Photos by Paul Pavlou
Rachel Rodwell must really enjoy her java. The University Technology Sydney graduate spent months working on a series of textiles derived from discarded Nespresso coffee pods. Rodwell, who’s working on a line of “Podex” clothing and jewelry, was inspired by a recent trip to Kerala in India, where she witnessed the locals repurposing waste materials such as coconut fiber into everything from rope to paddle-powered houseboats. “I wanted to create an unconventional range that challenges preconceived notions of sustainable textiles,” she tells Ecouterre. “I wanted to use something that already exists and would have otherwise been wasted.”
A finalist for an award at the first Australian Social Changemakers’ Festival, Rodwell was adamant about not falling into the earthy neutrals typically associated with green fashion. “I didn’t want the materials to restrict my color scheme too much, she says. “I also didn’t want to unnecessarily use resources and energy to create different textures and colors from the raw material.”
Before long, Rodwell was smashing used coffee pods with a meat tenderizer.
She found herself drawn to the gleaming foil cups used in single-serving coffee machines. Before long, she was smashing used pods, collected from friends and friends of friends, with a meat tenderizer. The process of reconfiguring the flattened pieces into geometric-inspired designs was painstaking, to say the least—shucking containers of stale coffee grounds is nobody’s idea of a good time—but the results are remarkable. “The stunning colors of India are echoed beautifully through the stunning colors of the pods,” she adds.