Up-cycle your world – HemensleyPosted: May 24, 2011
The concept of “upcycling” is a process of upgrading used material, making it more desirable than it was at the start. Upcycling is a procedure akin to recycling in which waste material and worn out goods are reprocessed directly into new products of higher value. In normal forms of recycling the opposite is usually the case; recycling is usually “downcycled”. This happens when recycling product components and they turn to lower forms of raw material. Up-cycling is more than just recycling. It is hugely popular and can be very artistic. I landed 119,074 results for up-cycled products on the crafty diy site ‘etsy’.
A beautiful example of up-cycling for the benefit of our environment and communities is ‘Bead for life’ in Uganda. Bead for Life not only makes jewelry out of a recycled material, nor does it stop at teaching business skills to women in Uganda in the process—it’s also striving to be a carbon-neutral operation The beads are made from almost any kind of used, stiff paper—old cardboard, cereal boxes, posters, etc.—that they find as trash or collect from a local printing business. Women learn to turn this into a resource and roll it into paper beads and make jewelry out of it.
Another example is Galit Begas, an Israeli designer, who was sick of seeing plastic bags polluting our world and decided to gather these pesky things up and make something with them. Free, waterproof, readily available and brightly coloured… why, they’re the perfect raw material for shoes! Wrapped around an insole, the plastic bags are heated gently to help them retain their shape whilst keeping them flexible and comfy. They are on display as part of the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design Jerusalem’s Thinking Hands show during Milan Design Week.
In the art world the artist Duchamp (Dadism), with his work the Bicycle Wheel and the Urinal, was leading in the concept of upcycling and a great inspiration for all.
Carmina Campus is a brand (designed by a previous Fendi designer) that creates really expensive bags all made out of pieces of different things as shower tubes, tapestry, bottle caps, crochets, all put together.
Maison Martin Margiela is a master of up-cycling. Best known for its tastes for ‘transgression‘ and ‘deconstruction‘. A graduate of Belgium’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts and a former assistant to Jean Paul Gaultier in Paris, Mr. Margiela was among a group of designers from Antwerp who caused a shift in fashion in the late ’80s by tearing apart and reassembling garments at the seams, introducing techniques that would have a lasting impact on everything from streetwear to haute couture. He has shown coats reconstructed with a sock at the elbow or sleeves protruding from the front and back; jackets with the sleeves turned inside out into capes; i love the bag jacket with its obvious handle down its back. These works are an example of artistic garments. Margiela’s upcycled garments are highly exclusive, very fashionable and ridiculously, they represent the top of the fashion industry. Remade in such way that they leave the consumer cycle forever.