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How to Become a Fashion Upcycler! Lessons from Top Designers

Embracing the Joy of Upcycling in Fashion

Upcycling — the art of transforming old materials into new treasures — continues to shine brightly in the world of fashion in 2023-2024! From Viktor & Rolf's stunning creations with fabric swatches to Ronald van der Kemp's innovative designs with deadstock fabrics, the industry is buzzing with creativity. John Galliano's groundbreaking work for Maison Margiela's Autumn/Winter 2020 collection remains a testament to the magic of upcycling. By thrift shopping and reimagining garments, Galliano showed us that true artistry lies in making the most of what we have.

Let's celebrate this ongoing wave of sustainable fashion, where every piece tells a unique story and breathes new life into forgotten materials. Together, we can continue to redefine luxury and say goodbye to the wasteful habits of fast fashion! Read on to learn How to Become a Fashion Upcycler! Lessons from Top Designers

2 models wearing Aso brand upcycled vests
Asos. Upcycled Vintage Vest

As laborers, activists, and industry leaders continue to highlight the significant waste issues within the fashion industry, we anticipate an increasing number of designers will feel compelled to work with existing materials. Thrifted garments, rescued materials, deadstock marketplaces, and emerging platforms repurposing clothing that would otherwise be discarded — all of these are set to play a vital role in creating the type of brand experience that eco-conscious consumers are seeking. There are already indications of upcycling in fast fashion, such as Asos’ Reclaimed Vintage line. The exclusivity of a garment crafted from a limited batch of deadstock fabric or unique found objects perfectly complements the luxury experience.

Mission Statement From Ronald Vanderkemp Couture Designer explaining they create couture from unwanted materials
Mission Statement From Ronald Vanderkemp Couture Designer

With that in mind, here are five brands that are leading the charge on upcycled fashion. They’ve got style packed with substance and they’re working to make the world a better place!

Designer Christopher Raeburn established his eponymous brand in 2009 using decommissioned military stock to create limited-edition outerwear. Garments now might be made of GOTS-certified cottons, recycled polyester made from recycled PET plastic bottles, or repurposed materials sourced from vintage markets and military warehouses. RÆBURN even makes several pieces to order, to help reduce waste and overproduction.

Luxury sustainable fashion brand BOTTLETOP takes metal ring pulls — the ones that open soda cans — and turns them into handbags and accessories made in their signature chainmail. A portion of the profits go to grassroots health, education, and skills training projects through their foundation.

Re/Done About Page
Re/Done About Page

Re/Done deconstructs vintage denim and transforms it into new jeans. Additionally, their RE/SELL program assists in finding a new owner for your purchase.

Reformation is a renowned sustainable brand known for its upcycling practices. They create their products using low-impact materials, deadstock fabrics, and repurposed vintage clothing. With a commitment to transparency, Reformation ensures accountability in their supply chain by answering the question "Who made our clothes" at every level and upholding fair labor practices. The brand releases fresh, limited collections weekly, initially in small quantities and scaling up based on demand.

"Deux Mains was created in a time of disaster, yet thrives in its wake. When a catastrophic earthquake decimated Haiti in 2010, Deux Mains founder and creative director Julie Colombino-Billingham experienced a country at its worst.

Witnessing the desperate need for dignified employment in Haiti became the catalyst and greatest inspiration behind the brand. Now, with each collection, we honor the ancestral wisdom, talent, and perseverance Julie found in the people of Haiti." From

Want more inspiration? We love this article that calls out Upcycling of runway shows with high-end designers showcasing their upcycled designs. See their collections here


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