Upcycling is the best way to “recycle” because it takes objects that already exist and add value to them. Upcycling is on the increase more than ever in 2022, as concerns about the environment grow and the cost of living crisis has reached new levels.
The term upcycling has traditionally been associated with hippy, shabby chic. But more recently high end designers and brands have presented their versions of upcycled design- that have an aesthetic more likely to be featured in a design museum or wallpaper design than Etsy. (No shade on Etsy)
Here are some stylish upcycled projects that give this term a whole new lease of life.
Virgil Abloh Louis Vuitton Sneakers
2021, he has released a new version of the LV Trainer for SS ’21 that are upcycled versions of the original 2019 trainers. Designed to further extend the sustainability of Louis Vuitton products, Virgil Abloh’s ‘upcycling ideology’ of sustainability, reuse, and recycling is in sync with the wave of growing fashion consciousness.
Disassembled and then transformed, the new LV trainers are made from the pre-existing 2019 ones, yet stand out with their use of calfskin and suede along with some playful tie-and-dye coloured laces.
In the first quarter of 2022, the Airline will also launch a Designed by Singapore Airlines collection that features a range of unique upcycled products. This includes a collection of aviation tags, made from retired aircraft fuselage, and bags made from life vests.
Parachute chair by Raeburn
A limited-edition launched in RÆBURN’s new Central London shop during last month’s London Design Festival, Canopy transforms surplus ex-military parachutes and aircraft brake parachutes into four colourful rocking chairs and two translucent screens. The series, which includes a lounger design wherein the upholstery is woven through the frame in a flamboyant manner reminiscent of webbing, demonstrates both the material’s practical and artistic possibilities as well as its unique tactility.
Goodordering tent cycling bags
Using materials that are no longer useful for their original function is a perfect way to create new sustainable products. This is what we are also doing with Goodordering, making cycling bags from recycled tents from festivals. This is a project we are currently working with alongside Hackney council and a charity called FWRD TOGETHER whose business is all about festival waste reclamation and distribution.
Monki repurposed denim
In 2020, Monki, a brand of H&M, has announced the launch of a new upcycled capsule denim collection which makes use of pre-consumer waste.
The Swedish fashion firm says the three items created, a jacket, pair of denim jeans and tote bag, make use of what would otherwise be surplus materials in the typical production process – integrating recycled threads and organic cotton.
It’s the latest in a growing line of such projects from apparel brands, which signals that tides are shifting and stakeholders are increasingly turning their attention to products made in-line with the circular economy.
Disused police jackets to high fashion
A standout Autumn Winter 2020 look from Vinti Andrews, the London-based brand from Vinti Tan and Paul Andrews, is a padded neon yellow hi-viz jacket, upcycled from used Met police coats. The rest of the collection is made from vintage sportswear and outerwear that has been deconstructed, sampled and cleverly recreated as “new” garments. Colors include neon orange and yellow, neutrals and navy.
Mini Rodini’s Upcycled fabric scraps
Sustainability has been top priority for kids fashion brand Mini Rodini since the start in 2006. In order to minimize and decrease the mutual environmental impact, they collect fabric scraps from previous productions and produce upcycled collections. In 2013, the first Upcycling collection was launched and favorite prints from the past were reintroduced.
They consciously choose not to pattern customize their garments, which reduces the garment waste already in an early phase. Therefore each Upcycling collection is unique and limited, while the production contributes to a more sustainable fashion industry.
Although these examples above are inspirational and stylish, the real benefit of recycling and up cycling comes when regular people do it at their homes, saving materials from landfill en mass. Here are some examples of other upcycling projects that you can do yourself at home.
Do you know of any other stylish brands that use up cycling in a modern way? Please get in touch and let us know so we can update this blog post.