4 labels upcycling denim and championing the circular fashion movement

Image via Ksenia Schnaider
Words by Hannah Cole

Trash to treasure.

Upcycling was once reserved for Etsy craft mums and bargain hunters; I can just picture the oversized smocks created from quilting off-cuts and old sheets. My past is speckled with similar bursts of creativity – I once made a *totally edgy* upcycled skirt from vintage tea towels in Year 12 Textiles.

Needless to say, it seems I was a little ahead of my time: the fashion world wasn’t quite ready for a reduce, reuse, recycle mentality. But, it’s finally catching on. Many brands are now flocking towards the seconds of others, scooping up leftover fabrics and then remoulding them as their own. And with so much denim in the world, logically there’s also a horde of denim off-cuts ripe for the taking.

Why produce more denim when you can use what’s already there? Some clever chooks are even making it a staple – a trademark – at the heart of their labels. Here are my picks of those making magic and adding a little more fun to the circular fashion movement.

Ksenia Schnaider

One way to bring sustainability to the forefront is to make it viral. Which is precisely what Ksenia Schnaider, the Ukrainian denim label, achieved when the likes of Bella Hadid sported the demidenims (a shorts-meets-jeans combo). And don’t forget the asymmetrical jeans that caused havoc among fashion media, with one leg skinny, one leg baggy. They’re the ultimate “why don’t we have both?” wardrobe moment. The savvy husband-and-wife duo sources denim from flea markets and remakes the classics into trend-heavy pieces. Looking further afield than jeans, they’ve branched into fitted denim blazers, incredibly adorable bucket hats, and a ‘denim fur jacket’. Our solution to the fur debate is here: make it denim. Delve in if you dare. I can get behind any label willing to take risks, without compromising the environment.



Paul Castro is the man behind Amassment, a bespoke Australian label dramatically transforming unused clothes into high-end designs. With each piece made to order, there’s a unique quality to every garment and an immense sense of care. No two pieces will ever be identical; isn’t this what we are striving for in a world of homogeneity? I have my eyes on the ‘4 Jeans Fusion Jacket’, the perfect amalgamation of vintage Levi’s. If you prefer your clothing to be works of art, this is a label to keep on your radar.


Ahluwalia Studio

Driven in part by the visuals of the second-hand clothing market in both Nigeria and India, Priya Ahluwalia is an active advocate for conscious consumption. Witnessing locals in jarring Western graphics and the growing, heaving piles of discarded clothing inspired a collection of responsibly-made, sustainably-sourced styles for the modern man. Finally. Too often it feels that menswear slightly lags in the sustainable domain, but Ahluwalia Studio’s assortment of colourful streetwear has me lusting. Every piece has been reworked and patched together in a completely seamless way. Alongside pairs of patchwork trackpants, individualised jeans and denim jackets sit comfortably. I am begging for women’s sizes also.



Brought to life by Nessie Croft and Gabrielle Leavesley, the Melbourne-based label offers a workwear spin on sustainability. Discarded fabrics, designer surplus and organic fibres build a wardrobe based on classic Monday-throughFriday shapes – jackets, trousers, shirting etc. I’m no expert, but if I had a corporate uniform five days a week, the fun of dressing would wear off quite quickly. And I live for the fun of dressing. So, if you’re stuck in a cubicle all day, hit these girls up. Build a wardrobe appropriate for work that also moonlights as a sustainable heavyweight. Coreprêt would be more than happy to introduce you to the joys of sustainable workwear.


This article was originally published in Fashion Journal 189. You can read it here.

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