Skip to content

Refashioning the New Green

December 29, 2012


As far back as I can remember I have been a Refashionista. My first projects were from tablecloths until I discovered second hand clothing shops with their endless supply of material to refashion. I rarely buy new clothes.

Refashioning is not just for DIY at home any more. Refashioning, recreating, repurposing and upcycling of clothing is hitting the limelight and is becoming a necessity in the polluted world.  Refashioning is the new green.

Recycling old clothes is probably the ultimate eco fashion. It reduces waste and also the environmental impact associated with manufacture of new clothes. Tonnes of old clothes end up in landfill.  In the US alone, almost 11 million tonnes of textiles ends up in landfill. An Article that makes for interesting reading The Afterlife of Cheap Clothes gives further insight into the problem. H&M made the headlines earlier this year when it was accused of slashing and dumping unsold clothes in rubbish bags outside one of its outlets in Manhattan. (Ref) 

Perhaps the most famous Refashioned dress of all time is  Scarlett O’Hara's up-cycled emerald green velvet curtain dress from Gone With The Wind?

Perhaps the most famous Refashioned dress of all time is Scarlett O’Hara’s up-cycled emerald green velvet curtain dress from Gone With The Wind.

Recycling of clothes is nothing new and is perhaps as old as fashion itself. Recently however, the sales of vintage and second hand clothes have shown huge growth, and the rise of the reworking and refashioning of second hand and vintage clothing is especially increasing. The new designs keep a bit of the history of the clothing from which they were made but also give consumers something fresh and exciting. (Ref)

The desire to experiment with styles is also growing and eclectic styles rather than just a particular style is what the latest fashion trends incorporate. Women are looking for designs that contains unconventional aesthetics. Recycling, refashioning and upcycling is ideally suited to fulfil this trend. Many Fashion designers are coming up with very trendy designs for refashioned clothes, making refashioning one of the hottest trends for 2013.

The new trend does not only include refashioned clothes but also includes refashioned trash material.


Designer Karishma Shahani

Designer Karishma Shahani from India collection of upcycled fashion – “Yatra” is made from recycled plastic packaging mixed with natural fabrics like cotton, silk, linen and muslin that were dip-dyed using plants from a local market. (Ref)

Recycle, refashion, upcycle clothing

Designer Stefanie Nieuwenhuys

Designer Stefanie Nieuwenhuys created a collection of ‘biomimetic’ corsets, evening dresses, pants and accessories, working with a bio-waste firm to obtain discarded pieces of plywood which she laser-cuts into shape. (Ref)


Lia Griffith’s intricate paper couture - Refashion, upcycle, repurpose clothing

Lia Griffith’s intricate paper couture

Lia Griffith’s intricate paper couture,  Paper Couture’s creations, are made of recycled paper. So often prom dresses and other special occasion have dresses made at great expense that is only worn once, so why not make it from paper?


Isabelle de Borchgrave’s paper clothing. Details of dress of Queen Polyxene of Assie.

If you are still not sold on what you can make from paper just have a look at the incredible dresses by Isabelle de Borchgrave.

Pull Tab dress

Pull Tab dress

Pull Tab prom dress

Pull Tab prom dress

For more details see Teen Ink

Orsola de Castro

Though many designers now create ‘upcycled’ fashion from waste materials, Orsola de Castro is the first to do so on an industrial scale. When Speedo launched its LZR Racer swimsuit in February 2008, it was a sensation. But then in July 2009 Fina, swimming’s world governing body, banned the LZR on the basis that it gave its wearers an unfair advantage. The LZR would never be allowed again in a major swimming championship. The decision left Speedo with a significant problem: 18,000 obsolete swimsuits. They gave the swimsuits to Orsola de Castro, the founder of From Somewhere, an upmarket men’s and women’s fashion label specialising in off-cuts and ‘waste’. Rather than make sportswear out of the costumes, she crafted cocktail dresses.  de Castro saw glamour in the LZR fabric. ‘It holds you, it sculpts you, it has a shine, it gives you confidence: it’s heaven.’  Bottoms have been turned into elegant sleeves, and legs transformed into a pleated skirt. (De Castro had to devise a new language for her pattern-cutters: ‘de-bottoming’; ‘straight-leg-to-gusset cut’; ‘vertical tit split’; ‘horizontal tit split’.) (Ref)

 Orsola de Castro - Speedo refashion

Orsola de Castro – Speedo refashion

Up cycling Design by Gary Harvey

Up cycling Design by Gary Harvey

Image from Top Designers in Denver

It is not just clothes that are made from upcycling fashion waste , shoes and accessories recreations are also showing a great rise by designers.

refashioned shoes

Image from – Kingdom of Style – Recycled Record and Cassette Tape Saddle Shoes are hand cobbled in Guatemala with fair trade leather soles and recycled tire heals. They are a collaboration between WrecordsByMonkey and Sonic fabric, who invented and produce fabric made from recycled cassette tapes.

The Jeans Sandal Boots by DaniKshoes are Pants for the Feet

Zipper Bracelet by Dara Gerson and Ashley Lowengrub

Bag made from refashioned Blazers

Save the Planet –  Refashion, recreate, repurpose and upcycle

refashion for Victory

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: