Much of what we have to say about the ethics of fashion originates from socially responsible means of production. Upcycling is an unprecedented practice that has made its way to sustainable textile processing.
More on that in a minute…
This blog post, credited to LooptWorks, does a remarkable job defining and distinguishing upcycling from other sustainability efforts. Recycling and downcycling, which are often perceived as standard sustainability practices, work by converting unused, excess material back into raw material. Upcycling differs from this in that such material is not broken down, but directly utilized in the creation of new apparel. This is not only environmentally friendly, but also preserves the value and quality of the original product.
To illustrate the relevance of upcycling in the fashion industry, consider the use of “swatch cards” by design houses. In The Fashion Designers Textile Directory, Gail Baugh discusses how some brands take in and discard approximately 4,500 swatch cards per fashion season. To give some context, swatch cards are to designers what paint swatches are to painters.
As a response to the wastefulness of this practice, Elizabeth Brunner founded Piece x Piece. As a fashion designer, Brunner pioneered the upcycling of swatch cards by incorporating their use into her clothing line. In each of her creations, Brunner attempts to focus on the intricacies of naturally dying and designing each of her pieces. The results are unique pieces, which sustainably embody fine art.
How would you feel wearing an original piece of clothing dyed from elements, such as avocado skin and tumeric?!
We are most definitely intrigued!