Gone are the days when “trashion” made out of somebody’s castoffs was met with derisive snorts. Today’s recycled fashions are often indistinguishable from their fresh-from-the-factory counterparts. They might even be the height of luxury.
Upscale e-tailer Net-a-Porter has linked arms with the R Collective, billed as “Asia’s leading upcycled brand,” to fete an eight-piece line of dresses, pants and a jacket derived from luxury-manufacturer surplus and off-cuts that would otherwise be destined for the landfill or incinerator.
Featured exclusively on Net-a-Porter’s sustainability-centered Net Sustain platform, the collection aims to “celebrate the beauty of upcycling [and] circular fashion, and to prove that luxury fashion need not be wasteful.” Prices range from $1,525 to $3,915.
“We’re passionate about uniting sustainable designers and increasingly conscious consumers in our efforts to reduce fashion’s waste, whilst celebrating the power of fashion to be an agent of change,” Christina Dean, CEO of the R Collective and founder of the Hong Kong-based sustainable-fashion nonprofit Redress, said in a statement.
To promote the collaboration, the R Collective enlisted fashion influencer Susie Lau, singer and actress Mint Pattarasaya and stylist Justine Lee to highlight how creativity and a few supply-chain tweaks can curtail textile waste. More than 340 metric tons of textiles are dumped every day in Hong Kong’s landfills alone, according to the city’s Environmental Protection Department.
“Fashion reflects our times,” Lau said. “By rethinking fashion at the drawing board and reusing unwanted fabrics, there is a real sense of purpose to this collection. With our collective changing attitude towards sustainability in fashion a better fashion industry is not a distant hope, but a distinct reality.”
To maximize their resources, designers Wen Pan and Weiyu Hung—both alumni of the Redress’s annual design awards—applied design techniques such as waste-reducing pattern cutting.
“For me, fashion is not only clothing,” said Hung, who is based in the Netherlands. “Fashion is about how we see our world. It’s about living with our changing attitudes so we can find better solutions to benefit others.”
Net-a-Porter launched Net Sustain last June to make it easier for its customers to shop for eco-friendly shoes and apparel. The brands on its site, which include Stella McCartney, Maggie Marilyn, Lem Lem and Veja, incorporate ethical attributes such as “locally made,” “craft and community,” “considered materials,” “considered processes” and “reducing waste.”
“We have always wanted to provide our customer with the best products and allow them to make informed choices when shopping on the site,” Elizabeth von der Goltz, the company’s global buying director, said last year. “Our sustainable edit provides our customers with the knowledge they need, understanding that they can trust that these brands have been carefully reviewed and meet our criteria for inclusion.”