Today, when modern lifestyle is pushing people to ‘use n throw’, the concept of upcycled or refashioned garments is gaining popularity.
Words : KRITIKA DHAWAN
The world is giving its wardrobes a complete overhaul as it is churning out the old and making way for new fashion pieces. In such a scenario, upcycled apparels are becoming need of the hour. Refashioned garments are not just a growing trend but are also among the sustainable things people can do in fashion.
Do Clothes have an Afterlife?
Every season, you opt for new outfits and then you think they go out of fashion. It is not always that way. All the outfits you buy have an afterlife. If something doesn’t fit you or is stained then it can be refashioned. Yes, that is right, refashioning is a new rage in the fashion industry. The term that is used for this process is ‘upcycling.’ It is the way of processing an item to make it better than the original and of course, wearable.
Refashioning of cloth can be done both with pre-consumer and post-consumer waste. Karishma Shahani Khan, founder Ka-Sha Studio feels, “Upcycling is important to give pre-loved clothing or used materials a new lease of life. Value addition to materials perceived as unusable in their current state is the basic essence of upcycling. It is vital to ensure that materials and products do not just end up in landfills but are used as much as possible.”
The process of upcycling helps to reuse the material, such as scraps of upholstery, vintage gems and worn-out apparels in a creative and innovative way. “Upcycling allows designers to find more contemporary and desirable solutions to use this waste. Upcycling allows us to strike a balance between producing and reusing,” says Kriti Tula, creative director of upcycled-only brand Doodlage.
Repeating is not a Sin
People from all walks of life are showing an interest in repeating their outfits. They do not shy away from wearing the same outfit but with a twist, at various events. The Cannes 2018 saw Hollywood actress Cate Blanchett repeating her Armani Prive Gown that she wore for an award function in Los Angeles in 2014. Actresses in Bollywood are also seen following the trend. Fashion divas including Kangana Ranaut and Deepika Padukone chose to repeat their designer outfits at multiple events.
Many designers in Indian fashion industry have also added an upcycling wing in the studios. “With the focus of fashion on the idea of sustainability a lot of people are becoming more conscious. The possibilities are endless with upcycled fashion. Inspiration and material can come from anywhere to result in something that is functional and aesthetically appealing,” says team Karishma.
Ace-designers Abraham & Thakore have been creating outfits by piecing together waste fabrics with traditional techniques like patchwork or kantha. One of their evening-wear collections used sequins made from discarded hospital x-rays and film. “With millennials increasingly re-defining the luxury market, many fast-fashion brands will be propelled to start small sustainable lines and luxury brands will be convinced to change their ways of production and fabric choices,” adds Kriti.
A Hot Trend
Designers today are giving a luxurious twist to second-hand clothing. They are repurposing them to appeal to the socially conscious but fashion-forward consumer. Labels including Polo Ralph Lauren, Missoni, Vetements and others are looking for vintage stores whose garments can be refashioned. Italian label Missoni, in a recent runway show exhibited patchwork coat and loose-fitting patchwork trousers made with upcycled vintage fabrics. Designer label Viktor & Rolf crafted outfits from excess stock of German etailer, Zalando.
Delhi-based brand, Doodlage works with post-production waste from garment and fabric manufacturing factories in India mainly Delhi and around. They work to fix excess or waste fabric with panelling, patching and embroideries. Fabric once fixed for defects is put into production to create many short collections. Fabric waste is separated into light and dark coloured fabric scrap. Darker colours are processed to make small bags and accessories; while light coloured scrap is used to make paper for stationery products and packaging.
Ka-Sha Studio focusses on making conscious clothing. They try to keep an overall understanding of the circular movement of material they use from weaver to consumer. The idea is to be conscious of the both environmental and social sustainability.
As Deepa Reddy, founder The Open Trunk puts it, “Cutting down on unnecessary clothes and reinventing from the dead stock by simple hacks and DIYs are the two ways by which upcycling can be done, thereby changing the current scenario of fast fashion to a more organic way.”