Nostalgy or bad memories?
Upcycled 90s curtains and samples. I must admit that even though the 90s have influenced me (a lot), I really have a hard time looking back at the 90s home textiles, office posters and colourful walls. Typically a new bright colour in every room you entered - Remember? But when I saw these classic 90s curtains, I fell head over heels for them. However, not for curtains. Instead, I imagined dresses and bags that could look nice in these prints. I dug out old samples with materials or hardware that would look great as new-purpose Hymness bags with my newfound curtain materials. And that was the starting point for my new Upcycled x Recycled project.
Upcycling is not a new thing for me, or something I do because it's trendy. It is something that I have done for years, re-making clothes for me or my daughter from my old wardrobe. Even costumes for Halloween have always been made mainly from old bedsheets or old clothes, with only a few new parts.
Working with secondhand materials can be tricky, and finding enough 'good' material to make it worth sending to a workshop for a remake is challenging. Generally, things needed to fall into place, like finding a partner for making my designs and equal importance to finding enough materials suited for the project. This is one of the logistic challenges of working with upcycled materials, and preferably in future, I would love to find a more steady source for these projects.
Creativity and positive change
Creativity is a blessing that boosts positive energy and inspires new points of view in life - If we are open to it. One of my visions for Hymness is keeping an open mind and curiosity about making responsible fashion. This includes experimenting with materials, processes, and concepts. If our goal is sustainable-perfect, I fear the creative process will be lost in paperwork and pointing fingers, which feeds negative energy instead of inspiring change.
I wish to enjoy the process while growing my awareness and knowledge. And this project has done just that for me. I started by finding my material and illustrating my ideas, ready to send to a potential workshop.
Finally, I found a workshop in Slovakia with values matching mine. Founded by two women who started upcycle materials from the local car industry and now running a small social workshop employing women with disabilities and, in other ways, who have problems getting a job. These women have provided jobs for the homeless, refugees and women from minority groups, offering them a chance for an income and a place to feel wanted.
For this project - I have made two bag designs in four different materials for my pilot project. The outer materials and hardware come from secondhand stores in Denmark and samples, now serving a new beautiful purpose as Hymness bags. The lining is recycled polyester, supplied by the workshop, which uses this material for their projects. The zippers used are YKK Natulon, having recycled parts from ocean plastic. From the leftovers from making the bags, they have made decorative scruncies and hairbands that matches the bags, and giving the small fabric pieces a purpose too.
This creative, fun and meaningful project support small businesses in Denmark (me) and Slovakia. This is not a project that will make me rich in any way, as upcycling can never china prices - even the high current shipping cost. But it's an important project, supporting a good purpose in terms of materials, humans and female entrepreneurs.
On my mind
We tend to focus on recycled materials, which is good, but I am often left feeling that we sometimes overlook the human aspect. It's common to follow success and focus on revenue, bigger, better, faster mentality - While our co-workers, or ourselves, go down with stress. Only to push production and prices of people who are less fortunate in life, who then will need to work for less, often under horrible conditions. It is not the money - I believe we can be happy with less, but we need to be treated with dignity and worth. So what is happiness really?! Let's never stop experimenting or learning - Learning guides us on where to put our feet next and feel good about it.