What does ethical fashion mean to you?
Forget any notions of baggy hemp skirts and ‘free the weed’ t shirts – the next generation of eco friendly, upcycled clothing is creative, catwalk-worthy, and really bloody COOL!
If you need any more proof of upcycling’s high-fashion credentials, Topshop has recently launched a Topshop Reclaim to Wear capsule collection made from born-again surplus stock and offcuts. To mark the release of the collection on 15 June, I’ve scoured the www. for the best weird and wacky upcycled garms out there:
How to Wear a Carrier Bag and Still Look Hot
How many times have you been reminded that plastic bags take 100 years to biodegrade? Camila Labra’s shoes stomp all over wastefulness – she’s fashioned them from old carrier bags. Just like all the products featured in this post, these boots don’t just help reduce waste; they look beautiful too. Labra’s boots have been featured in several magazines and definitely deserve to appear soon on a catwalk near you.
Gone-Off Milk Couture: Sweet or Sour?
We often forget that waste food creates just as many problems for the environment as other materials we recycle. We chuck gallons of milk down the sink every year – but German biologist and fashion designer Anke Domast knows it’s a valuable commodity – she creates beautiful dresses from sour milk and sells the designs for $290. She extracts a protein from the milk chunks and grinds it into a substance that can be woven into fabric. Domast claims the material feels ‘just like silk’ but has significantly less environmental impact. Definitely one to watch on the catwalks because her designs are simply stunning – and no, they don’t smell like gone-off milk.
Cigarette End Jacket – the Butt of Jokes?
Ever so slightly reminiscent of a granny bed jacket, these garms stamp all over the fine line between fugly and cool – and that’s before the conversation turns to the fact that you’re wearing a jacket made from old cigarette butts. Anyone who doesn’t think this is completely rock n’ roll chic / grimy glam / edgy isn’t worth listening to because they have no taste and their opinion doesn’t count.
Give That Girl a Medal – Recycled Swimwear Cocktail Dress
Back in 2008, Speedo made an incredible scientific breakthrough with its LZR swimsuits, made from a material so water-repellent that it propelled athletes through the water. Unfortunately, the material was too good. In the Beijing Olympics, bosses thought it gave an unfair advantage and banned it… leaving Speedo with mountains of unwanted stock. Unlike many brands who often destroy unwanted stock rather than give it away and devalue their brand (seriously), Speedo did the decent thing and donated the material to fashion designer Orsola Castro, who turned it into these amazing sports- luxe cocktail dresses.
Is It Cool to Wear Old Trainers? Corset is!
What do you get when you cross a load of old trainers and stunning design? This corset by upcycle clothes designer Paula Santana puts old Puma kicks through their paces and has created a haute couture -worthy piece that is daring but looks cool as you like.
Nike Air Minimum (Waste)
If you’re going to turn your shoes into shapewear, you might be wondering what on earth you’re going to wear on your feet. You might consider these trainers made from old computer circuit boards, dreamed up by designer Gabriel Dishaw. Ok they’re supposed to be for looking at rather than actual wearage, but I’d still give it a good go. I’d swap my entire shoe collection for an evening with these beauties.
Cassette Girl – Recycled Tapes Make an Awesome Jacket
How much do we all love new technology? Sometimes us homo sapiens get so wrapped up in the latest breakthrough product announcement, we forget about what’ll happen to yesterday’s redundant next big thing.
Specifically, I’m talking about the thousands of audio cassettes festering in attics and charity shops or hanging out on landfill sites, having their sparkly guts ripped out by seagulls. Luckily, four designers, Fernanda Henríquez, Cindy Silva, Paulina Vilches and Teresa Monreal have pressed rewind on their life cycle with slinky jackets made from knitted together cassette tape.
Ok so it might not be the warmest thing you’ll wear, but fashion is supposed to be style over substance – and what could be more hip than casually slinging Spandau Ballet’s Parade album around your shoulders after leaving the club on a balmy summer’s night?
What do you think about these designs? Sartorially sick or ultimate bad taste – let us know in the comment section! Over to you…
All images used with permission.