A fashion student’s Depop page has been flooded with interest after she tried to sell a rail company’s social distancing signs as crop tops.
Mhari Thurston-Tyler, 20, told Metro.co.uk she found two Chiltern Railways seat covers discarded on the floor outside London’s Marylebone station and repurposed them as a timely fashion statement.
The blue covers read ‘Keep this seat free to maintain social distancing where possible’ under an illustration of two rail passengers sat with an empty seat between them.
They were advertised on the second-hand clothing website for £15 in ‘Used – Good’ condition with ‘different sizes’ available.
Mhari, who studies at Central Saint Martins in London, said: ‘I am struggling financially and thought I could try and make some money off it so put it on Depop.
‘I also thought it would be an interesting article of clothing a few years down the line as it is quintessentially not normal and extraordinary as a concept to me.
‘Sustainable fashion and disruptive fashion is so important in these times, and in this pandemic fashion is becoming more and more digitalised which is not what it’s supposed to be.’
She said no one was interested in the item until her advert started being shared on social media, prompting her to take down the listing for fear of being accused of theft.
‘The attention it has got has overtaken my original need for £15 for food.’
Mhari has responded to the attention by designing her own version inspired by the original design – swapping Chiltern Railways for ‘children railways’ – and has since started advertising the tops on Depop for £20 each as a ‘sustainable slow fashion’ item.
The original ad was posted on a popular Depop-related Instagram page with the caption ‘I am lost for words’.
One person commented: ‘Kinda cute af where’s the link.’
Another questioned whether the covers were obtained legally, pointing out that ‘many people have certainly touched’ them.
Mhari replied suggesting her critics were ‘jealous of the hustle’ and said she was ‘only trying to make bank’.
A spokesperson for Chiltern Railways said ‘a very small number’ of the social distancing warnings had gone missing and will be replaced.
‘Whilst we appreciate this new take on railway memorabilia, these items are there to help customers travel with confidence and we would respectfully ask that they are left in place,’ the told us.
A spokesperson for Depop said: ‘At Depop, the safety of our community is our number one priority and we have a set of policies in place which govern what is and is not allowed on our platform. In this, we explicitly prohibit the sale of illegal and unlawful content on the app, including any stolen goods (4.6 in our Terms of Service).
‘The item in question has already been removed from the app and the user has admitted it was taken from a Chiltern Railways train. This item clearly violates our terms of service, but as it has been removed by the seller and is no longer for sale on the platform, we will not be taking immediate steps to ban this user.
‘In our recent communications with the seller, we have reminded them of our rules about acceptable conduct and the sale of prohibited content. We have also made it clear that we will remove any items that violate these policies and community guidelines. If we confirm any listings of further prohibited content on their account, we will take steps to permanently close this user’s account and ban them from the platform.’