Carys wins the upcyle challeng with ‘Betgwn’

A designer from St Dogmaels has won the Cardiff Fashion Week upcycle challenge to transform a bag of charity shop clothes into a collection fit for the catwalk.

Carys Hedd – who has her own label called Wench – was chosen by the judging panel for the make- over of a woman’s jacket, men’s jacket and woman’s skirt in to a funky take on a traditional piece of Welsh clothing called the Betgwn.

Historically, the Betgwn is the jacket worn under the shawl by Welsh women in what we now recognise as the Welsh national costume. It is a fitted jacket with buttons, nipped in at the waist with a longer tail at the back.

Carys presented her take on the Betgwn to a panel of judges from Cardiff Fashion Week and Ty Hafan in the Welsh capital last month. After difficult deliberations by the judges, she was chosen as the challenge winner.

The item – along with others in her collection – will be displayed as part of a live shop window on October 1st in Ty Hafan’s Emporium store in Cardiff. It will also feature on the catwalk at Cardiff Fashion Week on Saturday 29 October and will go in a silent auction during the week to raise money for the children’s charity.

For Carys, the win is the first step in her vision to see the Betgwn re-introduced to the Welsh fashion scene.

She said: “The beauty of the Betgwn is its classic cut which combines all the historical qualities of great tailoring. It follows the lines of the body, flatters the female form and is suitable for all women of all sizes. Traditionally, it’s meant to be worn with a skirt or a dress but in today’s age can work as well with jeans or trousers.”

Carys’s dream is to see the Betgwn go in to production using organic Welsh wool which is locally produced.

Currently, Carys sells her Wench label from her workshop called Melfed in Cardigan. She also sells directly to the public at festivals and other special events across the country.

The inspiration behind her work comes from a desire to create unique upcycled clothes which transform the wearer in to an walking art form.