Forbes India – Cigarette butts, oyster bags, airbags: the craziest objects transformed into fashion pieces


Image: Lea Rae Photography/Shutterstock

youRecycling is one of the ways the fashion industry tries to reduce the mountain of waste it generates each year, and thus reduce its impact on the environment. But upcycling can be surprisingly effective at transforming some of the most polluting everyday objects into highly desirable garments. Here are three that could inspire you ahead of Global Recycling Day.

Few fashion companies have not already jumped on the wave of upcycling, a process of transforming waste or unused objects into more attractive products or materials. It’s a form of recycling “from scratch”, as some ready-to-wear brands themselves say to describe the process. While several fashion houses and labels have made it their signature, such as Koché, others have quickly taken the plunge to give a second life to their fabric scraps. But lately, brands and start-ups have taken to creating upcycled pieces from ultra-surprising materials and products.

A down jacket made from cigarette butts

You can see them scattered on the ground in the biggest cities as well as in the smallest villages of France. Cigarette butts are a real polluting nuisance, with more than 23 billion thrown on the ground or in nature each year in France, according to the Ministry of Ecological Transition. They take several years to completely decompose, years which increase their impact on the environment, nature and the oceans. Faced with this observation, a French start-up has set itself a major challenge: to collect them and transform them into down jackets.
A French startup called TchaoMegot is behind this innovative idea.
Not content with simply making consumers aware of the pollution generated by cigarette butts, they collect them, most often burnt, then clean them using an ecological and neutral process, without toxic solvents or water, to get rid of any substance or odor. toxic. . The last step is transformation. The startup transforms cigarette butts into eco-designed insulation used in construction as well as for the padding of down jackets.

An it-bag made from oyster bags

The story of the Les Pochons brand, founded by Mathilde, began on the Cotentin coast in northwestern France. The brand aims to recycle bags of oysters that are often found on beaches.
The goal? Transform these polluting objects into fashionable handbags to wear in town or on the beach. The entrepreneur achieves this by collecting unused bags from oyster farmers, among other things.
Recognized for their durability, oyster bags are first completely cleaned before being offered a second life in handbags, shopping bags or satchels. In “raw” or colored form, the bags are designed in a limited edition “according to the nature of the materials recovered”, as can be seen on the official online store. Everything is handmade for a unique look. The brand is now working on collaborations, which add an even more fashionable touch to the design of each of the creations.

Airbags and windshields turned into shorts and hoodies

With its Re:Style project, South Korean automaker Hyundai has also embraced upcycling. For her latest collection, unveiled a few months ago, the idea was to transform materials from automotive manufacturing into a ready-to-wear collection, combining design and functionality. But Hyundai has not only used recycled materials, it has also introduced environmentally friendly materials, including organic PET and hanji, a traditional Korean paper found in the Hyundai Ioniq 5, to add a touch of comfort to clothing.

The result is a clothing collection including shorts, sweatshirts, hoodies and sweatpants made from airbags, windshields, seat leather, mats and seat belts. The collection is no longer available, but it should receive a new edition soon.

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