Years of research led Aus to create the “Upcycled Collection,” a line of mens- and womenswear that defies convention by being the first to be mass-produced from production leftovers. Made in collaboration with Beximco, one of the largest textile and clothing manufacturers in Bangladesh, the collection requires 70 percent less water and 64 percent less energy than its conventional counterparts. It also creates at least 40 percent less overall production waste, according to Aus.
The collection requires 70 percent less water and 64 percent less energy than its conventional counterparts.
Trash to Trend grew out of Aus’s doctoral studies at the Estonian Academy of Arts, where she explored various techniques of using textile waste to decrease the fashion industry’s environmental impact. In her thesis, Aus proposed a “Trash to Trend” model that allowed designers to create fashion from pre- and post-consumer textiles in a way that minimizes a garment’s impact while facilitating serial production.
Targeted at independent designers who wish to apply green-design techniques, as well as brands who want a sustainable solution to their textile-waste problem, Aus’s model includes a “waste-mapping” database that provides a real-time overview of what, where, and how much textile waste is being produced in a specific region. Another of Aus’s suggestions is a Web-based interactive framework that allows for direct communication between waste generators, designers, and clients. “This way, a transparent product chain is created, waste data is accessible, techniques are shared, and upcycled products can be sold and marketed,” she says.
Aus’s model includes a “waste-mapping” database that provides a real-time overview of how much textile waste is being produced in a specific region.
Aus chose Bangladesh as the site of her study—and the genesis of her collection—for good reason. “[Bangladesh has the] biggest textile problem,” she tells Ecouterre. “They have no waste-management—most of their waste is sent to China, dumped in a landfill, or burned. Of 8,000 factories only five have water-treatment.” To create her pieces, Aus worked with Beximco, which produces 56 million garments for the likes of Calvin Klein, H&M, Tommy Hilfiger, and Zara each year, to repurpose the waste of some of its more prodigious customers.
But waste isn’t all Aus is concerned with. She’s also working on a documentary about working conditions at the factories she’s visited and the often toxic chemicals employed to make our clothes.