Upcycling has arrived at the heart of the fashion industry. Some of the most popular fashion labels in the industry are building their success on recycling leftover fabrics, textile waste, or other discarded materials. In this article, we present some young labels that have embraced the concept of upcycling successfully and beautifully.
About Vernisse: "Vernisse is a brand with a timeless soul and a contemporary attitude. A modern elegance that keeps the love for tailored details, fine fabrics, embroidery, and unique prints."
Target audience: "Vernisse appeals to an international audience and is quickly building a global community of strong and proud women who are romantic and deeply rooted. The target audience is very broad, ranging from very young women who are already educated to buy less but better, to older women who recognize the quality and wearability of the brand."
Stockist/distribution: "Vernisse works with a b2b direct strategy: trunk shows all over Italy and Europe and the Milan atelier, where customers have access to the 'made to order' service. We are currently at Modes Portofino and have just held a spring pop-up at Rinascente Milano Duomo. From SS23, we will officially present our collection to buyers during the sales campaign in Milan."
Markets: "Our first market is currently Italy, but we also have customers in France, Germany, and the US. From FW22, we are expanding to the South Asian market through a major luxury retailer."
Bestsellers: "Every Vernisse collection is built with a long-term strategy, adding new key pieces every season. We are very strong in shirts, dresses and skirts."
Production: "All garments are lovingly cut and finished by hand by our expert tailors near Milan. Everything is made with the utmost care, both inside and out, and sewn with longevity in mind. We use mainly the most precious natural fibers from pure silk to wool, from velvet to cotton and linen."
Price points: "Vernisse is a luxury brand. The shirts cost between 390 and 470 euros. The dresses cost between 600 and 1000 euros."
Quinta MasoAbout Quinta Maso: "We wanted to give scarves, an often antiquated and gendered product, a contemporary, sustainable, genderless and above all, fun point of view.“
Target audience: "Quinta Maso is a land of virtual sunsets in technicolour. An alternative way to experience pleasure. Its residents are literally anyone who has a sense of humor. They are often people aged 25-55, with median to high incomes, living mainly in capital cities and interested in fashion, art, and design. They share the same values when it comes to slow fashion and investing in quality pieces and craftsmanship."
Production: "Our first Capsule collection consists of ten different models, made in the north of Italy from exclusively natural fibers such as silk and cotton. At Quinta Maso, we follow a zero-waste policy that allows us to creatively transform leftover fabrics, patterns or yarns into imaginative new products sold in limited editions and in collaboration with young artists."
Stockists/distribution: "We launched a year ago with a strong focus on online and are slowly building relationships with retailers such as Bassal in Barcelona, Studio 183 in Berlin, Lunch concept in the UK and She Designed in Düsseldorf."
Price points: "On average, prices are around 150 euros, and range from 110 euros to 210 euros."
Bestsellers: "La Linea, La Forma, and our latest embellished thin scarves are our best-selling scarves, and both of our Zero Waste handbag collections sold out within the first days of their launch."
Before starting her own label, Elizaveta Fateeva worked for labels such as Raf Simons, Jil Sander and Lanvin. She founded Fateeva in Vienna while working as head designer for men's shoes at Lanvin in Paris: "I wanted to use my in-depth knowledge and experience as a designer and product developer and turn my vision into something meaningful. For me, it was less about the quantity and more about the quality of the product. During the development of Fateeva and the experience I gained after starting my brand, I realized that our generation needs to find new ways and opportunities by finding alternatives to design and produce fashion in a more sustainable way instead of just talking about it. After five years of developing and building Fateeva, the ups and downs of the pandemic, I found new ways to design and produce garments and accessories by being completely independent from external production and working only with overproduced materials that I outsource in Italy."
About Fateeva: "Fateeva is a slow fashion brand that focuses on designing and creating garments and accessories made exclusively from discarded materials, leather and fabrics, and small scraps.
Production: „Working only with tailors and small factories, we control all the use of all materials and ensure that as much as possible is used. All pieces are unique and cannot be reproduced due to the availability of materials. With materials that are left over, overlooked, or simply forgotten, we develop new ways and use different techniques to turn something that seems unattractive or simply outdated into something original."
Target audience: "Fateeva's clientele are women and men who love durable essentials, minimalist aesthetics, functional design, and craftsmanship. We tell the story of each garment, where the materials come from, how they get here, and why we use them that way.“
Stockists/distribution:: "Fateeva currently only sells online, as working with deadstock materials is very challenging. The amount of pieces produced depends on the materials and quality, and sometimes is no more than five pieces of fabric/colors."
Markets: "Fateeva can deliver orders to anywhere in the world. We have customers in Austria, Germany, Switzerland, France, the U.S., and Japan."
Bestsellers: "During the pandemic, I began to focus on working with the small scraps of fabric that had accumulated in the studio. I developed a pattern covering three sizes and made ‚One Dress A Day‘ using only the materials I had in the studio. Each day a new combination of fabrics, colors, and patterns was created. Not only did this line become the label's best-selling line, but it was also a big push for the label to work more and more exclusively with small scraps of material, using only materials from stock for all of the brand's lines."
Price points: "The price of a piece is always tied to the materials and quantities produced. Also, we always negotiate the best price for our producer, since most of the details are unique and made by private tailors. Prices for leather shoes and sneakers are 250-400 euros per pair, for dresses 450-1000 euros and for knitwear 190-500 euros."
About Re49 Shoes: "It was in 1949 when Valentino Masolini started recycling fabric scraps and discarded military uniforms to make shoes. Today, his great-grandson, Nicola Masolini, uses fabrics, umbrellas, deck chairs, and sails to make shoes. This is how Re49 was born in a small village in the Friuli Venezia Giulia region."
Target Audience: "Our key customers are looking for ways to incorporate sustainability into all aspects of their daily lives. They are aware of the impact the fashion industry can have on the environment. And they're also willing to pay a little more for clothing and accessories made by companies that are trying to make a difference and work toward a more sustainable future through ethical and sustainable business practices."
Production: last year, Nicola Masolini converted the family business's traditional leather shoe production to a closed-loop model. The shoes continue to be made in the province of Udine, in Italy's Friuli Venezia Giulia region, but from animal-free, recycled materials. The soles are made from recycled tires, and Masolini finds the uppers on Italy's beaches: sails, spinnakers, parasols are given a second life, breathing a sense of the sea and vacation into the sneakers. All Re49 shoes also contain a microchip that can be used via blockchain technology to trace the origin of the materials. For Masolini, it is also conceivable to produce exclusive series for retail partners from recycled fabrics that are only available in limited quantities.
Stockists/distribution: "We are still working on our international distribution network, new points of sale will be fixed by October. Currently, Re49 shoes are sold mainly online and in select boutiques in Italy and the United States. Among them: Ireri in Florence, Max in Kitzbühl or Lovitactive in Dallas."
Price points: Sneakers 269 euros, boots 299 euros.
Bestsellers: Sail Lifestyle sneakers in white, Mare Lifestyle sneakers in blue, red, green, Sail Spin Tech boots.
This post was created with additional content by Weixin Zha.