Do you know the meaning of “mottainai”?
In Japanese, it indicates the regret for wasted items, food or time.
This term also somehow expresses the mood of our times, when everything can be found, used and thrown away - in one word, forgotten.
We are paying now for this (in)human shallowness regarding "our stuff" to the detriment of our environment and the air we breathe.
There are some green solutions though, and they are often more fun than those we normally stick to.
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Millennials will find it difficult to imagine, but there was a slow time when you would meditate for so long before purchasing a piece of clothing or an accessory, with many pros and cons lists and budget reasonings involved. Clothing was expensive and it had to last for several years. Having your own sewing equipment at home was perfectly normal.
With the industrial revolution, and then with fast fashion, shopping fashion has become so easy and cheap that closets are bursting with clothing - and landfills as well.
Luckily enough, thanks to the massive information and growing awareness, sustainability is becoming one of the main consumer's choice criteria, just like aesthetics, trends and quality.
A survey of the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) shows that 93% of consumers all around the world expect brands to be more committed when facing environmental and social issues.
Shopping isn't a meaningless activity anymore, it is a structured operation that must be consistent with your own mindset and lifestyle.
That's why it's essential to find new and less damaging technologies and materials, recovering and boosting the value of vintage and second-hand clothing.
Among these sustainable solutions, encouraging a circular economy instead of a linear one - like a phoenix rising from its ashes - there is a new advanced way of recycling: upcycling.
The word “upcycling” first appeared in 1994 in an interview of Thornton Kay to engineer Reiner Pilz for the architecture magazine Salvo, then mentioned again in 2003 in the book Cradle to Cradle by William McDonough (architect) and Michael Braungart (chemist), talking design from every point of view.
The aim is to offer more (and potentially endless) reincarnations to objects, taking them back to the origins - not "from cradle to grave" but "from cradle to cradle".
It's easy to imagine how positive the impact of such a method can be especially for fashion, the second most polluting industry in the world.
The difference between recycling and upcycling is the approach: when recycling, clothing is (re)used just like it was; upcycling is a more "creative" version of recycling, not only designing, adapting and making usable a vintage piece, but also adding more value, and a brand-new charm.
To "upcycle" an item, it is essential to update, modernize or deconstruct it. Clothing pieces and accessories have endless possible interpretations depending on the designer.
Creative recycling's most interesting benefit is that it ensures that it's irresistibly unique. Redesigning is an exclusive and personal activity, connecting contemporary and past moods.
A plain t-shirt can turn out to be interesting by applying pieces of luxury fabrics, a ruined pair of jeans can get a second life as shorts, a discolored jumper can rock if dyed in a specific way.
There are no limits: the most important thing is to be open-minded, use high quality materials and take care of your items.
Hence, upcycling is about aesthetics but also substance: a "brainy" charm that pleases your longing for a more sustainable lifestyle and lets you enjoy the luxury experience of having something that's different from anyone else.
A.N.G.E.L.O. has always been committed to boost the value of vintage. That's why we aim to ensure attention and creativity to the upcycling process, making contemporary what's already been loved.
Discover all our upcycled items on our online store.