FASHION / DESIGN

Designer Ellinor Nilsen shares 3 tips before you begin with your first upcycling project

The feeling of putting different patterns and colours together, the Swedish creative compares with being a grand composer.
By JOHAN MAGNUSSON
May 04, 2022

Nilsen is a fashion designer who’s been working in the fashion industry for a long time, but got tired of the business and started to work for a local second-hand organization instead to see and learn new things.

— I have extra love for materials, she says, and I am kind of a colour composer. My latest project is my one-of-a-kind bathrobes made from vintage towels that couldn’t sell due to small holes or stains, which I cut away when making my robes. I sell my products on Instagram directly to private customers.

From this week, these upcycled one-of-a-kind towels will also be available on retailer & Other Stories’ e-com, through a special capsule made of old towels.

— It was interesting to scale up a bit and see if I could improve my production and make it more efficient when I had a more significant order — fifty unique bathrobes. All the sewing has been done at my friend’s micro-factory, just where I live in Gothenburg, and I’ve really felt like a grand composer putting all these different patterns and colours of the towels together to create each of the fifty robes, Nilsen shares.

Given your experience working with upcycling, what would you like to share with anyone who wants to begin with it?

— You need to turn off your computer and start to experiment with the material you have. You need a playful designer without fear. You can’t decide on a product beforehand; you have to try out different ideas and simplify your design to make it as production-friendly as possible. Upcycling is not cheap, but it is friendly to our planet, she says, continuing,

— I am moving to France in June but will continue creating things and continue upcycling and experimenting within that field. For me, it’s the future to take care of the materials that already exist. I would also to work as a consultant helping companies to earn money on their deadstock. The entire fashion industry is responsible for so much global damage; we desperately need to change business models. And turning trash into treasures is one way.

Ellinor Nilsen x & Other Stories.
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