Innovative Canadian Fashion Companies Using Repurposed Materials
One of the many hurdles a fashion designer needs to overcome in creating their wares is sourcing materials. Brand new material often comes at a high manufacturing cost and the production of such is usually detrimental to the environment. Lately a new trend is on the upswing: using existing textiles from repurposed bicycle tires, upholstery, couches and previously loved clothing to create new and innovative designs. Here are a few Canadian companies producing great clothing and accessories out of repurposed materials.
MariClaRo, based out of Snow Road Station, Ontario, is a company that turns salvaged materials from luxury cars and airplanes into bags and accessories. From wallets and laptop covers made from the upholstery of a high end sports car to weekenders made from airplane seat covers, this is their way of making their bags, luggage and accessories as well-traveled as their potential owners, and ensuring that their products hold living history within them. If you’ve ever flown Air Canada, you may recognize the distinctive blue-on-blue pattern in MariClaRo’s purses. Their messenger bags from their Air Canada line also features the airplane seat belt buckle. The company was started in 2008 when the founder Sven, who was working on his Ph D in resource management at the time, was traveling through Mexico and abandoned election banners caught his attention.
The team at Chic Made Consciously are passionate about all things sustainable and fair trade. The company produces bags and accessories, from purses to jewelry, using entirely recycled bicycle inner tubes ensuring more PVC and rubber doesn’t get sent off to landfills. They partner with artisans in Bali, Indonesia for their fully hand-created wares ensuring that these artisans are able to make a steady and fair living. Chic Made Consciously is owned by Cassandra Ciarallo who started the company last year. In 2014 she traveled through South East Asia where she learned about the versatility of tire inner tubes from an artisan in the city of Ubud in Bali. From that point on, a passion to preserve the work and integrity of these artisans was sparked and Chic Made Consciously was born. The company now offers gorgeous and unique jewelry, belts, wallets, bags and hair accessories — we are particularly fond of the arm and hair bands from their Flower collection. Considering the nature of the textile, these items are sure to be incredibly durable.
Brand new, 2BeFree Designs by Liz Simpson uses the cleaned, sanitized leather from old couches to make fantasy-themed costumes. “I upcycle because I love the look of leather and hate the idea of slaughtering animals for fashion reasons, yet if their sacrifice is going to end up in a landfill I like to do my part to stop this from happening,” says Liz. Apartment buildings let her know when furniture is available to be harvested. “There is more of a supply of leather than I can handle.”
Have you ever looked in your closet and breathed a dejected sigh at what you see? Does your clothing no longer excite you? At this point, your options would usually be to donate your unwanted clothes to charity or do a clothing swap and, ultimately, buy a new wardrobe. Now, Revamped enables you to take your previously loved clothing to their Toronto-based studio and allow their team to work their magic transforming your old clothing pieces into new and exciting pieces that cater to your lifestyle. The team works through appointments, meeting with local clients who bring in laundry bags of clothes. They come up with new uses for old clothes — from turning an old sweater into a poncho, a t-shirt into a head wrap, or a bandana into a hat. Their aesthetic leans on the funky vintage side and if that is in line with your tastes, it’s a match made in repurposed clothing heaven. If it’s not, they will happily work with your tastes in mind.
Photos: MariClaRo YYZ Messenger Bag, made from the seat leather of an Air Canada 777HD plane. Chic Made Consciously Scooter bag made from scooter tire and bubble accessories made from inner tubes. 2BeFree Designs cleaned couch leather made into a fantasy utility belt. Revamped t-shirt made into scarf.