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What is Upcycling?

Mei Vintage

Posted on March 20 2012

via here

I had a déjà vu moment today when I woke up and checked my inbox.  I came across this inspirational article from Ecouterre.  The topic was about upcycling tips for emerging designers.  This particular article was a great reminder that upcycling as a method for creative fashion design can still be achieved and admired.

I started Mei Vintage with the vision of turning the old into something new.  The focal point of my design was to incorporate vintage kimonos and turn it into a unique collection of earthy timeless handbags.  At first it sounded like a simple idea, but the process turned out to be not so simple.  It was a challenge to find unwanted materials and keeping production methods as cost effective and sustainable as possible.  With a lot of research and determination, I finally had a clear vision.  The result was to use a combination of new, recycled and organic materials while keeping all production locally.  During this process, eco-designer Orsola de Castro has truly been a huge inspiration to me.   She has proven that upcycling can be a beautiful process and unwanted production waste can create a product of higher quality.  Here’s a recent article from Ecouterre highlighting Orsola De Castro and her 5 tips for designers seeking to reduce their waste footprint:
1.     Always know what is on offer before you start designing
2.     Follow your own waste stream
3.     No scrap is too small
4.     Ugly can be beautiful, too
5.     Finishing is the key to good design

From the scrapest of the scrap, I was still able to create something unique!  Like this cute dog collar from unused kimonos!

Checkout this video lecture from Orsola De Castro.  Btw, she has a lovely voice :) 


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