It is a common consideration to believe that the ‘small’ amount of unsound household waste each individual produces, creates such a minimum impact on the world. But if you take into detail there are approximately 7.4 billion people in the world, this number becomes horrible. The amount of unsound waste generated and disposed of, in the United States alone, is measured to be 7.6 billion of tons per year! Most of the wastes that are filling our oceans and landfills are enduring for quite a long time. And what is the saddest part? The fashion industry is one of the most wasteful industries. Undoubtedly, in the last 15 years, this glorious industry has doubled its production, but at the same time, the concept of wearing clothing before it is thrown away has declined by 40%. An average consumer throws away 70 pounds (31.75kgs) of clothing per year! Globally about 13 million tons of textile waste is produced each year. These trends of making waste are not only killing our planet or impacting on public health, but also they are bounding the opportunities for the fashion industry to succeed in the distant future.
The Story of The Rise of The Phoenix- An Invisible Bond with Modern Fashion
According to Greek Mythology, it is said, the glorious ancient bird Phoenix is capable of its rebirth. A Phoenix is said to live only once at a time. When the time comes, unlike any other birds, a Phoenix would die by setting itself on fire, only to produce mysterious ashes. The ashes from where a new Phoenix would be born! Thus, a new and powerful Phoenix regenerated from the silver ashes of its predecessor.
Modern fashion activists can relate to this concept of rebirth and regeneration. The wastes produced from the industry can be depicted as the new definition of ashes and of course, the upcycled creations from these wastes would be our new Phoenix! Nonetheless, the household or textiles wastes can be the opportunity to make new fashion and be the new hope for saving the planet.
10 Fashion Brands to Regenerate New Designs from Waste
Many fashion brands have already been working on waste and designing out of it in an innovative way. Let’s get to know some of these fashion brands and how they challenge waste to create sustainable fashion!
Ecoalf, a fashion brand of Spain produces clothing and accessories from recycled materials. Their main motto is to use a lesser amount of natural resources and utilize high amount of plastic wastes. Hence, they recover nylon waste (fabric scraps, fishing nets from the oceans and carpets), plastic bottles, cotton, coffee grounds and more to create fabrics and products. But its main target is recycling plastic waste collected from the bottom of the oceans. Ecoalf definitely contributes themselves in the production of garments made out of 100% recovered plastic as they claim, “There is no planet B where we can live in.”
Collina Strada is a clothing brand created by Hillary Taymour, whose main concern is sustainable fashion while still keeping their individuality. This brand makes brightly colored dresses with unusual designs from deadstock fabrics. It recycles cotton T-shirts, water bottles and prints on deadstock too. Besides, it works for reducing waste, the brand focuses on incorporating innovative new materials such as fabrics made from rose petals which is known as Rose Silk!
Image 2: A vibrant Collina Strada creation for PreFall Season 2021.
Hotel Vetements is a French-Danish love affair by the Danish Fashion Designer Alexandra Hartman. The journey started with the transformation of high-quality yet old curtains to sophisticated pieces of modern clothing. Moreover, the brand creates upcycling, artisanal apparel not only from forgotten curtains and upholsteries but also from hand-embroideries, linen textiles, tablecloths, cotton sheets from provence and much more. As a result, each garment has their own style of vintage effect. More so, no two items are similar. They support uniqueness and imperfection of each beautiful artifact.
Zero Waste Daniel
Zero Waste Daniel is the first company making 100% zero waste apparel. This company uses pre-consumer waste sourced from New York city’s garment industry and other hard-to-recycle materials to make genderless clothing and accessories with artistic creations. Many of their unisex garments are textile off-cuts produced by the fashion industry. These off-cuts are stored in tiny jars and later used to be used in the making of casual wear garments. The brand, hence, recreates textile by products as well as inspire people to rethink about waste and reduce their impact.
ZWD storage of scraps of fabrics in tiny jars. Courtesy: Vincent Tullo for The New York Times
Established by Indian daughter of a garment factory owner, Iro Iro is a sustainable design practice where each product gets new life from pre-consumer waste fabric. Then, this fabric is woven by hand outside of Jaipur into a rich textile fabric. Artisans take advantage of this handwoven, upcycled textiles to create ingenious clothing and accessories through zero waste cutting techniques. During the processing, Iro Iro establishes the essence of Indian craftsmanship and tradition.
