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In the post-pandemic fashion universe, a term is more current than ever “upcycling”. It is not synonymous with recycling, but it indicates the creative reuse of objects to create a higher quality product.
There are two types of upcycling: pre-consumer and post-consumer. In the former one leftovers or scraps of fabric can be used; in the latter one second-hand garments are modified, sectioned, deconstructed, reassembled to create new ones.
Upcycling seems to be the new keyword to limit the environmental impact of fashion industry, where it becomes extremely urgent to develop the circularity of the system.
Upcycling has an ancient tradition. Martin Margiela was one of its pioneers in the 90s, nowadays upcycling has become popular not only among emerging designers, but also among luxury brands. The garments, the accessories realized are unique, exclusive, as collector's items.
Upcycling represents a challenge for fashion creativity and production, but it seems to be also a necessary step towards conscious consumption and production. Will it be just a trend of the moment or will upcycling play a key role in the future of fashion?
To learn more about upcycling, we offer you a selection of books and magazines, you can consult in our library.

Brown, Sass.   Refashioned: cutting-edge clothing from upcycled materials. London: Laurence King Publishing, 2013
The area of recycling and upcycling is a rich and growing source of innovative design in the fashion and accessories industries.
In a fast-fashion world of throw-away clothing, it is the ultimate expression of the slow-fashion movement, with each piece individually conceived and crafted from scratch, using different materials each time.
ReFashioned features 46 international designers who work with recycled materials and discarded garments, reinvigorating them with new life and value. The result is beautiful and desirable clothing and accessories that also make an important statement to the fashion world about its wasteful and exploitative practices.

Holroyd, Amy Twigger, Jennifer Farley Gordon, and Colleen Hill.   Historical Perspectives on Sustainable Fashion: Inspiration for Change. London: Bloomsbury Visual Arts, 2023. (online, access required, Accessed June 5, 2023.  )
Historical Perspectives on Sustainable Fashion in Fashion reminds us that concerns about workers' rights and chemical pollution in the fashion industry have been with us as far back as the early 19th century. By placing today's sustainable fashion movement in its historical context, this book encourages contemporary designers to learn from past failures and build on their predecessors' successes to move the business of fashion forward. As well as new international examples from each stage of the fashion production cycle, this revised edition includes a new opening chapter outlining the different fashion systems and their role in sustainable practice. There's also a new chapter on how the consumer can play a role in the environmental impact of their clothing, exploring the importance of emotional significance and value, shopping and e-commerce as well as laundering and care.

Ellen MacArthur Foundation.   Circular design for fashion. Cowes: Ellen MacArthur Foundation, 2021
This book invites you to embark on a journey towards the future of design. It has been written in recognition of fashion’s huge potential to move towards a circular economy and in homage to its creatives – passionate pioneers on the constant search for reinvention.
This book offers a creative lens through which to discover and develop new products and navigate radical transformation, while addressing many of the world’s most pressing challenges. Design decisions shape how we interact with the world around us, and creatives across every industry and demographic are embracing their role in reimagining products, services, and systems. They include established luxury brands -– Gucci and Vivienne Westwood, independent labels -–Kevin Germanier and Marine Serre, high-street giants -–Gap and H&M, pioneers of the virtual fashion experience -– Alvanon and The Fabricant, and clothing resale and rental specialists -– thredUP and Vestiaire Collective. While achieving a completely circular economy will take time, these practitioners have all started their journey. Their perspectives and insights have helped build a rich understanding of circular design and what it means for the fashion industry.
It seeks to ignite curiosity, giving the inspiration and encouragement to explore, learn, and cultivate a new design mindset.

Duran Lantink: democracy. Gent: Art paper editions, 2022
Lantink’s collection consists of one-of-a-kind pieces created from deadstock and thus creating new work from existing materials referring to Marcel Duchamp’s ready-mades.

Maison Martin Margiela. New York: Rizzoli, 2009
Graduating from Antwerp’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts in the 1980s, Martin Margiela (and his contemporaries in the Antwerp Six) transformed global fashion with his aggressive restatement of traditional fashion design and a polemical approach to luxury trends. Working first with the house of Gaultier, Margiela absorbed the radical design of Japanese deconstruction, making it wholly his own with the founding of his own label in 1988. Margiela propounds a singular, enigmatic look, moving beyond the recognizable tropes of deconstruction—a monochromatic palette, outsized garments, non-traditional fabrics, exposed seams, or roughly appliquéd details—to develop a fully considered worldview, one with elegance, mystery, and menace in equal measure. This book provides an inside look at the design process from a craftsman who creates pieces prized for their originality, delicacy, and daring.

