Photos by Chiara Bonetti
From DIY trendsetters to high-end designers, upcycling has become a sustainable new trend within the fashion industry. The Upcycling Fashion Store in Berlin has emerged as a hotspot for the upcycling movement, featuring ecologically responsible garments and inventive accessories. Located on the Anklamerstrasse, the shop is filled with unique pieces and run by the four intrepid masterminds behind the label, Aluc: Carina Bischof, Jonathan Leupert, Arianna Nicoletti, and Luise Barsch.
According to the founders, 15 percent of new textiles are discarded worldwide each year. Some of these fabrics are tossed as “pre-consumer” rubbish, while others are thrown away after being used as samples or catalog prototypes. Utilizing the mountains of cut-off scraps and color charts that are junked annually, the Upcycling Fashion Store is able to take advantage of a substantial waste stream. Brought together by a mutual concern for the planet, Bischof, Leupert, Nicoletti, and Barsch seek to demonstrate that craft and creativity can trump the fast fashion trends.
“Before starting up our own company we were aware of the ecological and social impact emerging from the fashion system and our life choices brought all of us to London. There, we were working together at From Somewhere [in London] and we had the chance to get to know the upcycling processes in detail. Since we started working with the upcycling concept, it has been clear for us that our mission was to spread this new design approach!” Barsch tells Ecouterre.
The group established their Berlin storefront in 2011, and have since become apart of a domestic upcycling revolution that currently rivals London’s sustainable scene. They found that having a permanent location instead of web-based platform made it possible for patrons to engage in a conversation, learn about the movement, and forge a connection with their purchase.
“Upcycling is the best way to avoid waste in the fashion system,” Barsch says. “This means also protecting the environment while saving resources. What the upcycling concept does as beneficial for the society is to influence the general thinking. Through Upcycling designers and people can start to see the real value of things and materials. In fact, Upcycling is not just a way of design, it is understanding that every aspect of life can been seen under another point of view.”
The Upcycling Fashion Store offers a wide variety of clothing, ranging from blouses created with high-quality Austrian fabrics to the efforts of Daniel Kroh, MILCH, and Cloed Baumgartner. The shop has been honored for their endeavors with numerous awards, including the 2013 Fair Handelspreis and the 2013 I:CO Award. Through adding value to what was once considered garbage, the Upcycling Fashion store gives a new life to garments, honors the efforts of their producers, and eases the pressure on the environment.