Recycling Fashion

How can this elusive and kinetic thing we call fashion be recycled?  As Heidi Klum so often reminds us: “In fashion, one day you’re in; the next day you’re out.”  So how do you reuse?

I’m not an expert stylist by any means but I’ve come across a few different ways to recycle clothing.  The first and most obvious, of course, is to go vintage.  Shop at second-hand and thrift stores, or expensive carefully-curated vintage shops.  I bought this lovely little purse at a thrift store in Philadelphia last week (I believe it was at 4th & Fitzwater for anyone in the area):vintage leather bag

Modernizing vintage pieces with accessories or mixing them in with your modern wardrobe is a great way to stand out from the crowd.  And of course styles come back, for example this season’s maxi dresses that harken back to the 70s (apparently they made it to India, too).  Got an old one?  Awesome.  I wish my mother had saved more of her stuff from back then.

Another way to recycle fashion is to have the designers do the work.  There are designers that use leftovers and scraps to make beautiful new pieces.  They call it “upcycling.”  One notable designer uses scraps from the highest of the high-end brands in her label From Somewhere.  Colin Firth’s wife Livia, a notable eco-fashionista – wore a From Somewhere dress to the Oscars last year.   The designer, Orsola de Castro, also collaborated with Speedo to create something fantastic from unused swimsuits: 

And last but not least, you can literally recycle some clothing.  This is not the same as wearing recycled clothing, which is awesome too.  (It’s kind of incredible that water bottles can be turned into this, and that sour milk can turn into this, for example.) I’m talking about clothing that decomposes or is turned into other clothing.  The coolest example I’ve come across recently is the Oat Shoes.  After you’re done wearing them, you bury them in the dirt and they sprout wild flowers.

These examples are just a tiny taste of all the innovative ways that folks in the industry are finding to reuse resources.

Ariel Azoff