Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Upcycling Fashion

Many people know the world of crafting and have once in their lives taken part in making something with a glue gun, old socks, beads, popsicle sticks, and paper. Reusing household items are a regular occurrence in homes, especially with kids. The world of reusing no longer fits into just the world of crafts or household necessities.

During times of war or the great depression there was a different type of reusing. Unfortunately when the times are tough people are forced to reuse the clothing they already have. Although this is a sign of rough times there are some bright features that come with the reusing of clothing. We use what we have, we reuse what we have and we make it into something new.

Now in today’s world we’re seeing a similar sense of style without the extreme conditions of a depression. Upcycling in fashion is when you take old clothes or waste fabric from manufacturers and stitch it into an entirely new item or clothing with higher environmental value. Unlike downcycling which we see, and do almost everyday. We recycle our cans and our plastics only to create products of lesser quality and reduced functionality. This process allows us to keep waste out of our environment. Upcycling is creating higher quality items and also helping keep us more waste free.

Trends are ever changing and we always want to be the first to try something new and hot. Upcycling fortunately is one of these new trends. We hope of course that it's not going to fall flat like some trends of the past. This trend is not only cool, it's useful and can be put into any style whether it be High Fashion or our Everyday Fashion. 

Imagine the ugliest outfits from the past. Most people can’t imagine stepping into them even on a dare. Others wear them for theme parties or because they love that kind of different. These are some of the things that can be transformed and turned into something we’d all feel comfortable in.

As we’re not all handy with sewing machines and definitely not thrift store gurus like some. We still have the chance to get our hands on some of these upcycled items. They seem to be popping up all over the place. Anything like the bags from well-known Shannon South to fun fabulous outfits from not so well-known Julia Roebuck. Every day more and more designers are helping to make a difference in fashion.  Even Martha Stewart is showing her support by her show on how to make shopping bags out of old t-shirts.

At the Oscars, Colin Firths wife Livia Giuggioli had her dress made from pre-consumer waste from end of roll, discarded, off cut fabrics, and other materials from unfinished products.  Orsola De Castro designed the dress. One of the founders and curator of London Fashion Week’s ethical style section ‘Estethica’. Livia is not only a film producer she is also the creative director of Eco-Age and a passionate Eco-Campaigner.

New and eco friendly fabrics like organic cotton, bamboo, hemp, are wonderful and yes the lesser of two evils. Upcycling requires nothing new to be produced. Which means less waste, less chemicals, less money spent. Designers and the fashion industry will not take lightly to this new trend as it may at times lose them a bit of money and maybe even some street cred. Some of us know that change doesn’t happen over night and I love to say “We’re different so others don’t have to be.” So don’t be afraid to try something new mostly when this something is creating a better environment for everyone around us.

For the fashionistas out there that are so inclined to make something for themselves there are a plethora of sites willing to help you make old new again.  Check out TOED with a list of 100 different links to upcycling anyone can do. 

Christina .)

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