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TOYOTA CONNECT


TURNING TRASH INTO TREASURE IS NOT ONLY SUSTAINABLE AND ETHICAL, BUT CAN ALSO BE CUTTING-EDGE AND TRENDY. MEET THE PEOPLE PUTTING THE “ECO” INTO OUR ECONOMY


I


t was Livia Firth, founder of Eco Age and wife of English movie star Colin Firth, who first made Cyril Naicker


aware of upcycling. “She’d attend major red-carpet events wearing a dress her mother had worn years before. I then began to see more and more people talking about reinventing things they had into something different and I loved the concept,” recalls Naicker, who’s a local-label fan, the CEO of marketing, events and social media company Afrikan Soul HQ Productions and the Western Cape representative for Fashion Revolution (see alongside, “Who made my clothes?”). “Upcycling is re-using something without destroying it in order to form something new,” he explains.


UPCYCLING vs RECYCLING Recycling takes materials – mostly


paper, plastic, glass and metal – and breaks them down so that their base materials can be remade into a new product. Upcycling, on the other hand, doesn’t break down the materials. You may be refashioning them, but the end product is still made of the same materials as when you started.


they’re either items I bought abroad or were given to me by my late parents. One of the most valued possessions in my wardrobe is a jacket I had made for an event with a Bollywood theme. The fabric and embroidery came from my grandmother’s sari.” When it comes to fashion, upcycling


is a no-brainer, he says. “Just think of the craftsmanship that goes into the product. A lot of work goes into turning the item into something desirable.”


WHO MADE GOOD FOR THE PLANET –


AND FOR YOU Upcycling’s benefits to the environment are obvious: by re-using an item, you’re removing it from the global garbage stream. But there’s more to it than that, says Naicker. “You’ll stand out among the crowd for the sheer authenticity of the garment. And if it’s your own piece of clothing you’re upcycling, the benefit is that you get to keep an item that’s precious to you by increasing its practical value and creating something you need,” he explains. “Isn’t it amazing to know that your favourite item can still be used, rather than gathering dust somewhere?” Naicker’s favourite upcycler is his tailor, Sajid. “He transforms my old pants, shirts and jackets into clothes that look almost new. I’m very sentimental about my garments –


MY CLOTHES? Have you ever wondered who made your clothes? How much are they paid to do this and what are their lives like? Sadly, the majority of the people who make clothes for the global market live in poverty. This was highlighted on 24 April 2013, when the Rana Plaza building on the outskirts of Dhaka, Bangladesh, collapsed, killing 1 138 people and injuring 2 500. The victims were mostly young women working in garment factories. Since then, people around the world


have united in using the power of fashion to change the world.


www.fashionrevolution.org @fash_rev


UPCYCLING HEROES


36


© Khobone Ntsoaole


WORDS: ERIKA BORNMAN. SOURCES: WWW.HIPCYCLE.COM, WWW.ECO-AGE.COM, WWW.DAVISON.COM


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