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Upcycling seems to have flooded the fashion industry, encouraging many brands to enter the sustainable theme. Vintage clothes, recycled materials, and warehouse stock are just a few of the key players in this new eco-friendly fashion narrative.

How does it work? Designers draw on their creativity to create new garments through a process of creative recycling. In fact, through the reworking of old materials, which can be used clothing, furnishing fabrics or scraps, clothes are created with a new stylistic code, without impacting the surrounding environment. Thanks to the addition of accessories, bangs or different colors the new garments become exclusive and unique pieces.

In addition to individual capsule collections created by established brands to approach the sustainable theme, there are brands that make upcycling their core business. Here are some, of different styles and sizes, that adopt this philosophy:


From the Latin word “moderare”, upcycling brand Modero Studio bases its brand on the antithesis of fast fashion. The brand embraces the idea of circularity giving special attention to safeguarding the environment and recreating a story from the already used. Founded by a young designer, the brand is identified as genderless and focuses on the reconstruction of oversized blazers and suits Made in Italy. Men’s jackets with Modero Studio seem to acquire a new life and give uniqueness to the wearer.

Collina Strada entered the market in 2009 and since then has become a manifesto for sustainable development, increasingly including the spheres of environmental protection and social inclusion. In addition to vegan fabrics, the brand also uses waste and recycled materials from past collections and collaborates with non-profit foundation OR buying kilos of t-shirts in a second-hand market and then transforming them into new clothes with bright colors and surreal shades that highlight a vision eccentric and “brave”, but above all sustainable.

The brand Béhen revisits the concept of upcycling with the desire to tell hidden stories and realizes, in fact, the garments through the use of old fabrics such as curtains, old bedspreads, sheets and grandmother’s trousseau. Designer Joana Duarte gives a contemporary language to old tales, creating, for example, embroidered bodices that evoke a sense of nostalgia, creating all products Made in Portugal.

From blazer reconstructions to bodices with old outfits, even denim is revolutionized. Sean Barron and Jamie Mazur give it a new life, reassembling used models of Levi’s jeans from the 50s and 90s, found in flea markets, to create new looks through a sustainable approach, from production to packaging. The result is unique and exceptional garments characterized by exclusive details that make them irreplicable.

The Vernisse brand, founded in 2019, bases its philosophy on the concept of circular economy, presenting exclusive limited edition garments that do not follow seasonal trends, but reward quality instead of quantity. Each piece is custom created, using vintage, antique and unused fabrics found in antique stores in order to pass the garments down from generation to generation. Collaboration with small family-owned businesses allows for the creation of custom products that embody the concept of slow fashion and enhance tailoring techniques.

Protecting the future by drawing from the past is the philosophy on which the brand Bennu is based, which recovers vintage garments or unsold stock to reinterpret them and make them reborn, just like the name of the brand itself, which derives from Egyptian mythology and is identified as the symbol of a phoenix rising from its own ashes. The garments are exclusive numbered pieces, which through the addition of bangs or other similar applications, give rise to a process of change that the customer can make his own and divulge through a fashionable blazer.

Founded in 2019 between Copenhagen and Mexico City, Havre Studio proposes vintage, recycled and reused models, aiming to guarantee garments worn for years with excellent quality and to reduce the emissions caused by the excessive consumption of clothes. By extending their life cycle, these garments, which come mainly from Mexico City, can guarantee exclusivity, but at the same time design and product quality without harming the planet.

In short, reuse, repurpose and recycle are words that seem to have become established in the industry, leading upcycling to become a real trend.
In addition to supporting a no-waste philosophy, this process allows for the creation of unique and original pieces, with which consumers can differentiate themselves from the crowd.

If the art of customization has depopulated, it seems that upcycling is becoming its heir!

by Giorgia Dallasio
6th May, 2022