Reet Aus is an Estonian fashion designer who has carried out doctoral research in creating upcycled clothing on an industrial scale. Not only has she founded Trash to Trend, a community-cum-digital-platform that seeks to extend the lives of production offcuts, she has also created an Upcycled Collection of menswear and womenswear which is manufactured from production leftovers but designed specifically for mass-production.
Manufacturing takes place at Bangladesh factory Beximco. Reet has deliberately chosen to produce her clothes in a city that has the biggest textile waste problem. She says, “They have no waste management – most of their waste is sent to China, dumped in a landfill, or burned. Of 8000 factories only five have water treatment.” Reet is also working on a documentary about working conditions at the factories she’s visited and the toxic chemicals employed to make our clothes.
According to Reet, her Upcycled Collection requires 70% less water and 64% less energy than its conventional counterparts. It also creates at least 40% less overall production waste. Her model also aims to create a waste-mapping database that allows for direct communication between waste generators, designers and clients while showing exactly how much waste is generated in a specific region, “This way, a transparent product chain is created, waste data is accessible, techniques are shared and upcycled products can be sold and marketed.”
The Reet Aus Upcycled Collection can be purchased at Trash to Trend.