The Upcycled Collection: Reimagining the Unwearable
The future of fashion is in good hands.
TRR asked Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) students to participate in a design contest reimagining unwearable TRR items in the form of an exclusive collection of one-of-a-kind coats—and they delivered.
Introducing the Upcycled Collection.
Judged by legendary supermodel Pat Cleveland, celebrity stylist Erin Walsh, and TRR president and COO Rati Sahi Levesque, the collaborative effort was a celebration of the innovation, creativity, and consciousness of the next generation of designers—as well as a testament to the evolving landscape of the fashion industry. Namely, a commitment to sustainability that designers and consumers alike have begun to embrace more than ever in recent years.
“The fashion industry plays a leading role in carbon emissions, from making fabrics to contributing to landfill waste,” says FIT student and contest designer Sophia Bonilla. “There’s an abundance of fabric, and by repurposing this fabric, we’re consciously working towards a solution instead of contributing to the problem.”
The contest’s winner, Benjamin Halunen, approached the contest with an appreciation for the previously unusable pieces at hand. “For me, textiles are already a piece of art. Upcycling allows us, as designers, to give them a second life.”
Halunen went on to stun the judges with a patchwork-inspired coat that utilized wool suiting, Mongolian sheep’s fur, cotton shirting, and taffeta-lined denim.
“As I selected each garment, I was conscious about each singular textile and how it would all come together. Patchwork is so important because it represents different people and places coming together as one,” says Halunen. “I was inspired by the life and memories of the original garments before I upcycled them into a new coat.”
And isn’t that what the circular economy is all about? (You can read more about TRR’s long term sustainability efforts here.)
The competition’s first runner-up, Nadia Phie, and second runner-up, Emily Cha, similarly impressed the judges with their creativity and execution. “I wanted something that didn’t look upcycled,” says Phie, who reimagined white denim and cotton pieces to create an ambitious ‘50s-inspired coat.
Other competitors included Siew Xin Tian, Kenisha Seth, Hemera Luo, and Nuo Cheng, who all brought their singular POVs to the competition with coats crafted from discarded plaid button-downs, to old jeans, and every fabric in between.
As fashion-industry titans, the competition’s judges know their stuff—and understand the impact these future designers will have on the industry and the planet. “I’m so excited to introduce these emerging designers to our more than 34 million members—they are truly a testament to the future of fashion,” says Levesque.
And while there could only be one winner, as far as we’re concerned, the future of fashion is bright—and circular—with these future designers at the forefront.
“These students are truly the new leaders of the fashion industry,” Cleveland says. “And endowed with the consciousness of taking care of our planet.”