10_21_20 / Upcycled
Reduce, Reuse, Upcycle
A new generation of upcycling designers speaks out on the state of fashion and where we go from here.
Sebastian Albornoz de Ruffray is a Chilean designer who lives and works in Paris.
“The time has come to re-evaluate the meaning of couture. It’s a concept that evolves, and it needs to stay current. Couture is the most experimental side of fashion, where everything is put into question. Proportions are put into question; materials are put into question — maybe it’s time for designers to put themselves and the industry into question? Discarded garments and haute couture are concepts that do not normally go together, but I find that duality very inspiring. I came to the idea of ‘upcycled couture’ as a way to transmit my intention of pushing the boundaries of upcycling to a higher level. Upcycling is directly responding to an urgent need. The fashion industry has reached a critical point. It needs to find more sustainable ways of developing products and managing the incredible amount of waste it produces. Upcycling is an effective option for battling these current challenges.” PHOTOGRAPHY_ ANTHONY SEKLAOUI / STYLIST_ ALLY MACRAE / MODEL_ IRIS DELCOURT (VIVA)
Sophie Hird is a British designer who lives and works in London.
“My role in these times is hopefully to maintain some sort of positivity by being playful, funny, and a bit camp. This year has been so dark. If making a cowboy shirt out of old Newcastle United kits is going to put a smile on someone’s face, then I feel like I’ve done something good with my time.” PHOTOGRAPHY_ LOLA & PANI / STYLING_ WILLIAM BARNES / HAIR_ ELIOT MCQUEEN / MODEL_ SLIM
Sadie Williams is a British designer, animator, and artist who lives and works in London.
“I would like to magically eradicate a lot of the bullshit in the fashion industry! There is so much game-playing, so much spin, so many half-truths — especially with ‘green-washing.’ It’s so easy to lose sight of what matters — people, friendships, truth — and to behave mistrustfully, and, frankly, ruthlessly. Having said that, it does make you realize and feel grateful that there are so many deeply kind, talented, generous, and brilliant people in the business who genuinely want to raise each other up and move things forward. I’m always interested in juxtapositions: mixing sporty with feminine, tomboyishness with girlishness, decoration with simplicity, modernity with craft. I love scavenging for old, tacky, vintage things and then creating something original and special out of them. Fabrics, trim, charms, buckles, badges, buttons, deadstock — I always have a rich bank of stuff to play with when making something new. Upcycling to me is about taking something destined for the landfill or forever sitting in the attic and reworking it into something new and purposeful.” PHOTOGRAPHY_ JOE CRUZ / STYLING_ SADIE WILLIAMS / MODEL_ SADIE WILLIAMS
Lou de Bètoly_
Lou De Bètoly is a French designer who lives and works in Berlin.
“If I could change one thing about our industry it would be to stop mass production. There are different roles to be played by designers today. They are to rethink, to show new possibilities, to feel free to be creative, to be conscious, to lead the way out of the dead end of commercialism and to stop the repetition of mass production which results in a lot of waste. I love the idea of organized chaos, accretion, and transformation. My work is about twisting, deconstructing, and giving new life to what already exists and has been devalued. And integrating detailed handcraft. I aim for embellishment — a glamorous approach to upcycling.” PHOTOGRAPHY_ ANTHONY SEKLAOUI / STYLIST_ ALLY MACRAE / MODEL_ IRIS DELCOURT (VIVA)
Adam Jones is a Welsh designer who lives and works in London.
“I would like the industry to revert back to a time when skills were appreciated. I want people to value pattern cutting and sewing. I want a more genuine old-school, down-to-earth industry where designers craft and make. Almost every design idea is sparked from vintage material I’ve tracked down on eBay or Etsy or found at a boot sale or a charity shop. The materials I find dictate the garments. They’re upcycled using familiar graphics and patterns borrowed from the past, specifically from pubs and British homes of the 1970s. Outfits are patched together by hand into a contemporary look with roots in domestic, working-class Britain. It’s the idea of making use of found objects, of seeing the beauty in the mundane or the throwaway; it’s that D.I.Y., punk mentality. My job is to breathe new life into tired materials, to show that ‘luxury fashion’ can be made from what’s been discarded. I want to show people that they can look good wrapped in beer towels. I wouldn’t mind if people started making their own versions of what I do — go to your grandma’s house and see things with fresh eyes, see what tea towels she’s got lying around that could add to your look.” I’m always interested in juxtapositions: mixing sporty with feminine, tomboyishness with girlishness, decoration with simplicity, modernity with craft. I love scavenging for old, tacky, vintage things and then creating something original and special out of them. Fabrics, trim, charms, buckles, badges, buttons, deadstock — I always have a rich bank of stuff to play with when making something new. Upcycling to me is about taking something destined for the landfill or forever sitting in the attic and reworking it into something new and purposeful.” PHOTOGRAPHY_ DANIYEL LOWDEN / STYLING_ WILLIAM BARNES / GROOMING_ ELIOT MCQUEEN / MODEL_ LUCAN SONG (PREMIER)
Louise Lyngh Bjerregaard_
Louise Lyngh Bjerregaard is a Danish artist and designer who lives and works in Copenhagen.
“Personally, I feel it is the responsibility of the designer as communicator to break the fashion cycle as we know it, to reflect on the times we live in, to keep moving forward, to create a sense of utopia and freedom, and to take responsibility for the fact that fashion should be more than bestselling t-shirts and sneakers. Amongst other things, I use upcycling as a way to challenge the shape a garment should take, an aspect that keeps us ‘on our toes’ in the atelier. Our initial vision may be a dress or a tailored suit, but the limitations of available fabric push us to rethink and rediscover what that garment can and will be. Serious, free, experimental upcycling has the potential to be the new luxury.” PHOTOGRAPHY_ ANTHONY SEKLAOUI / STYLIST_ ALLY MACRAE / MODEL_ IRIS DELCOURT (VIVA)