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EFF SOURCE Fashion business success without compromise

3 July 2012

Challenges, opportunities and future of upcycled fashion in the UK

Contributor Ceri Heathcote

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SOURCE Contributor, Ceri Heathcote speaks to 5 leading designers working with recycled materials to find out more about the challenges, opportunities and future of upcycled fashion in the UK.


The problem of sustainability in the fashion industry is a difficult one, but recycling can provide at least a partial solution. In an industry which is often considered wasteful, there are a number of designers and labels which are using waste to create beautiful collections that are inspired rather than limited by the recycled materials that they work with. Recycling and upcycling offers a great opportunity for manufacturing in the UK whilst creating clothes with a minimal impact on the environment and saving waste from landfill.

SOURCE Contributor, Ceri Heathcote speaks to five UK designers working with recycled materials to produce successful fashion products and collections of upcycled womenswear, menswear and accessories.

  • Orsola De Castro of From Somewhere and Reclaim to Wear
Orsola is the co-founder of pioneering eco label From Somewhere, which was founded in 1997 and eco design consultancy Reclaim to Wear which creates connections between the fashion industry and designers to recuperate textile surplus. She is also the founder and curator of Estethica, the ethical fashion area of London Fashion Week, now in its 6th year.
  • Christopher Raeburn, BFC NEWGEN award-winning women’s and menswear designer
Christopher Raeburn has been designing for his own label since 2008. He has become well known for his ethically aware women’s and menswear made from re-appropriated military fabrics.
  • Lizzie Harrison of brand, Antiform and shop/workshop, ReMade in Leeds
Lizzie created Antiform, a fashion brand made from local unwanted waste and ReMade in Leeds, a social enterprise that is run in conjunction with Antiform focusing on getting consumers to upcycle/recycle themselves.
  • Michelle Lowe-Holder, a leading upcycled accessories designer
Michelle Lowe-Holder designs jewellery using recycled materials. Sustainable and ethical practises of zero waste, upcyling by using ends of lines and scraps from previous collections with UK production has become integral to her label. She has exhibited at Estethica for the past 5 seasons.
  • Charlotte Bobeldijk of Grassroots Fashion
Charlotte created Grassroots Fashion to provide unique, fashionable and affordable, upcycled clothing. Each garment is individually re-designed and upcycled to reflect the current fashion trends.

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