Trash or Treasure? The awesomeness of upcycling and circular economy.

05 May 2021

We are living in an Era of Throwaway Fashion.
To a major part of modern society, clothes are a disposable item. Many of us know or are that person who wears an outfit two or three times and then gets sick of it.
And where do these clothes go?

Some are thrown away to the back of our closets and stay there for the rest of Our lives, others are thrown away after spotting the slightest defect that could easily be repaired. After this sad process of rejection, they are unnecessarily replaced by new ones - revealing the consumerism in us and leading to 85% of textiles go into landfills each year.
To respond to this capitalism way of living, the vast majority of the manufacturing process is intensive and highly pollutant. From cheap labor, to the exploitation of natural resources, the use of fossil fuels, the pollution of our oceans and rivers, the list is endless.
This is the truth behind fast fashion. One of the most polluting industries on the planet.
This tragic situation meant that it was necessary to align textile production with sustainability.

Thus, the circular economy model and upcycling concept emerged - a novelty that was not only exciting but innovative.
We will go deeper into the circular economy model on another post – for now, we hope you get as excited as us with upcycling.
Keep on reading to find out more about some amazing upcycling Portuguese projects and its good practices.
Upcycling in a nutshell
Upcycling is the new movement that goes further than recycling - it takes it to the next level. It’s all about giving life to items that had no longer use - all in a creative way that adds more value when compared to the original object.
Awesome Upcycling projects
R-Coat: rescuing umbrellas
Anna and Yasmin, are two very cool humans that found new use for broken umbrellas discarded on the street, and transformed them into a stylish piece of clothing: rain coats.
The idea for the project came when Anna, an Italian adopted by Portugal, doing her master’s in environmental studies and Sustainability, realized that every time it rained, there were many broken umbrellas on the Portuguese streets. She decided to take the “waste” home. When she realized the number of umbrellas she gathered, she realized she could transform them into something else entirely – and the idea for R-COAT was born.
Anna then met Yasmin, who’s eye for fashion is one of a kind, and together they made something as devalued as broken umbrellas into fashion items with style, uniqueness, and functionality. In addition to the rain jackets, they also produce unique accessories such as hats and backpacks, scheduled for release later this year.
The main objective of R-COAT is to reduce waste and the emission of greenhouse gases, contribute to more sustainable fashion industry and integrate fashion into the circular economy.
To this day, the R-Coat team saved 873 broken umbrellas from waste.

@ Marina Abajieff for R-coat
Made for the future: Kika Limbu
Kika, a kind soul with artesian hands, as daughter of a surfer spends a lot of her time on the beach – a beautiful place to be! – unfortunately, it is also a place with discarded plastic and waste of all kinds. But from other people’s mischievous behavior she created singular pieces of art.
Francisca, or Kika, is an architect and designer and recently started the Kika Limbu project, an upcycling project dedicated to transforming “trash” collected from cleaning the beach into handmade earrings, key chains, and children's mobiles.
What started as cleaning up the beaches from plastics and all kinds of garbage due to her insatiable search for a more sustainable world, resulted in this amazing project. She was not satisfied with simply collecting the garbage and recycling it – she had to repurpose it.
This search for sustainability and innovation combined with her creativity and crafty hands resulted in authentic pieces of art that you can either wear or decorate a baby’s room while positively impacting the environment.

@ kika.limbu
Together, by creating and supporting environmentally friendly businesses, we can take care of our environment and avoid waste.
As consumers, we must educate ourselves for more conscious consumption.
As creators, it's time to turn around outdated trends and walk steadily into a slower fashion.
Support these awesome projects here:
Other cool upcycling Portuguese projects:
Cuscuz design
Miss Castelinhos
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