After all the hoopla from the recent New York, London, Paris, and Milan fashion shows, it is nice to get back to basics and think about what might be essential for tweaking the-olde-green closet. Granted there is some impressive sustainable technology currently being used in eco-fashion and greener garment production, but it is also nice to see a movement towards the tailoring of old-made-new materials via thrift store sifting and creative construction. A range of designers are recycling luxury fabrics into eco-chic creations, while others are transforming caste-off materials into totally edgy designs. We are not advocating dumpster diving per se, but in the spirit of Cradle to Cradle authors McDonough and Braungart, why not remake the way that we make things as well as wear them from start to finish?

Continue reading below
Our Featured Videos

London Fashion Week’s recent Estethica collection featured Inhabitat favorites like From Somewhere, who have proudly been designing with recycled materials since 1997, and surely stand out as a prime example of recycling gone upscale. Their one-of-a-kind, bespoke style dresses, skirts, and tops are constructed from a rainbow of vintage and second-hand materials – all with the clever stitchery of a Savile Row tailor. We love their super-comfy, slouchy dresses and jumpers for Spring ’08. They bring a hint of blush to any eco-chick’s cheeks with their flirty, slinky style and bold graphic color.

Ekologic, the upstate New York design studio, creates sexy cashmere dresses and form-fitting tops out of sweaters and cotton tees that are recycled from raw materials acquired from used clothing dealers (99% of the time from their local thrift store). The designers are ekologically inspired by the fact that their customers often send them their beloved but worn cashmere sweaters to recycle. Patrons love the idea that their grandmother’s sweater was recycled by Ekologic’s design team into something fresh and beautiful. “We tell the bulk of our fans to donate their items to their local thrift shop. If someone doesn’t purchase it, it eventually trickles down to us.”

Similarly, Vancouver-based designer Ashley Watson reworks worn, thrift store leather jackets into the hippest and most desirable shoulder bags, wallets, and vintage accessories. Whether or not leather is your thing, you cannot help but to admire the skilled artistry and exquisite construction of Watson’s recycled pieces. They are the green-IT-girl accessory for Spring ’08. Be sure to revisit out our link at the end of this article for Kaight NYC’s end-of-winter sale on some HOT Ashley Watson bags as well her new Murre + Plover Collection!

And one designer to watch on the trash to couture radar is San-Francisco-based artist, Julie Conway. Her red hot FULLCIRCLE’bioglass’ jewelry collection takes the dregs of wine, beer, and soda bottles and remelts them into simple but elegant pendants on cord. We love the trashy look when it takes on this dimension!

Sustainable Style, eco-fashion, upcycled, upcycling, recycled, accessories, illuminata, bioglass, jewelry pendant $70 at boutiques in the Bay Area. See the Illuminata website for details. + Ashley Watson (recycled leather jacket bags) + Ashley Watson bags at Kaight NYC + Ekologic (Spring ’08 Collection available online on Earth Day) + From Somewhere + Full Circle by Illuminata

+ Consider donating garments and clothing or starting your own eco-collection by visting Goodwill

Sustainable Style, eco-fashion, upcycled, upcycling, recycled, vintage, green, fashion, accessories, Estethica, From Somewhere From Somewhere’s recycled jersey/cotton dresses for Spring 08