Upcycling is the answer to polluting fast fashion, according to Dubai designer

For many, used clothes are just rubbish, something old-fashioned to throw away and leave to rot in a landfill.

But Noorin Khamisani, who teaches at the Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation, sees them as a starting point, an inspiration for an entirely new garment.

This process of upcycling previously worn clothes is a response to the current thirst for fast fashion, in which items are used briefly before being thrown away.

“I think upcycling should be about transformation,” Ms. Khamisani says. “So you wouldn’t necessarily guess it was a jacket. Now it can be pants, it can be a skirt, it can be a dress, it can be anything.”

I think upcycling should be about transformation so you wouldn’t necessarily guess it was a jacket

Noorin Khamisani, Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation

“It’s this idea of ​​breaking it down, analyzing the shapes and thinking: ‘What do these shapes tell me and what can they inspire me as a designer?

Since joining the institute two years ago, Ms. Khamisani has emphasized the importance of sustainability for her students. A self-proclaimed eco-warrior, she says the growing recognition that the world has entered a climate emergency means that fashion, like other sectors of the economy, must rethink the way it operates.

“We live on a finite planet, so we can’t continue to behave this way,” she says.

“We created this very disposable culture. We do not value our resources.

“It is a major problem at all levels. It’s linked to overconsumption. If we have to produce more and more stuff, the stuff loses value. “

Fashion pollutes

The fashion industry has a significant impact on the environment, with the UN describing it as the second most polluting sector in the world.

Consultants McKinsey and Global Fashion Agenda, a sustainability organization, found that the clothing and footwear industries produced 2.1 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2018, more than France’s Germany and the United Kingdom combined.

Reports in recent years of high-end brands such as Burberry burning unsold clothes highlight an approach that activists say needs to change.

Opening a sustainable fashion forum in Dubai last year, Habiba Al Marashi, president of Emirates Environmental Group, said it was “high time” to take a more sustainable approach to fashion in the UAE.

Enthusiasm for fashion is as high in the Emirates as anywhere else, with clothing sales in the country worth $ 12.3 billion (Dh 45.17 billion) in 2018 and increasing by nearly five percent per year.

Ms Khamisani, from London, has a long-standing interest in sustainable fashion, seeing how the industry works while working for independent designers and high-end fashion brands early in her career.

She understood that a more eco-responsible approach was necessary and, in 2009, founded her own fashion brand, Outsider, which operates in accordance with these principles.

“When I started my brand, I was exploring this whole idea of ​​design for longevity and thinking about materials in different ways,” she says.

While her brand focuses on sustainability, many other fashion companies don’t. Ms. Khamisani wants them to be held accountable for their products even after they have reached the customer.

“For small independent design companies, that would be very difficult,” she says.

“But very large companies, let’s face it, they produce on a large scale. They really create the huge problems we face.

“They have to be leaders in terms of taking responsibility for the entire life cycle of this product, whether it’s…

“It’s in its infancy, it’s at the beginning. Unless there is government legislation, how many brands are going to do it? “

How upcycling can inspire

Ms Khamisani presented her ideas at a conference organized by universities in the UK and Sweden last year. His event paper, Explore upcycling as a design process through fashion education, was released last month.

The opportunity to promote these ideas to students was a factor that drew her to the Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation, which was founded in 2018.

She teaches design undergraduates, exploring with them issues related to the durability of materials and what happens to objects once they have been used.

They learn through project work in which they create models of new items from used clothing.

Students are aware of the importance of sustainability, says Ms. Khamisani, but need the technical skills to recycle.

There are different ways to do this, whether it’s adding a print to the material, dyeing it, putting the material together somehow, or cutting it out and knitting it into a new one. article.

Far from being a constraint, having to use old clothes to make new ones freed students “from the existing fashion system,” Ms. Khamisani said.

“They had to create with what they were given rather than with what they had to do. So in fact the silhouettes they created, the prototypes they created, looked very fresh and new, and didn’t feel like being dictated by existing trends, which, again, , is very important.

