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The world between fashion and art has a vast number of similarities, as well as polarity. While some artists manipulate clothing as an artistic medium, others use fashion designs to create an effect, to make a visual impression, to stand out and be reflective.

The boundaries in the fashion world are dependent on the market and, more specifically, the consumers. In recent years we’ve seen an immense yet essential attitude shift in regards to our planet and how we treat it. The revolutionary outlook is now to help reduce the necessity evils we consume and start restoring the earth back to its natural origins after years of ill-treatment. The inventions of materials such as plastics have revolutionised our lives; however, shamefully we have abandoned these un-biodegradable objects under 50% of our buried landfills and left the rest drifting frivolously over our seven seas. Sadly,we recycle a mere 5%-10% of what we produce and this has led to a catastrophic impact on our global ecology.

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Paige French, Hissia Shoot for Eluxe Magazine

Thankfully, this on-going issue has not gone un-noticed by the fashion world such as eco-friendly jewellery brand Hissia. As more and more consumers ‘go green’, it has had a significant impact on modern design inspiration. With both designers and consumers taking more of an active role in recycling, it’s more appealing than ever to showcase that you care to the world by making a statement through recycled wearable art.

A new wave of independent labels and big name brands have followed in the direction of organisations such as Patagonia, Study NY, aiming for their designers to utilize the infinite supply of source material and convert it into wearable and more importantly, stylish items.

  Study NY

Study NY

An old saying states, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure”. These strong words are starting to play an important role in regards to design inspirations, proving what one person may think is worthless may be cherished by another.

Increasing numbers of artistic designs are now playing close attention to this issue such as Thread International. Founded in the aftermath of the Haiti 2010 earthquake they aim to reduce poverty and unemployment by converting the island’s vast abundance of waste plastic into raw materials. Danish accessories company Pinqponq also feel they have a great responsibility to our environment, they have went on to create jobs for the local community and work on a ‘closed cycle’ scheme to guarantee their factories implement safe and acceptable working conditions for their employees whilst producing recycled 100% PET bottle backpacks. Their suppliers are partnered with the Bluesign system, an organisation whom aim to reduce the environmental impact concerning the textile supply chain.

Both combine efforts to create zero waste, and activate a fair wage policy across the textile manufacturing industry.

Drawing inspiration from plastics may be the primary source when brainstorming for some trendy recycled designs; however, a young street child in Africa sought inspiration from another direction and admirably lifted himself out of poverty utilizing electronic waste (or e-waste) to create jewellery.

David Nderitu, from Nyeri County in central Kenya drew inspiration through this concept and now turns a healthy profit by manufacturing jewellery from electronic waste. At the age of 16, Nderitu was given the life changing opportunity to escape his life of poverty on the streets and entered a children’s home, where he was offered the immense opportunity to enrol into a welding program. His personal appreciation of the earth combined with eco-friendly attitude gave him the idea and inspiration to create something beautiful from a piece of redundant rubbish. The young designer stated; “It makes ecological sense as well as economic sense to recycle waste materials instead of disposing them to cause hazardous effects to the soil,” (African Afeccionados,  2015)

Hissia Eco Accesories

(Eco-Friendly Waste, liveafrika)

Acting on his idea David decided to seize this opportunity as a means of personal support and bettering his environment at the same time. Now at school and having successfully completed grade three of the welding course, between studies the former street child collects waste materials from discarded computers and mobile phones. He then purchases the earring hooks for an affordable price at the Maasai market in Nairobi, crafting around 60 pairs of earrings out of his scrap metals around every two weeks. His work sells for 300 shillings (£2.10) locally and he can earn more than three times that oversees. Sponsors from America’s Penn State University now buy his work in bulk, the Daily Nation reports.

David has went on to motivate others around him, Alex Matizo, a 19-year-old also from Kenya has followed in his inspirational footsteps and has recently debuted an array or quirky designs from e-waste.

This heart warming account tells the story of a young boy with little opportunity yet his warm aspirations to help the planet combined with his artistic flair went on to aid him in fulfilling his potential. The e-waste jewellery designer states;

“I chose to venture into producing e-waste jewellery after discovering my potential while in my new home. The little I get gives me the energy to keep on going,”

Using 100% recycled PET bottles to construct handmade exquisite pieces, European based organisation Pet Petits are an eco-brand with a difference . Their aim being to create not only something beautiful but to promote the concept of ecology and the road to sustainable  development. The collection consists of a delicate array of unique bracelets, each individually decorated with multiple designs and colours proving eco-friendly jewellery has never been so chic. (Pet Petits, 2015) Drawing inspiration from the World and utilising our waste resources to create elegant pieces of art work in the form of jewellery is rapidly becoming increasingly popular. From the street children of Africa to organisations striving to help re-build communities in Haiti, this concept is proving more than ever eco-jewellery is the way forward.


Pet Petits -By Sir Henry

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