How to design a collection using deadstock fabrics and leathers?
Upcycling deadstock fabrics and leathers: a new creative challenge for fashion brands
Old bed sheets, covers, end of fabric rolls… Many fashion brands repurpose unexploited resources by transforming these already existing materials into new and more valuable products. Upcycling is one way to bring circular economy into the fashion industry: an old bed sheet can become a brand new fitted shirt, a scrap piece of satin can get transformed into a dress while a cover can metamorphose into a bag. In addition to reviving end of line materials, upcycling makes it possible for designers to push the limits of fashion design way further…
Getting inspiration from existing quality materials
Within fashion brands or fashion houses, every creative process begins with a moodboard, on which silhouettes, sketches, samples of threads, scraps of textiles or leathers are displayed… Step by step, a collection appears, it is a work of art where nothing is left to chance.
Upcycling can bring a different approach to creation. Designers find their inspiration in the pre-existing materials they have to put together their collection. Although this creative process does not allow them to create freely, it remains a powerful stimulus for creativity, giving way to the unexpected, to surprise... It is by immersing themselves in the touch, the colours, the patterned fabrics and leathers selected by the LVMH Maisons’ designers that they imagine the future pieces. Nona Source sells discount high-end fabrics and leathers online and also has a showroom in Paris. At La Caserne, Europe’s largest sustainable fashion and luxury accelerator hub, it is possible to visit and browse through a rich fabric and leather collection and get advice from experts.
Designing a piece of clothing while optimising upcycled fabrics and leathers
Brands which acquire deadstock materials can only enjoy limited quantities. Upcycling implies limited volumes but also encourages brands to optimise the way they use ressources and help them becoming eco-friendly. There are many solutions to maximise the use of fabric and leather and limit material loss. Brands can notably focus on zero-waste pattern templates or upcycle material remnants in accessories like clutches or scarves.
Reinventing production methods
When a fashion brand produces a collection from upcycled fabrics and leathers, the number of pieces available for sale depends on the quantity of leftover textile and leather they have. Upcycled material, be it an end of roll and/or a fabric or leather with a minor defect, is only available in limited quantities, thus encouraging fashion brands to rethink their production methods. Here are some examples:
- Pre-ordering consists in estimating the number of orders placed before actually launching the clothing manufacturing process. Consumers purchase and pay online. Their product is delivered several weeks or months later.
- Bespoke or demi-bespoke clothing.
- Limited editions, capsule collection, drops…
In a way, these alternative designs (re)introduce a notion of rarity, desire and exclusivity in fashion. Patient consumers appreciate the idea of owning unique, personalised or limited edition trousers or bags, resulting in a new sustainable and eco-friendly way of consuming.