There are currently enough denim jeans in the world to never have to produce another pair. But that doesn’t mean that they’re all still on-trend. So what do we do with those circa 90’s hipster jeans? We upcycle!
Upcycling is a creative way of reusing old materials while reducing your carbon footprint. It is a way to participate in the world of fashion but through a more sustainable lens.
On that note, let me introduce you to some of the talented new designers who are upcycling denim.
Seasonless, gender-neutral, and size-inclusive, the London-based E.L.V. DENIM takes discarded jeans and saves them from landfills by reworking them into modern, timeless pieces. Sourced in the UK, they are not only zero waste but pledge to ensure that all material used has zero impact on the environment.
“Sustainability is the ultimate part of what I do. We live in a very aesthetic world, so a successful brand has to marry carefully the two of them together.” — Anna Foster, Founder
The Eastern European brand has been representing fair fashion since 2011. They began rethinking pre-loved fabrics after going to local vintage markets and sourcing the materials. Kseniashnaider proves that fashion and sustainability can go hand-in-hand, combining reworked materials with eclectic cuts.
“As a designer, it is important for me to create clothing not only with organic and vintage materials but also cutting-edge designs. After all, people, especially those coming from the post-Soviet generation, are still not buying something just because it is good for the planet. They want something that they believe is cool and makes them look good” — Ksenia, Co-founder
Graduating from Central Saint Martins, Alexandra Armata is an upcycle designer to watch. Her truly unique collection, 30 Jeans in 30 Days, is an experiment in upcycled denim, which draws inspiration from Martino Gamper’s 100 Chairs in 100 Days. The beautiful collection is made from 70 pairs of locally sourced used jeans, deconstructed and turned into the new high-fashion designs.
‘Despite their ubiquity, jeans can take on many new lives and can precisely represent the beliefs and lifestyle of the wearer. This project reassesses what is considered valuable in a pair of jeans and appreciate garments beyond their intended lifespan.’ — Alessandra Armata
Fade Out Label
The edgy Italian-born, Berlin-based brand is oversized, unisex, and sustainable. Fade Out Label, designs by the formula: design, recycle and create an unrepeatable garment. Deconstructed vintage denim is vital to their collection as each piece is pieced together like a mosaic to make a one-of-a-kind piece.
“We do not believe in the timelines of the fashion system but in timeless creativity and in the originality of every single idea and item, so we create permanent collections to which new items are added every season.” — Fade Out The Label
Based in East London, Alzang Studio is for fashion lovers who are looking for fun and cute clothing but not at the expense of the planet. Everything in their Alzang earth range uses exclusively recycled eco or locally sourced fabrics. A versatile brand, Alzang has upcycled denim jeans, bags, shoes, hats, and dresses, each sporting fun and playful vibe.
We create a small batch and made-to-order statement pieces crafted in our studio in East London. We’re for girls falling out of love with fast fashion, who want to shop cute, fun clothing in a more responsible way.’ — Alzang
This Ukraine-based brand is making patchwork denim jeans, jackets, and jumpsuits from discarded denim. Fashion-forward and on-trend, he sources the materials himself and makes sure that everything down to the packaging is zero waste. Grey Dr is an up-and-coming upcycle designer; keep your eyes peeled for more.
“For me, upcycling is the reduction of emissions of textiles into the environment. Lots of used clothes are of great quality and can be used for something new.”- Grey Dr
By Hannah Standen, Co-Founder of Looped