If you want to see upcycled fashion at its most creative, wacky, and fun, then you’ll definitely want to check out trashion, a movement featuring the fusion of artistic fashion + environmental message. These eco designers are looking for ways to turn trash into interesting (though not always functional) fashion, and they’re turning up all over the world.
Take the TRASHION Exhibit being held at the Hammond Indiana Welcome Center from June 3 to July 22, 2012, for example (you can visit virtually via their Facebook page if you’re not in the neighborhood). The exhibit is meant to bring together green designers who reuse, recycle, and upcycle items into garments and artwork that get people thinking about their waste and their fashion. In the mix at the Hammond exhibit is a skirt made from Wonder Bread plastic bags, a men’s Negative-a-Tee top made using refashioned 35 mm film negatives, and a corset created out of an old deck of playing cards.
While many of the pieces are out of this world, there are some fashion treasures that are truly beautiful and unique. Apparently 99% of the pieces can be worn and have been seen on the runway, with some meant more for display. Lauren Lein, a couture designer from Chicago, has even entered a $10,000 gown called Wind Dress.
Why Upcycling Matters to Eco Fashion
- Fewer virgin resources: The average American tosses 4.5 pounds of trash every day – a trend that’s common throughout the developed world. Many of the items in a typical waste bin can either be recycled or upcycled into new products, which reduces the need to extract virgin resources from the planet. That protects forests, saves wildlife, and helps prevent pollution and ecosystem degradation.
- Less litter: When trash is turned into upcycled fashion, the size of our landfills shrinks. And more importantly, less waste is found littering the planet.
- Saves energy: Creating eco fashion from already-existing resources requires much less energy than making products from brand new materials.
Green Actions to Support the Upcycled Fashion Industry
- Raise awareness: Search online to find trashion communities in your neighborhood. They’re popping up everywhere and they just may have upcycled fashion you want to call your own. Or start your own trashion exhibit or group if there are none yet in your community to raise awareness about waste and get people excited about upcycled fashion.
- Buy upcycled: Seek out recycled, secondhand, and upcycled fashion when looking for that next top, handbag, or evening gown.
- Reduce waste: Trim the size of your trash bin in your everyday life to help reduce your consumption of resources and protect the wild spaces of our planet.
Go Deeper – Join the Trashion Movement
- Find out more about designers who are trashioning their way to interesting eco designs via the Flickr TRASHION NATION Group.