Anna Foster, a Stylist and Creative Director, is also the founder of E.L.V. Denim. This brand upcycles unwanted jeans and jackets and transforms them into modern sophisticated pieces of clothing. Their recycling journey starts by taking unwanted jeans from warehouses around the United Kingdom. Then the washing process starts using a local East London launderette called Cleanex run by Korosh Murad. This washing process is vital which removes unnecessary materials from the discarded pieces of denim. Cleanex is well known for using only 7liters of water to wash the fabrics, where a brand new pair of manufactured jeans would require 7000liters! After washing, the denims are measured and sorted for the atelier. All the jeans are cut manually and made by using traditional denim methods. Even the labelling has their concept of sustainability. The labels are made from scraps of unused pieces of leather, ensuring the zero-waste policy! Thus E.L.V. completes their mission of preparing neoteric sustainable dresses without environmental pollution, assuring what the designer, Anna Foster, herself quoted-
“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.”
Image 4: Anna Foster with waste denims collected throughout UK. Courtesy: elvdenim.com
Kriti Tula is a designer, also the Founder of Doodlage Retail. She and her Doodlage team upcycles industrial waste fabric into wearable fashion, upholstery and accessories. According to the article of Reverse Resources, about 12 million tons of post-consumer textiles are available to be reused and upcycled. Relating to this concept, Doodlage generates pieces from tattered textiles and materials found. Therefore, they hunt for the ragged material first, and enter into the design process second. They collect all sorts and sizes of fabrics, from under 100 meters to very short ones. All the relevant fabrics are then mixed and matched with a follow-up of patching, embroidering and more. This is how Doodlage pieces are restored to life.
Christy Dawn is the founder of Christy Dawn. She and her husband launched the company. It consists of dresses made with only deadstock fabric. The question is, what is exactly deadstock fabric? Normally, deadstock fabrics are those that are old and unable to be sold. In modern era, deadstock fabrics particularly refers to all those that are left over from other fashion houses. Before they are thrown away in the landfill, Christy Dawn and team, rescues these deadstock fabrics and turn them into dresses. But one of the disadvantages they follow is that, when they use deadstock fabrics, they are limited in the number of dresses they can make, as there are not unlimited amounts of fabric to be used to make a full fashionable garment.
Designer & Surfer John Moore co-founded Outerknown with 11-time world surfing champion Kelly Slater. From their very start, this brand had a challenge to build sustainable products. The brand makes comfortable and casual beach style clothings rooted in longevity and transparency. Over 90% of Outerknown’s products are made from organic, recycled and regenerated fiber and materials. One of their most amazing route to sustainability is the use of Econyl! Econyl is a type of nylon made entirely of wastages. Since Outerknown is highly inspired by beach styles, due to the inspirations collected from the 2 surfer co-founders, this brand collects fish nets to turn them into econyl fibers. It is one of their fascinating ways to clean the ocean!
Famous S.E.A Jeans by Outerknown- an outcome from 98% organic cotton that lasts long. Courtesy: outerknown.com
The founders of Insecta are Pamela Magpali and Barbara Mattivy. It’s a Brazilian shoe label that transforms fabrics and prints from vintage clothing into vegan footwear. Not only that, this brand is highly known for their application of plastic bottles in the manufacturing process! Insecta makes awesome fashion lines that includes shoes, desert boots, sandals and Chelsea boots using recycled plastic, unwanted rubber and second-hand textiles materials.
Image 6: A printed Insecta shoe made entirely out of plastic! Courtesy: shopinsecta.com
It is certain, any upcycled textile reduces the chance of negative environmental impact. Anything that is made out of waste, now is a new way of thinking and creating fashion in a different manner indeed, just like a Phoenix would start its life anew!
By Team Bespoke,
Mentor: Tasphia Zaman (TFD 44, ID: 2018-1-6-009)
Leader: Khadiza Sharmin (TFD 45, ID: 2019-1-6-015)
Executive: Nahema Haque Khushe (TFD 46, ID: 2020-1-6-002)
In the journey of sustainability, Fashionnovation found a lot of like-minded and environmental friendly companies like Artientifique, a company that upcycles expired cosmetics and creates value added products. Reportedly, this is the first initiative in the world that utilized cosmetics for value added paintings. Fashionnovation communicated with the person behind this initiative and in this special article, brings the driving force behind her step to make the world a better place.
In this article, we will hear the story directly from the person behind ‘Artientifique’.
Once upon a time, a young girl was sitting at her dressing table and wondering what happens to the unwanted stock of expired makeup products, where does it go? There must be some stories that we don’t know, and she was firm to discover those.
The school girl started piling makeup from her peers, teachers and started creating wonderful paintings out of it. After years of practice and continuous improvement, she took her works live on social media. Do you know who is this girl? She is Aisha Javid Ali Mir, an Indian living in Madina city, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, well-known for her passion for space science and sustainable school projects.
