Recycled fashion has become a major topic of discussion as climate change and environmental degradation have become an extreme issue for our world today. The rise of fashion since the 1980s has left the world with a gluttonous amount of clothing that is often discarded or forgotten because people do not see a use for their outdated or damaged garments. But, what many people don’t realize is that these clothes have the opportunity to live again, and live in style.
To fully understand the potential of recycled fashion, one must first acquaint themselves with the master of ‘high fashion thrift’: Maison Martin Margiela. The Belgian designer was inspired by the deconstructed movement that hit the fashion scene in the late 1980s, which lead to his choice to use recycled fashion as his medium. He reinvented thrifting by making shopping at secondhand stores a norm. Margiela used his purchases from these stores as the fabric and references for not only his self-entitled brand, but also for when he took the reigns of the luxurious fashion house of ‘Hermes’ to create awe-inspiring recycled and deconstructed pieces of high fashion art.
Margiela resigned as the creative director for his own brand in 2009, but the legacy of his innovations struck commercial and critical success even as two new directors (the current being John Galliano) took over after his hiatus in the world of high fashion. Margiela is an inspiration to the editors of Vogue and to environmentalists alike, and will hopefully inspire others to think deeper about those clothes in the back of their closets could become.