Worn trash or fashion made from recycled materials?

I often search the web for new talent that transforms recycled materials into fab fashions. Again I found mostly only pictures from "trashion fashion shows" presenting dresses and other garments made from ... just trash. Literately. How on earth is the wider audience ever going to change their views on recycled fashions if we keep displaying garments made from plastic bags/magazines that might look inventive for a second on the runway but that no one in their right mind would ever wear in public...? You tell me. I´m sure all those plasticbag-dresses would look great on a Vogue/Elle editorial but WOULD SOMEONE BUY OR WEAR THEM?

We live in a world of sales and marketing. I believe the cause of sustainable fashion and using recycled materials is a very important issue, but in order to get other people and especially those fashion-people see what you see it has to be presented the right way. It must sell. We have to show the fashion consumer that making fashion ourselves can result to something more unique and beautiful than they could ever find in a regular shop.

Concentrate on the design rather than creating just gallery-pieces or preaching about the ethnical side. The thing most recycle-designers need to concider is that "can this garment/item be sold?", "will someone pay to wear this?" or "what would my not-recycle-oriented fashion-loving friend think about this?". Unless you´re Mr. Martin Margiela, the king of trashion, I suggest you think about this. Get that WOW-effect in to your designs.

I have a mission to prove that recycled fashion does not mean "wearing your garbage", but that you are able to create amazing, design-like (and wearable) fashions by using discarded materials. You know that you´re on the right track when you have this convesation with someone seeing you designs for the first time:
- "That dress is amazing".
- "Thank you. It´s made from 60 ties..."
- "..What? I did not notice any ties!"
- "Look closer."

Outi Les Pyy

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  1. Hear, Hear! That's why you're my fav trashionista.

  2. Ugh, yes, I have a love/hate reaction to those shows and garments. They're cool, they're inventive, and they totally muddy the waters when I'm looking for inspiration for real, wearable recycled clothing.

    I also suspect that some of those outfits require substantial new-material base-layers to make them work, so they consume just as much new material as a regular garment.

    (Love reading your blog, by the way!)

  3. Hi!! First off let me say that it took me forever to be able to post this comment because I unfortunately can't understand the (Finnish?) links below your posts so I had to randomly click on all the links until I got the right one!! haha!

    I came across your blog a few weeks ago and have reading it avidly ever since. I am so glad you often post in English! I very much enjoy your informative tutorials and your projects.

    Anyway, I think that you really make a great point in this post. I am doubtful, however, that the mass marketed fashion industry will ever fully catch on to the use of recycled materials - except perhaps the real couture, and a few select products - too much depends on making $$$. That, I believe, is the crux of the problem. Yes, sales and marketing are vital but in the end everyone just wants to make a lot of money, and you just can't do it the same way with recycled materials - for example, in the US we have been recycling bottles and cans for years, but we are still limited to very specific types of plastics that we are able to recycle. I think it will probably be the same way with trashion - there may develop a few select avenues of mass marketed recycled clothing - denim is probably one that would be more easily assimilated, but my guess is that it will still remain a small proportion of the total market.

    Not to say that I think the value of recycling materials is diminished in any way - I think it's amazing and aspire to do my own projects in the near future - perhaps I am being a pessimist!!

  4. Thanks guys! Know that I´m writing this only for you :)

    Hayley, you´re right, recycled fashions can never achieve the same kind of market status that for factory made brands. I work for a major fashion label so I understand the production costs aso. But I think there is always room for improvement in DIY business. I think that craft-DIY-sustainable brands could be better and reach more basic-fashion consumers if they would spend a little more time on planning products and marketing strategies for the wider audience.

    Just imagine, if I could get some of my not-crafty-friends to buy just a few handmade items a year instead of all mass produced, that would be a little victory! At least in my mind. I try not to preach about my way of thingking, but to give people an "attractive and trendy" alternative to fashion consumtion. Let them do the math!