Fashion upcycling is the return of uniqueness, an exclusive interview with Kamad Paris by Valeria Boi
Upcycling already existent fashion is one of the most effective ways to ensure sustainability in the fashion industry since it promotes the idea of fashion circularity. To “upcycle” means to recreate something already made and give it a new life and identity.
Over production and waste disposal are still a problem in the fashion industry, even if over the years there have been attempts to limit the production of clothes in name of sustainability. The lifecycle of a new garment is now well known: raw material extraction, fabric and clothing manufacturing, retailing, purchase and use by customers, disposal, contribution to pollution.
Nowadays we have different options to be cool and at the same time respectful of our planet and society, starting to buy from second hand and vintage stores, with authenticated luxury pieces.
Fashion e-commerce are introducing clothes rental services that offer the possibility to rent luxury articles for 3/5 days, eliminating the need to purchase.
Some brands are recycling the fabrics of the garments into new fibers and in some cases adding chemicals, turning it into a new item.
But these are not the only alternatives, there is another way: the upcycling.
Upcycling means taking an unsold or old garment and transforming it into something new, avoiding chemical substances and raw resources. The result is a unique piece that you can’t find anywhere else. Some designers are presenting upcycled clothing in their collections, in favour of sustainable design, which is the design of a product that respects the environment. The process using upcycled clothes is explained really well on a YouTube video, where it’s possible to see how the French brand Marine Serre , launched in 2017 with 50% of her collection composed of upcycled products, creates a denim jacket completely made of pieces from old denim jeans.
It’s interesting that new fashion brands are following this upcycling business model, combining sustainability and creativity and that’s what is doing the French brand Kamad, in its website is possible to find upcycled luxury pieces. We interviewed them to find out how their upcycling method works.
- How did the founders Mathilde Crouzilhac et Selima Kerimova decide to embark on this upcycling path?
Kamad : We really wanted to have an ecological impact by creating KAMAD. The upcycling appeared to us as an evidence because it is possible to create beautiful original and unique collections without feeling guilty to be a too polluting company (the world of the fashion being one of the most polluting sectors).
Kamad : Kamad Reworked: the brand created first, our creations are made from old suitcase scraps, buttons, tailors of great Houses (LV, Chanel, Dior ...)
Kamad Paris: our first two ready-to-wear collections were released in March 2022, high quality fabrics 100% eco-responsible, we do not reuse pieces from other brands as for Kamad Reworked.
- How did you find the luxury garments to modify?
Kamad : It is a real work of research which takes time. We find them at flea markets, auctions, collectors, antique dealers...
- How does the upcycling process take place?
Kamad : We go to our suppliers to get our eco-responsible raw materials, we do a big brain storming with the team before each collection, a lot of diagrams, drawings, simulations, we expose the projects to the seamstresses (actually everyone participates in the production), we promote each collection upstream on the networks (on tiktok, Instagram, on the manufacturing process), we share a lot of photos of the backstage to show our transparency with our customers, and then we launch each collection on Saturday evenings at 9pm.
- Do you have a designer or are the founders the creatives of Kamad ?
Kamad : The founders are the creative director of Kamad.
- Where do you draw inspiration from, for example when you mix a denim jacket with Dior brand patches?
Kamad : Our main inspiration was Dapper Dan.
Dapper Dan is an American fashion designer who introduced the luxury fashion to the hip-hop culture around 1982-1992, he is known for introducing upcycling, reworking luxury brand products and redesigning them into new garments.
- Based on your experience do you think is more difficult to produce reworked rather than new clothes?
Kamad : It is more or less the same difficulty. For new products, we have to design everything from scratch. For the reworked products, we have the base of the product but we have to update it by reworking the material which can be damaged.
- Did you receive a positive feedback from customers ?
Kamad : They are very happy with their purchases and we have created a very loyal community to Kamad that supports us in all our projects.
Valeria Boi, London