Recycled fashion designers organize themselves to impose their style

There are pants made from old sweaters, bags made from old sails, or jewelry adorned with scraps of fabric. Throughout the weekend, Hangar 32, on the island of Nantes, is home to a funny fashion boutique as part of the first edition of the Chtiiing festival. Indeed, a large part of what is sold here has been made possible thanks to recycled materials. Since last year, these designers from the Pays-de-la-Loire who are adept at upcycling, some thirty gathered in the Emergence collective, have even decided to set themselves a challenge: that of collecting their scrap directly from manufacturers in the region, in order to promote them.

Those who normally get their supplies from destockers, where the origin of the materials is not guaranteed, wanted to play the game of the short circuit even more. “There are a lot of textile companies in the region, around 220, so we thought they must have a lot of interesting deposits,” explains Clothilde Chiello. For the first phase of the experiment, four factories responded. “We had ends of rolls, scraps, knitted panels, but also plain or fancy skins from a shoe factory,” continues the project manager. So many materials that will not be buried or incinerated, because you have to know that there are very few real textile recycling. We then dispatched them between us for the exhibition. »

Towards a responsible fashion house in Nantes

Heloise Bottle, she received a “knitted panel”. The young craftswoman spent several hours undoing each stitch to find the state of yarn, and then give life to a sleeveless cardigan, slippers and a baby hat. For her part, Hélène Pétro had to imagine a new model of bag to successfully use the khaki leather scrap she inherited. “You can’t do what you want, but that’s what makes the job much more interesting,” says the creator of Skins and chic. You have to combine colours, different qualities of leather… It’s a lot of work but it’s common sense. And then the small defects, we can transform them into assets, and thus make unique pieces. »

Nevertheless, there is a long way to go to change the mentalities of players and consumers in one of the most polluting industries. To come out of the shadows and lift the brakes, the Emergence collective intends to continue its experimentation in order to build a real regional collection, sorting and then recovery sector. At the same time, she is working on the opening in 2024 of a responsible fashion house in Nantes. “We will sell the products of the artisans of the collective and responsible brands, hopes Clothilde Chiello. We will raise awareness more generally on how to buy but also how to maintain our clothes for more sustainable consumption. »

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