Aisha Mir with her collected raw materials that she will use for her amazing paintings.
Sustainable Innovation, which helps us revive our nature’s beauty and perform our duty as a responsible global citizen. This would be a guilt-free investment in the art sector which would redefine our mindset towards environment-friendly products and encourage us to recognize them as our top priority.
Aisha creates exclusive paintings by upcycling old and expired cosmetics, this is her effort to save our home planet earth from marine biodiversity degradation. This initiative’s name is Artientifique, the name she signs her paintings with on the frames. Aisha says
“It basically means a person who practices art and science simultaneously, as I’m solving a scientist’s challenge in an artistic way, so I name myself an Artientifique.”
Painting done by Aisha Mir using expired makeup products. Photo courtesy: Aisha Mir, Artientifique.
What motivates you?
When I first started painting using old and expired cosmetics, I had one goal which is I want to see my planet full of life once again, fascinating and beautiful as if it got a makeover! I was the first artist globally to take cosmetic waste sticky, melting, and dry products from people and recreate them in an eco-friendly way to create paintings. The process and the cause were my crucial motivators that gave me momentum to continue and work harder to prevent more cosmetics from reaching the landfills.
What is your aim?
My aim through Artientifique is to showcase how beautiful and durable upcycled art can be, I want to redefine our mindset towards sustainable art, I want to show that they are way different than the conventional ideas of recycling.
How do you prepare such lovely works?
A lot of preventive measures while working with discarded cosmetics are required. I wear gloves, cover my nose if required, making sure no waste residues are left. Every cosmetic container like bottle or tube or palette needs to be cleaned first before upcycling the material inside it so that it becomes germ-free and safe to use.
I have separate dedicated tools which are not mixed with other regular tools, for extracting the material, designing motives, creating new textures, intensifying the color, and improving their durability. While working with one or two products, you may not feel the need to do all these, after all, it is your own makeup and you know its condition. But when I work in my art studio, I have to handle kilos of cosmetics, literally big boxes full of oozing foundation, and leaking nail paint, broken shadow palettes, and dry kohl. But when these products are given a new life as an exclusive painting to adorn our walls, they again demonstrate us that beauty is everywhere, we just need to search for it and value its presence.
Any food for thought for the readers?
I would like to end this with a food for thought. Please ponder on this question- while we are so concerned about what we put on our faces, shouldn’t we also think once what are we putting on our home planet’s surface?
You can reach out Aisha Mir at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Instagram: @artientifique_official and her website: https://www.artientifique.org.
If you have any initiative like Aisha Mir or have to say something to the world, feel free to contact us and get featured in Fashionnovation! oUR EMAIL ADDRESS: FASHIONNOVATIONFD@GMAIL.COM
As you have read the above article, you might also be interested to read the following!
What is Sustainable Fashion:
Sustainable fashion is a developing process of compliance change to fashion products, actually all over the fashion system as well as fashion industry. It can easily keep contribution towards greater ecological integrity & also can inspire us to be self-confident in fashion so that the elegancy of a person as well as the whole civilization can be expressed clearly.
If we want to describe the environmental impacts on sustainable fashion then we must have knowledge about fashion industry. Almost all the processes of making an apparel from fiber are conducted in an industry. And the whole process follows some steps consciously. Generally four steps are as follows:
1.Raw materials like fiber and yarns & other necessary elements are produced,
2.Fashion good are produced & designed by designers,manufacturers,contractors & others.
3.Giving a transparent idea of retailing sells.
4.Advertisement & promoting.
Environmental Hazards facing for fashion industries:
Its a bitter truth that the imperfect manufacturing process of those products which seem elegant to us, are responsible for many environmental issues. During high water usage, high chemical treatments used in weaving, dyeing or in other processes environment hazards are faced badly. And it’s actually a matter of concern that only 20% of clothing is recycled or reused and the rest are being wasted. It has been reckoned that only in UK around 350,000 tons of clothing ends up as dissipation every year. According to Earth Pledge, a non-profit organization committed to promoting and supporting sustainable development, almost 25% of the world’s pesticides are used to grow non-organic cotton & at least 8000 toxic chemicals are used to get textiles from raw materials. Another study shows that approximately 34.8% of microplastics are found in the oceans basically coming from textile industries. Microfibers are tiny enough & for that reason it can easily mix up with the wastes. So, by eliminating synthetic materials used in textile products & by following the three ‘R’s reducing, reusing and recycling, we can prevent harmful synthetics and microfibers from ending up in our environment.
But we can easily move on from these hazards by adopting sustainable fashion. Actually sustainable fashion works with a goal which concerns for saving our environment from any kind of negative footprint.
