Upcycling: chances are you’ve heard this word at least once the past couple of months. The term itself was originally coined by Reiner Pilz in the early 90’s. Upcycling uses existing materials to improve upon the original ones ( for better quality goods), thus reducing waste significantly.
The concept encompasses various fields, from food to interior design. For instance, the Heimtextil 2017, international trade fair for home and contract textiles is launching a ‘Young Creations Award: Upcycling‘ contest to encourage designers to come up with their upcycling ideas.
The movement is gaining momentum in the fashion world as well. Repurposing, making new with the old is not only an opportunity to show your creative skills but it’s also part of an environmental challenge. As a matter of fact, there are more textiles produced than needed and once deemed “unwanted”, they are not always resellable. Secondhand and thrift stores are not enough to regulate the humongous amount of clothes in circulation. Also, polyester, velvet, crepe and other synthetic blends are not bio-degradable, so this where upcycling comes in action.
Upcycling seems to be already well installed in Berlin. In Berlin, there’s a brick-and-mortar store dedicated to upcycled garments and accessories, appropriately named ” The upcycling store“. The Berlin’s Fashion week happening at the moment will also host an event, on June 28, named “Sustainability and Style” where 4 designers will showcase their new creations from used and recycled denim. India and Ireland are also growing actors, the latter presenting a whole range of designers specialized in sustainable fashion.
Denim brand G-Star has launched a collection called “Raw of the oceans“, retrieving plastic from the oceans and transforming into new denim pieces. Luxury houses seem to have gotten the hang of it as well, Hermès launched a few years ago a capsule collection Petit H., with leftover fabrics, waste, and defective items into decorative accessories.
The increasing awareness of climate change and pollution in our society has also impacted entrepreneurship. Small and new companies are finally aware that starting off immediately as a sustainable business will turn out to be cost-effective for them.
While obviously there’s still a long way to go when it comes to reducing waste, the increasing popularity of upcycling in fashion is a step in the right direction and we’ll certainly be sharing some cool upcycled clothing pieces on The Peridot.