will add to stores already open in Bristol, Brighton, Norwich, Nottingham and Cambridge. This would take our total number of stores in the UK to nine by the end of 2023. More stores means more workshops and we can expand our Re:Yak in-store clothing buyback scheme.

And finally, how do you think we can live a life in balance?

I believe you get back what you put out – so acting with fairness and kindness is a great place to start.


You can keep up-to-date with Lucy and Lucy & Yak at lucyandyak.com