Meet the Resourceful New Talents Placing a Premium on Upcycling
“Just because you use fabric that someone else has thrown away, it doesn’t mean you can do shit designs,” McDowell has said. Indeed, the recent Central Saint Martins grad’s sporty, directional looks crafted from discarded textiles (some donated by Burberry) have excited the industry and attracted fans like M.I.A. and Rita Ora. Sustainability started early for the fashion darling: At 13, he made a satchel from an old pair of jeans.
For his debut collection, Moscow native Leonid Batekhin utilized discarded printed Russian scarves (the type often found in souvenir shops). The designer, who’s based in New York and worked for Narciso Rodriguez and Matthew Adams Dolan, sourced the remnants from a factory three hours outside his hometown. The unisex pieces, among them voluminous blouses with detachable sleeves, speak to a desire for both practicality and longevity.
Emily Bode’s coveted fall collection is an upcycled ode to Americana, featuring cropped trousers fashioned from antique quilts, deadstock shirting, and reworked vintage flannel. Though it was presented as menswear, the collection is decidedly gender nonconforming— suitable for anyone with an eye for artful reimaginations of wardrobe staples.
The Stranger Things references were inevitable when label founder Kelcie Schofield’s upside-down denim designs went viral last summer. Schofield, an avid vintage shopper, handpicks retro jeans and reworks them into hybrid shorts and pants. With waistbands placed at the thigh or ankle, each one-of-a-kind pair leaves a major style impression—without the harsh environmental impact.