6) Gary Harvey
What can a right brained individual do with old jeans, cardboard food packages, wedding dresses, cans, army jackets, logo t-shits, bottle tops and baseball jackets aside from pursuing typical crafty, upcycling projects? If the person happens to be Levi’s former creative director, then they probably have a good handle on the fine art of merchandising and using a few strategic flourishes to create an outstanding presentation…which is precisely what London-based designer Gary Harvey did to rave reviews during New York Fashion Weeks’ 2010 eco-fashion extravaganza, The Green Shows. Harvey is noted for transforming 42 pairs of old Levi’s jeans into a cute short sleeved, multi-toned, flowing frock as well as creating a sassy vintage-style design out of scads of newspaper. His most outstanding achievement, however, has got to be his “Technicolor Dream Dress.” With its body hugging bodice and dramatic floor length skirt, the style could easily compete with mainstream versions…except for its major trashy factor. Discarded consumer packaging is arranged in color-coded style to create textural rainbow sensation that anyone with even 1% fashion sense would happily covet.
7) Rommel Pidazo
Recycled juice box purses and metal beverage pull tab belts can be novel at first, but after a while, consumers tend to become immune to the initial reason that they were created in the first place. However, once you lay your eyes on the transformation that typical garbage-can-bound items undergo via the skillful hands of Philippines based artist and trashion accessory crafter Rommel Pidazo, the visual eco-reinforcement that you’re privy to yields serious staying power. Unlike typical trashion incarnations, Pidazo’s necklaces, belts, vests and bags are composed of raw assemblages of post-consumer materials that are generally deemed completely worthless and undesirable. He applies no cosmetic primping or preening to his selected trashion materials, instead preferring to string them together in their entirely blemished form to create a somehow intriguing and visually arresting statement about our chronically wasteful consumeristic habits.
8) Emma Kaywin
Okay, so she may not be a full-fledged fashion designer, but New York University student Emma Kaywin enjoyed her time in the spotlight when the press picked up on the surprisingly cute fashion trio she crafted out of expired condoms. Obtained while interning for an HIV hotline, she artfully repurposed hundreds of the prophylactic devices to create two frothy dresses and once equally snazzy coat, all of which could easily be seen gliding down the runway. Kaywin’s designs somehow transcend the ick factor of using condoms, which is no small feat to achieve. Someone give that girl some recycled cat litter to work with…I’m curious to see what she’ll be able to conjure up!
9) Linda Filley
Self-proclaimed “paper couturier” Linda Filley crafts fanciful frocks by carefully twisting, pleating, folding and rolling pieces of recycled gift wrap, newspaper, empty seed packets and computer paper, imparting layer upon layer of texture and color to her design. Her “Farmer’s Market Girl” gown features a bodice and sleeves entirely covered with flower photos that are carefully cut from the pages of seed catalogs, while the skirt resembles a garden bursting at the seams with fresh veggie gems just ripe for the picking. To achieve her three dimensional effect, Filley hand-rolled catalog pages into vegetable shapes, augmenting the design with scissor cut images
10) Ziad Ghanem
Lebanese designer Ziad Ghanem has mastered the fine art of creating costumey grandstanding fashion as well as far more wearable yet equally funky urban pieces, both of which make the most of second-hand store finds. Unlike mainstream fashion designers who are responsible for contributing to the industry’s hefty carbon footprint by sourcing 100% virgin materials, Ghanem’s approach revolves around items that are already a part of our consumer stream. As he explains, “in just one of my dresses you can find Versus, M&S, Laura Ashley, Junior Gaultier, Gap and a vintage Sex Pistols T-shirt.”
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