Less but better: upcycled wardrobe classics to invest in now
Acne Studio’s, Emporio Armani, Levi’s and Ellery are transforming deadstock fabrics and yarns into unique, sustainability-minded silhouettes
Buy less, buy better has been a popular mantra in recent years, and one which at Wallpaper*, we’ve always aligned with. It’s a phrase which has gained more momentum in 2020, as the pandemic has encouraged us to rethink the frenetic pace in which the world lives and consumes. This winter, we recommend investing in wardrobe classics, which when created from upcycled fabrics and yarns, are not only timeless they’re environment saving too. Here are the brands for bolstering your sustainable shopping spirit.
‘We wanted to do something positive with our excess materials, which we have left over after production in the factories we work with in Asia and Europe,’ explains Acne Studios Jonny Johansson of the brand’s newly launched Repurposed collection, which sees deadstock fabrics transformed into new pieces. For the first drop, the Swedish brand has taken materials from a tailoring and denim factory – located closely to each other geographically – and repurposed black denim, leather, tweeds and zips, into spliced and diced tailoring, shirting and jeans. The refined collection revels in fabrication, with a blazer formed a patchwork of tweeds and tailoring fabrics, and celebrates the graphic ways in which materials can be reconstructed. ‘I love that the collection feels very purposeful, like these pieces have a reason to exist. It’s very positive in the intention behind the collection, and also in the design.’
‘Yes to Recycling’ was the phrase emblazoned on the walls of the brand’s brutalist Teatro Armani space at the opening of its A/W 2020 runway show. The sustainable slogan was a nod to Emporio Armani’s R-EA capsule collection, an offering of monochromatic urban essentials, crafted using regenerated, recycled and organic materials. The collection features snuggly quilted outerwear, cropped tailoring, backpacks and berets, peppered with the R-EA logo. Pieces are crafted using a wool from the Prato region of Italy, made from local pre-consumer textile scraps, plus recycled nylon and polyester, created from waste including fishing nets and plastic bottles. It’s a yes from us.
Ellery and Duran Lantink
Last year, burgeoning Dutch designer Duran Lantink collaborated with famed London boutique Browns, cutting and shredding the retailer’s surplus warehouse stock and transforming these fabrics into unique pieces. Now Lantink has embarked on his first collaboration with a single brand, working on a limited edition capsule collection with Paris-based Ellery, which sees 150 archival garments, from sequin columns dresses to trench coats, reworked into new designs. ‘Throughout the entire process, the greatest pleasure for me was watching Duran bring the pieces a new, positive energy,’ founder Kim Ellery says of her idiosyncratically fluid and architectural designs, which have been given new flounce and form. The offering features a herringbone coat frothing with flamenco ruffles, and a loose shirt with a sleeve sprouting accordion pleats. Adds Ellery, ‘With his hand came new work, garments both unique and precious.’
‘Repair, Reimagine, Recycle’ are the buzzwords behind Levi’s latest sustainability-focused initiative, newly launched at its Levi’s Haus concept store in central London. The upcycling-focused space allows customers to bring their favourite time-worn denim in-store, where expert tailors will patch and stitch it into shape, invest in deadstock jeans which have been dip-dyed into unique colourations by textile company Indigowares, or purchase items, from tote bags to bucket hats, which have been spliced and diced from waste denim, sourced from Levi’s collections and customer donations. ‘While recycling technologies continue to be improved and refined, we can make an impact now by encouraging consumers to rethink how they shop. Old is new, and that’s the future,’ says Richard Hurren, vice president of retail, Levi’s Europe, of the initiative. §