How sustainable fashion can help to solve environmental issues:
Conversation of Natural Resources by Sustainable Fashion:
By recycling products we can easily get back our natural resources & it can be hoped that we can get rid of annihilation of most important products of our nature. And it is a matter of hope that recycled fibers have been proven to be a much more sustainable option, as they solve the most concerned problems of waste management. A study from 2015 shows that to make clothes, 97% new resources are used, only 3% of it are recycled materials.
Reduction of dangerous Carbon Footprints:
The global fashion industry is responsible for global warming. Mainly using the clothes which are petroleum based and made from fossil fuels including polyester, acrylic & nylon are the reasons of environmental hazards. Actually these kinds of materials require more energy than the natural0000 materials. And which fabrics are made from sustainable wood pulp such as TENCEL and also natural fibers such as cotton, hemp, linen are biodegradable which can easily reduce dangerous carbon footprints.
Sustainable Fashion Safeguards Animal Lives:
An estimation showed that over 430 million animals per year are slaughtered & killed for only the leather industry. But sustainable fashion helps our animals because many of the clothes are made from sustainable wood pulp & also clothes of cellulosic, protein & mineral origins.
Requires Less Water in Sustainable Fashion:
Our textile industries, in present or in future, maybe unable to be built up beside or in those areas which have sufficient water. But water is a major resource for the fashion industry & the works of spinning, weaving, knitting, dyeing and finishing process can’t be done without water. How much water we need to have a apparel from the fibers can be said like this-to produce a single T-shirt, it takes an incredible amount of 2700 liters of water! Cotton is highly dependent on water, but is usually grown in hot & dry areas where water is a scarce resource already. On the other hand, organic cotton reduces water consumption by 91%. And if we say about sustainable fabrics, these fabrics require little to no water.
Fairer & Safer Working Condition is Introduced:
It’s a bitter truth that most of the inenarrable masters treat rudely with the workers. Endless working hours, unacceptable health & safety conditions have to be faced by those workers. But if sustainable fashion can be introduced broadly, this time duration can be decreased & also works will be enjoyable!
Healthier for People & Planet:
Almost everyone know about fast fashion but in fast fashion, intense chemicals are used which are actually harmful to health. Around 8000 different synthetic chemicals are used to dye, bleach and wet process garments. Those chemicals are so dangerous that they often cause severe diseases or even deaths among farmers and create acute birth defects on their children.
Some of these chemicals pose a real threat to our health because our skin absorbs anything we put on it even dangerous chemicals! But in using process of sustainable fashion, we don’t have to use those dangerous chemicals at all. So, it’s healthy enough for plants, animals as well as human beings.
Sustainable Fashion Reminds Us How To Love Our Clothes Again:
Everyone feels good when he looks at a gorgeous, finished piece of clothing in a store but forgets the background story of this nice work! It’s not actually our fault at all because we are not introduced with this sustainable fashionable products. And as a result we are unable to make a correct decision of buying anything related with textile. But when sustainable fashion will be introduced, we will be more conscious & get comfortable clothes by proper buying decision.
How Sustainability Can Save The Fashion Industry After COVID-19:
Already many questions have been arisen about the uncertainty of textile industry as well as fashion industries after this pandemic situation of COVID-19. Every sector related with textile is in uncertainty now. But sustainable fashion can do a great job in this case! It’s true that sustainable fashion has not spread its branches in all sectors but it can easily do that very soon. It will easily access in total textile industry as luxury, sport etc. However, it is more relevant than ever as a recent study finds the current crisis that all the textile industries can come back with a great profit by sustainable fashion after the pandemic.
Sustainable fashion will protect critical assets to survey the economic crisis. It can be hoped that sustainability will be an imperative for strong companies & also the entrepreneurs can work with it spontaneously after this pandemic. Sustainable fashion is actually the come back of some products with quality & durability at a time. Then coming to the point of getting facilities in business we can uphold the statement of Kate Heiny, sustainability director at Zalando SE. He said that after this COVID-19, sustainability will help us stay ahead of customers. Last of all we can hope that as it is very much helpful towards our environmental & social issues, so it will be granted unanimously by everyone!
The fashion industry needs to become more sustainable to fulfill the volition of the consumer need & expectations because almost all of the consumers are aware of environmental issues nowadays. So, by keeping in our mind about the pressure of the consumers & also business profits and all over to save our environment we should introduce, establish & start up sustainable fashion in our fashion industries as soon as possible.
Department of Environmental Science and Engineering
Bangladesh University of Textiles (BUTEX)
You can read another article of the same author: Textile Recycling: Reducing Waste and Promoting Circular Economy