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By Elena Picci

What is Trashion?

Fashion generates a huge amount of waste making it one of the key contributors to climate change. But, what if waste was not a problem anymore?

 Fashion generates a huge amount of waste making it one of the key contributors to climate change.

It is estimated that each second a truck full of textiles ends up in landfill or in incineration plants (Ellen MacArthur, Charity Founder).

But, what if waste was not a problem anymore?

What if Waste was the solution of Fashion’s negative environmental impact?

Image credit from left to right: The R collection

What is Trashion?

Ok, let’s say it in other words. It is trash transformed into clothes. 
This process is called ”upcycling”.
The waste is upcycled to a new and more valuable resource that can be used as a raw material. And nope it doesn’t stink! It Smells Like Teen Spirit!
Like, The artist Marcel Duchamps, made with its famous readymade art pieces,

It is not uncommon to see unique pieces of clothing made with fabric remnants and scraps. However, Upcycling Fashion can be made as well in bigger quantities and with other types of discards such as food waste.

Find clothes made from military discards

Image credit from left to right: Altiir; Piñatex

Why is it sustainable?

#1 Reduce the consumption of raw materials

To source raw materials from waste, allow energy and material savings. Therefore, It is better for the environment as greenhouse gases of production are avoided and it will cost less to produce as waste is ”free”. Let’s call it a win-win solution!.

#2 Reduce the amount of waste

Upcycled fashion helps to reduce the overall amount of waste that goes into landfill or incineration plants. 

Trashion uses fashion industry waste like the clothes we throw away, but it can use other industries’ waste as well (food industry is one example).

Upcycling fashion could actually reduce the overall environmental footprint.

Find clothes made from pineapple leaf waste.

#3 Create awareness and lead to innovation

Upcycled fashion also creates awareness and sends a deeper message. It promotes innovation and, thanks to this cradle to cradle approach, we can now find upcycled waste innovation that was completely unimaginable only a few years ago such as Econyl and Piñatex®.

Image credit from left to right: Burberry Econyl; Filippa K

How is Upcycling different from Recycling?

Both are helping to reduce the amount of waste but in different ways.


To recycle is to transform waste into its previous form through a process of transformation. Such as recycled paper made from used paper.

Shop clothes made from recycled textiles


To upcycle, on another hand, gives a new and more valuable purpose to waste. Sometimes the waste itself doesn’t even need to be processed and transformed which saves even more energy.
To upcycle waste is to give it a higher value than what it already has.

Clothes that give a new life to something that was no longer wanted or useable, such as Econyl Clothes made from fishing nets.
Do not confound with downcycling, which is to transform waste into a low-value utilisation. for e.g. an old t-shirt broken into cleaning tissues.

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