Repurposed Materials in Fashion

Life Should Imitate Art -- Wear Your Principles
Aug 5, 2010 5:45 PM ET

ElegRoo Blog

What's greener than recycled? What eco-friendlier than bio-degradable? That's right -- REPURPOSED! Resources already dug, mined, extracted, combined, processed and delivered. Can't un-do those. But when the product/material has outlived its desirability, don't sent it to resource-sucking recycling and not, of course, to the landfill. Create a new purpose for it and continue using it!

Now Jewelry and fashion accessories may be small things in the grand scope of human consumption. But we love them. We wear them, front and center. We make statements of all kinds with them. Make a statement with repurposed fashion -- especially artisan fashion -- that art can repurpose and that life should imitate art!

That's why we, at, love bringing cutting-edge eco-fashion to the public eye, because it merges our favorite concepts: art with activism, creativity with conservation, design with doing good. Socially conscious designers are among the most imaginative and forward-thinking artists we know.

Among our most admired designers are those who can create something beautiful from items left over from <strong>industry</strong>. Whether it’s computer parts, spare tires or remnants from t-shirts — with the right set of skills, creativity, and ability to think differently, items once destined for landfills become uniquely fabulous works of wearable art!

One company that’s stood out in the industry-to-fashion spotlight has been [wired] and its lead designer, Melissa Kolbusz. Melissa says she doesn’t have to go far to find the materials for her cool jewelry: they’re all castoffs found within a mile of her Chicago neighborhood. Crafted from industry waste — including copper and steel wire, vodka bottles, rubber washers,  resistors and more — Kolbusz’s jewelry is at once tough and feminine, cutting-edge and whimsical. You'll never look at computer parts the same way again!

English Retreads designer Heather English uses recycled inner tubes to create her awesome repurposed-rubber handbags and accessories. In fact, each tire has about 60,000 miles on it before it becomes an English Retread masterpiece! These eco-chic, cool and durable items for men, women and pets are slick and stylish with a distinctive road-warrior feel. Naturally, they’re completely cruelty-free, vegan, and pose a low environmental impact.

Discarded t-shirt cuttings provide the colorful cotton nuggets used to make this flirty and fabulous “Miele” handbag by Be Sweet. Designed by South African fashion designer Adri Schulz, Be Sweet’s signature bags are handcrafted by the Xhosa women’s artisan collective in his native country. Hand-hooked from vibrant t-shirt castoffs and made with minimal machinery, these honeycomb handbags are as gorgeous as they are eco-friendly. As if that weren't enough, the women’s collective Be Sweet supports is an extraordinary organization that creates jobs and strengthens families and communities in South Africa.

Make a statement that Life can Imitate Fashion Art!