Upcycling is better.
But, wait a sec… what is upcycling?
Today, in full-on Paris Fashion Week mode, we wanted to give you a more detailed explanation of what's at the heart of our eco-friendly design approach: upcycling. We can't all be experts, right?
When we started working on Rive Droite with Yasmine and Sofia, one thing was for certain: we wanted to do our bit. To contribute, at our own level of course, to making progress and to making sure that the fashion industry – one of the heaviest polluting industries in the world – can change for the better, bit by bit.
It might sound crazy, but we wholeheartedly believe in the tale of the hummingbird. (Do you know how the legend goes? The forest was destroyed in a fire, the animals were left paralyzed by fear. Only the little hummingbird set to work, tirelessly collecting water in his tiny beak to try and put out the fire. Because the hummingbird wanted to do his bit.) Well, we wanted to do the same, and play our part in Rive Droite. Because we can create cute accessories while still reducing our environmental impact. And it is possible to work with what we already have!
So, we took a look around, and we realized that Morocco, where Yasmine and Sofia live, had the most extraordinary fabric resources. What some saw as "waste" or "offcuts" – on their way to be destroyed or sent who knows where in informal sub-Saharan African markets – we saw an incredible opportunity.
Well, we won't spin you the classic tale of "we started buying offcuts and everything went swimmingly". NO. That would be a lie. In fact, it was like opening a can of worms.
Picture the scene: a young woman named Sofia stops by Moroccan textile factories and asks to buy today's offcuts of denim. Then picture, if you will, this same young woman in fabric factories in Casablanca, rushing to get her hands on the last bits of fabric rolls. To be the first one "on the case". It ain’t easy. Even less so for a woman.
But we work tirelessly to build trusting relationships with our providers. Providers who are slowly coming round to our approach, who are less and less surprised to see us coming back time and time again, more and more often.
Because that's how we do upstyling.
Upcycling is literally making something old into something beautiful.
Generally, there are two ways of doing this:
1/ Working with existing clothes, taking them apart and putting them back together. Buying an old pair of jeans, for example, and making it into a shirt. We decided not to do that.
2/ Working with existing materials. Here’s where we come in! We buy surplus fabric stock that nobody wants post-production. We love it! We use it to make linings for our accessories. It means we get top-quality fabric that changes with each delivery.
We also buy denim offcuts from clothing factories that work for big jean brands. These manufacturing offcuts are also very high quality, it just means the material needs a bit more work before it can be used in our accessories.
But if it were all that easy, it wouldn't be anywhere near as fun.
And, most of all, we couldn't imagine doing it any other way.