100% Recycled Human Part Hawaiian Shirt

100% Recycled Human Part Hawaiian Shirt

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100% Recycled Human Part Hawaiian Shirt
100% Recycled Human Part Hawaiian Shirt

BUY IT HERE!

Rethread 01/02/03/4: Alexa Schempers’s Rethread label mostly consists of upcycled garments. The Knysna-based designer typically reworks menswear items, from jackets and shirts to jeans, into new garments for women.

Garments in her Rethread collection are body-hugging, with strategically placed slashes and cutouts. Rarely do we associate ethical clothing with a sexy punk and androgynous look. Two-toned trench coats and jeans are created by pairing the halves of different reclaimed garments. Men’s jackets are repurposed into women’s cropped jackets, with cut out backs and cheeky miniskirts, presenting an interesting blend between the genders.

“To me, the idea of resale and upcycling … made the most sense. So much already exists, so why should we make more new stuff, especially if we can use some of the existing stuff as materials?” says Schempers.

The upcycled garments are complemented by those made from scratch.

“I only use sustainable and recycled materials when I make new garments. I don’t have the supply to make enough quantities of upcycled clothing. It wouldn’t be a reasonable business. That’s why I incorporate new items. However, 80% of my garments are made by using secondhand overruns or recycled fabrics.”

As Schempers suggests, it is tough making an upcycling fashion business viable. How sustainable is sustainable fashion?

Small fashion businesses are more inclined to conform to sustainable practices, says Lisa Jaffe, founder of Guillotine, a Joburg-based fashion label that has been going for more than a decade. “The conditions of small businesses lend themselves to sustainable practices — in order to survive. An example is ethical production. Costings are spoken through with producers, so that there is a fair balance,” she says.

Woolworths takes sustainable fashion very seriously and are big enough to make demands of suppliers. A denim collection with reclaimed fabrics.

Paying a fair price for the production of garments is becoming more common. A pair of pants by Mantsho, founded by Palesa Mokubung, is in the region of R8 000, a dress is R6 000. But so too is the case of newcomers such as Rich Mnisi — although you can pick up a branded jumper for about R2 000, you can pay up to R9 000 for a dress.

These designers sometimes create their own prints, which comes at a cost. The prices are perhaps more in line with how limited local design is valued in other countries but it also relates to more sustainable practices.

“You need to pay people fairly for the work that they do,” says Mnisi. “We have been conditioned to want cheap things. For me, in creating a lovely brand, I am not trying to create something flashy. I want to make the whole process fair, and there is general health in that process; that is how I arrive at any price.”

Small businesses can be more agile than larger ones at adapting to demand and only producing styles that resonate with consumers. But it is almost impossible with such small runs to be able to make demands regarding the origins of the textiles and the manufacturing processes.

“There are a lot of middlemen. You can get the place where the fabric was produced but not much more information than that,” says Jaffe.

 

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100% Recycled Human Part Hawaiian Shirt
100% Recycled Human Part Hawaiian Shirt

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