Fashion brands making hand-me-downs cool

Written by Adam Bryce

Photography Supplied

Upcycled clothing is making a comeback but, this time around, it ain’t so stink.

The fashion world has, for some time, been under immense pressure to consider the environment and the effect is having on the world. The issues at hand are mainly centred around the sustainability of the materials and the waste created. Many brands have made inroads with the sustainability factor but waste is still very much a need-to-address-further issue. Globally, 13 million tonnes of textile waste is produced each year, 95 per cent of which could be reused or recycled.

Most of us can’t escape the need for ‘fashion’ in our lives but we need to be considered in how and what we consume. Upcycling has been an obvious solution for some time but, only in recent years, has it been adopted by brands capable of bringing a ‘cool’ factor to the fore.


Heron Preston
It wasn’t long after Preston started his namesake label when the streetwear icon approached the New York Department of Sanitation with an idea to upcycle used uniforms. With the desire to include a more meaningful message to streetwear’s somewhat-repetitive, surface-level narrative, the former Kanye West collaborator brought a sustainability sensibility to a young, influential crowd.


Martine Rose
A leader in the new gen of menswear designers taking the world by storm, London-based Martine Rose don’t suffer from an unsold stock situation. They do, however, hold the kind of clout that pins them a degree of responsibility around positive practices. So, what do they do? Just release a rad capsule collection (exclusively for retail store LN-CC) using only deadstock and off-cut material garments in the offering.


Lucky Dip
New Zealand designer, Tuhirangi Blair, brings with him a vast amount of knowledge from his time spent interning with Nepenthes NY fashion designer, Daiki Suzuki. With 100 per cent used materials in the mix, the protégé’s impeccable take on the DIY method is excellently delivered in a finely-tuned aesthetic, not unlike his incredible mentor. 


In recent INDEX news, we highlighted newly formed label, Bettter. The brainchild of acclaimed stylist and Vogue Ukraine fashion director, Julie Pelipas, it’s a collection of upcycled and re-tailored unisex suiting sold by the outfit.


Chopova Lowena
Central Saint Martins fashion school alumni, Emma Chopova and Laura Lowena bring an unexpectantly avant-garde elevation to the upcycling table. Juxtaposing references are blended with craft-like details, bringing a new meaning to bespoke haute couture.


A solo project by Creatures Of The Wind’s Chris Peters, CDLM was founded by the desire to create in a more thoughtful and sustainable manner. Launched in 2019, the brand embraces the material’s vintage beginnings with each upcycled garment proudly showing off its origins.


Bode New York
Bode New York’s website sums up the brand perfectly — ‘Bode produce one-of-a-kind, hand-crafted clothing. Cut from antique fabrics, victorian quilts, grain sacks and bed linens. Tailor made in New York’. With each garment masterfully created from one material source in its entirety, the bespoke pieces are exceptionally crafted and held in the highest regard.




Heron Preston.


Bode New York’s boutique.

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