Up-Cycling: "Rien ne se perd, tout se transforme"

Up-Cycling: “Nothing is lost, everything is transformed”

Upcycling is becoming more and more common in the fashion industry. In this article we will talk about the impact of fashion on the environment. We will also see what is upcycling? What are the advantages ? And how I envision it through my creative process.


The term refers to the action of recovering existing fabrics or clothing that are no longer used. The idea is to promote them, by manufacturing clothes of better quality than their original state.

Putting it into practice is a bit tedious... You must first find the right fabric, check its condition, then clean it. Then comes the whole process of creating and designing the new part from the old one.

This process is one of the potential responses to the existential crisis of luxury which, by dint of multiplying its brands and offering the same products in the four corners of the world, has ended up losing the originality which characterizes fashion.

An alarming report

The fashion industry is the second most polluting in the world. Fast fashion leads to increasingly massive manufacturing; over the last three years, clothing production has increased by 20%. A woman buys on average 30 kg of textile per year, less than a quarter is recycled. In fact, there are 160,000 tonnes of recycled clothing for around 700,000 tonnes of purchases. The equivalent of 442 million euros of clothing is thrown away each year. We still have progress to make in terms of recycling.

This whole way of consuming and wasting generates pollution of water and air with greenhouse gases and endangers the health of people who produce in increasingly precarious conditions.

Pioneering creators

Even before we were concerned about the health of our planet and we could imagine that the fashion industry could be responsible for environmental disasters, in 1990, Martin Margiela presented a collection made from franprix plastic bags . Subsequently, it will even launch a completely recycled “line 0”.

A little more recently, in 2013 the Andrea Crew brand offered entirely recycled collections, while the environmental cause is not yet at the heart of our priorities.
It was with the arrival of Marrie Serre in 2017 when she won the LVMH prize that everything became more democratic and accelerated.

Me and recycling

When I was 6 or 7 years old, I spent entire afternoons in my grandmother's attic rummaging through my aunts' old clothes. Then I cut them out, painted them or sewed them into clothes that I liked.

Later, during my fashion studies, I used a lot of second-hand fabrics and clothes. I liked it and I especially saw a financial side. In 2012, ecology was not at the center of our concerns and using second-hand materials for ecological reasons was not really acceptable. So I had a much more poetic argument, where each recycled piece told a story to be kept alive through a new creation.

In one of my study projects to translate the idea of ​​an exoskeleton, of protecting oneself while revealing oneself, I used my old painting coat (which I used during my studies in applied art and which was none other than an old work shirt from my father).

For my end-of-studies collection, I recreated a material made entirely from an assembly of scraps of fabric that I had carefully collected and kept throughout my studies to symbolize the different stages of life that build our personality.

Little by little, I began to accept more and more the ecological reasons for my work, I created collections of unique pieces made from second-hand clothing and then, in November 2019, launched a Ready to Wear collection. made from second-hand fabrics from fashion houses.
Creating unique pieces from second-hand clothing is very tedious, because each item of clothing must be unstitched, cut up, deconstructed to be re-assembled differently, each piece requires special thought that cannot be delegated. There is a very poetic side to this work where you can choose the garment you want to transform; for example, making a shirt from your grandfather's pants. (The shirts below are made from pants). In my creations, I like to keep an element of the basic garment to continue to bring it to life through the new garment.
The launch of the ready-to-wear collection allows me to create limited series collections and have the collection produced by other people in the future.
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