Fabrics and offcuts, deadstock or unsold materials can be the starting points for a new production cycle, for designing something different through creativity and ingenuity, and for redefining the fashion of the future. By definition, upcycling transforms existing materials into something new and adds to its value, but Swedish designer Ellen Hodakova Larsson is taking it one step further by adding an innovative dimension. Deconstructing vintage clothing and deadstock, she repurposes them into new items, while flipping their inherent function. Working with offcuts and leftovers can be a challenge (or a game), given that you don’t have the luxury of choosing the exact fabrics you want. Larsson graduated from the Swedish School of Textiles in 2019, launching her label, Hodakova, soon after. Her creative work primarily focuses on everyday clothes and fabrics in order to create one-off pieces that subvert expectations of what they “should” be. In Hodakova’s universe, trousers become dresses, jackets take on exaggerated lengths and curtains or beach parasols (!) turn into dresses. "For me, the meaning of recycling things that have already had a life is to honour their history. An item of clothing can surprise you thanks to these references to its past. I believe that the process of change adds greater value to craftsmanship and innovation.” The brand’s designs are characterised by a classic mood inspired by the traditional menswear, reinterpreted by new ideas of elegance and style. Ironically called "Conventional Fashion", her latest collection brings out an interesting harmony between structure, comfort and a surprise effect. Larsson comments: "I’m just playing with perspective. So it’s a deconstruction of the conventional.”
Also Yekaterina Ivankova, designer born in Kazakhstan and trained in Florence, launched her upcycling brand in 2017 based on the concept of reuse in a mix of Italian tailoring and vintage references, with a contemporary twist. Starting from stocks of unsold clothes, modified patterns and sartorial remixes, she combines different worlds, creating unique, transversal pieces with a fluid fit. With inspirations such as contemporary art, architecture but also the culture of her homeland, she reinterprets classic pieces such as the trench coat, whose upcycling can lead to results featuring a strong fashion statement. Mixing the elegance and class of a refined garment with the edginess of more streetstyle references, Yekaterina Ivankova’s outerwear interprets contemporary fashion with originality and sustainability: surprising details, zippers, buttons, denim patches, removable parts, sartorial overlays, "sewing together" streetwear and femininity.
The new project in collaboration with WRÅD was born with these factors in mind. The YI/WRÅD capsule collection is the result of a fusion between the Milanese brand’s sample collection and vintage garments “already in her house” coming from research and development carried out over the years or leftovers from past collaborations. Ivankova, who personally made and sewed the models, says: "It was a wonderful experience to add my touch to the WRÅD garments and above all to give them the opportunity to dispose of stock by creating unique garments suitable for everyone, because we have made them genderless in every respect.”