“We see this next generation as being able to create alternative fashion systems and alternative ways of making, doing and dressing.

“What’s great and exciting about the practice of fashion design is that we have so many tools and approaches that we can apply, that we can experiment. It can be a very fun and experimental process.

Update: July 5, 2021, 10:33 a.m.

The specifications

Engine: Four-liter V6 and 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6

Transmission: six speeds and 10 speeds

Power: 271 and 409 horsepower

Couple: 385 and 650Nm

Price: from 229,900 Dh to 355,000 Dh

The specifications

Engine: Four-liter V6 and 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6

Transmission: six speeds and 10 speeds

Power: 271 and 409 horsepower

Couple: 385 and 650Nm

Price: from Dh229,900 to Dh355,000

The specifications

Engine: Four-liter V6 and 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6

Transmission: six speeds and 10 speeds

Power: 271 and 409 horsepower

Couple: 385 and 650Nm

Price: from 229,900 Dh to 355,000 Dh

The specifications

Engine: Four-liter V6 and 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6

Transmission: six speeds and 10 speeds

Power: 271 and 409 horsepower

Couple: 385 and 650Nm

Price: from 229,900 Dh to 355,000 Dh

The specifications

Engine: Four-liter V6 and 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6

Transmission: six speeds and 10 speeds

Power: 271 and 409 horsepower

Couple: 385 and 650Nm

Price: from Dh229,900 to Dh355,000

The specifications

Engine: Four-liter V6 and 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6

Transmission: six speeds and 10 speeds

Power: 271 and 409 horsepower

Couple: 385 and 650Nm

Price: from Dh229,900 to Dh355,000

The specifications

Engine: Four-liter V6 and 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6

Transmission: six speeds and 10 speeds

Power: 271 and 409 horsepower

Couple: 385 and 650Nm

Price: from Dh229,900 to Dh355,000

The specifications

Engine: Four-liter V6 and 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6

Transmission: six speeds and 10 speeds

Power: 271 and 409 horsepower

Couple: 385 and 650Nm

Price: from 229,900 Dh to 355,000 Dh

The specifications

Engine: Four-liter V6 and 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6

Transmission: six speeds and 10 speeds

Power: 271 and 409 horsepower

Couple: 385 and 650Nm

Price: from Dh229,900 to Dh355,000

The specifications

Engine: Four-liter V6 and 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6

Transmission: six speeds and 10 speeds

Power: 271 and 409 horsepower

Couple: 385 and 650Nm

Price: from Dh229,900 to Dh355,000

The specifications

Engine: Four-liter V6 and 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6

Transmission: six speeds and 10 speeds

Power: 271 and 409 horsepower

Couple: 385 and 650Nm

Price: from Dh229,900 to Dh355,000

The specifications

Engine: Four-liter V6 and 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6

Transmission: six speeds and 10 speeds

Power: 271 and 409 horsepower

Couple: 385 and 650Nm

Price: from 229,900 Dh to 355,000 Dh

The specifications

Engine: Four-liter V6 and 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6

Transmission: six speeds and 10 speeds

Power: 271 and 409 horsepower

Couple: 385 and 650Nm

Price: from 229,900 Dh to 355,000 Dh

The specifications

Engine: Four-liter V6 and 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6

Transmission: six speeds and 10 speeds

Power: 271 and 409 horsepower

Couple: 385 and 650Nm

Price: from Dh229,900 to Dh355,000

The specifications

Engine: Four-liter V6 and 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6

Transmission: six speeds and 10 speeds

Power: 271 and 409 horsepower

Couple: 385 and 650Nm

Price: from Dh229,900 to Dh355,000

The specifications

Engine: Four-liter V6 and 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6

Transmission: six speeds and 10 speeds

Power: 271 and 409 horsepower

Couple: 385 and 650Nm

Price: from 229,900 Dh to 355,000 Dh