Thompson, Henrietta, and Neal Whittington.  Remake it clothes: the essential guide to resourceful fashion with over 500 tricks, tips and inspirational designs. London: Thames and Hudson. 2012
The second volume on the “Remake it” series, this is the indispensable, inspirational and practical guide to resourceful fashion. Remake, recycle, refresh: save money, save the planet, stay stylish. An encyclopedia of life skills, smart ideas and great design, steps-by-steps and tricks and tips can be found alongside innovative examples from celebrated international designers such as Martin Margiela, Christian Louboutin, Rachel Freire and Fraitag.

FURTHERMORE (chronological order from the newest)
Kiisel, Karolyn.  Advanced Creative Draping . London: Laurence King Publishing, 2022
Blum, Peggy. Circular fashion: making the fashion industry sustainable. London: Laurence King, 2021
Cottman, Karl-Johan (ed.). Boro: the art of necessity. Stockholm: Art and Theory Publishing, 2021
Hill, Colleen and Patricia Mears and Shonagh Marshall and Valerie Steele. Reinvention & restlessness: fashion in the nineties. New York: Rizzoli Electa, 2021
Rhodes, Shelley.  Fragmentation and repair: for mixed-media and textile artists . London: Batsford, 2021
Mullett-Bowlsby, Shannon, and Jason Mullett-Bowlsby. Boro & Sashiko, harmonious imperfection: the art of Japanese mending & stitching. Lafayette: C&T Publishing, 2020
Treggiden, Katie. Wasted: when trash becomes treasure. Brussels: Ludion, 2020
Neumüller, Kerstin.  Mend & patch: a handbook to repairing clothes and textiles . London: Pavilion, 2019
Dehò, Valerio.  RE.USE: Scarti, oggetti, ecologia nell'arte contemporanea . Milano: Silvana editorial, 2018
Rodabaugh, Katrina, and Karen Pearson. Mending Matters: stitch, patch and repair your favorite denim & more. New York: Abrams, 2018
Wellesley-Smith, Claire.  Slow stitch: Mindful and contemplative textile art .  London: Batsford , 2015
Black, Sandy.  The sustainable fashion handbook. New York: Thames & Hudson, 2013
Brown, Sass. Eco fashion. London: Laurence King, 2010

MAGAZINES & ARTICLES (chronological order from the newest)
Blanchard, Tasmin. “Ways of caring”. 10, Issue 68, Spring/Summer 2022, 2022: 285-287
Young, Clara. “Marine Serre’s art of upcycling”, ArtReview, Vol. 74, Issue 3, 2022: 38-39
Simonini, Rossini. “Tenant of Culture”. ArtReview, Vol. 74, Issue 2, 2022: 22-29
Viewpoint Colour, The Joy Issue, Issue 11, 2022
Saalmick, Marlo. “The greenest Gallant of Glorious Greens: Bethany Williams”. Fucking Young, Issue 18, Green Rush, 2021: 146-153
Fashion Practice, Volume 13, Issue 3, 2021
Weave, Issue 00, 2021
Bertola, Paola and Colombi, Chiara and Iannilli, Valeria M. and Vacca, Federica. “From cultural branding to cultural empowerment through social innovation: I was a sari-a design driven Indian case study”. Fashion Practice, Volume 12, Issue 2, 2020: 245-263
Fashion Practice, Volume 12, Issue 1, 2020
Lee, Yoon Kyung and DeLong, Marilyn. “Rebirth product develpment for sustainable apparel design practice in a design studio class”. Fashion Practice, Volume 10, Issue 1, 2018: 34-52
Janigo, Kristy A. and Wu, Juanjuan and DeLong, Marilyn. “Redesigning fashion. An analysis and categorization of women’s clothing upcycling behavior”. Fashion Practice, Volume 9, Issue 2, 2017: 254-279
Fashion Practice, Volume 9, Issue 1, 2017
Baumgarten, Linda. “Altered historical clothing”. Dress: the annual journal of the Costume Society of America, Volume 25, Issue 1, 1998: 42-57
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