Upcycled fashion is slowly making its mark in Malaysia, with new stores specializing in reworked vintage clothes popping up on Instagram in recent years.
Upcycling is a method of taking pieces of old clothing and materials and giving them a new lease of life by turning them into completely new garments. Trailblazers in this scene include Los Angeles-based Femail and Reformation. They are the exact opposite of fast fashion brands like Zara and H&M, which generate tonnes of fashion waste each year, and that’s because nearly everything produced by slow fashion brands uses very few materials.
In Malaysia, brands joining the sustainable fashion movement include Upsygals, which is known for its quirky styles, and Uncledanaunty, where street fashion meets anime.
While it’s possible to upcycle clothes on your own, not everyone is adept with the sewing machine. This is where the pros step in.
Here are five local stores to check out:
Giving old clothes a new life with quirky patchworks is Upsygals, a brand that makes sure every piece used in making the item of clothing is sustainable, down to the very last recycled polyester thread, which is made from plastic bottles. Upsygals creates patchworked tops and dresses, often with contrasting patterns, laced together with a long piece of cloth.
Revive is your friendly neighbourhood thrift store that also creates upcycled pieces of clothing from unconventional materials like old aprons, kimonos and vintage varsity jackets. Revive embodies the true meaning of upcycling as the reworked pieces never fail to become something stunning, like transforming pyjamas into a stunning halter top. So cute!
Weebs and anime fans, perhaps Uncledanaunty is the right Instagram store for you to explore. Uncledanaunty breathes new life to old denim pieces with patchworks of anime art, like one of Ryuk, the ghostly character from the Death Note manga. The reworked denim are hand-drawn, hand-stitched, patchworked and bleached for a finishing touch.
Finders Keepers Kota Kinabalu
Handmade in Sabah, Finders Keepers Kota Kinabalu creates sweet, feminine sets of clothing from old curtains, and nightgowns, besides other fabrics. Finders Keepers has a slight “Little House On The Prairie” vibe with a modern, 2020-millennial twist. Fans of the English countryside aesthetic will love what Finders Keepers has to offer from their collection of reworked dresses and clothing sets.
Take one look at the Uglypretty Instagram feed and you just know that the garment you’re getting will be one of a kind. Designed by 24-year-old Daren Yeap, Uglypretty brands itself as a “reworked clothing brand” and creates vintage-looking corset tops, crop tops and denim bottoms out of old textiles.
Similar to Uncledanaunty, Mittens750 offers reworked denim, bags and accessories. Upcycled fashion enthusiasts will love the colourful variety of stuff here, such as pairs of jeans covered in smiley faces or hearts, embroidered bucket hats and illustrated denim. The shop also appears to specialize in embroidering cute, tiny pieces of art onto old clothes to give them a fresh look.
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