Archive for the ‘Trashion’ Category

Scrappy Style

Monday, August 11, 2014

From time to time, my day job takes me to Nairobi, a city I did not love upon first visit, but have come to appreciate over time. Both the weather and social climate can feel cool at first and take some getting used to.

I should note that in addition to reserved Kenyan culture, security threats add to the chilly atmosphere. Sporadic fire bombings in markets, the horrific attack on Westgate Mall last year and a general sense of terror linger, and have left a legacy of tedious and not very reassuring security all over the city. Armed private security staff stand guard at every mall, hotel and office building entrance, metal detectors abound and before any car may enter a parking lot, the trunk must be popped and a mirror run under the perimeter of the vehicle, presumably in search of hidden explosives.

A few years ago, I got stuck in Nairobi for 10 days when a volcano erupted in Iceland and sent up a cloud of ash that drifted East and grounded all flights crossing over Europe. The forced safari pushed me to really get to know the city, and everything it had to offer. That’s how I discovered the chaotic warmth of Kenyatta market, a bustling open air bazaar comprised of food and clothing stalls and, of course, informal barber shops and hair braiding salons.

Front and center when you enter Kenyatta sit several cobblers, racks of shoes before them. A couple of weeks ago, while having a lovely lunch of grilled chicken and goat ribs, I noticed that my colleague, Lynda, had on a stunning pair of shoes. “Where did you get those?!” I asked.  So she took me to Kenyatta and we marched straight over to the cobblers.

photo 1

Lynda’s shoes

The shoe guys had a nice little set up with an old singer sewing machine, that reminded me of a very early dispatch from Malawi. Lynda showed me the big bag of cloth scraps from which we could select fabric.

photo 2

Picking out fabric scraps

Once we had made our choices, we browsed the finished shoes on the cobbler’s rack and selected styles. Then he traced my foot. Two days later, I had two new pairs of shoes, including a pair modeled after Lynda’s with the same batik print. What I love about these shoes is that they recycle fabric remains (likely a deal the cobblers have set up with dressmakers in the market) and that the reuse is so one of a kind. My shoes, though identical in style and print to Linda’s, have their own asymmetrical charm as the fabric scraps are laid out slightly differently on my shoes than on hers.

photo 4

Making my shoes

Next time I need to figure out a way to upcycle fabric scraps without the use of toxic shoe glue. In the meantime, I can’t wait to wear my new kicks!

Building a slow fashion movement

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

In nepotistic news, word broke yesterday that my little sister, Soraya Darabi, and her friend, Maxine Bédat, will soon launch an ecommerce startup called Zady. You can read more about it here, here and here, among other places. These impressive young women have teamed up to pool Soraya’s experience in the tech world with Maxine’s experience running The Bootstrap Project, a nonprofit dedicated to creating a sustainable platform for global crafts. The result: a thoughtfully curated collection of fashion and homeware focused on quality, craftsmanship and, most importantly, supply chain transparency.

Of interest to trashies: Zady evolved in reaction to the “fast fashion” epidemic. Investing in high quality clothes and goods means throwing less away in the long run; and some of the designers the company features include brands breathing second lives into recycled materials.




Haute Trash

Monday, April 9, 2012

Garblogging would be a somber pastime if not for all the fun and creative people out there making incredible things out of trash. Seeking playful cheer in your life? Follow Haute Trash on Facebook. Trashtastic fashions made from whimsically reimagined materials.

Trashion at its best.

5th Annual Trashfinder’s Ball

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Mark your calendars and polish your hitchhiking thumb, it’s that time of year again. What time of year, you ask? Well, time for the good people of Beverly Mass. organize a wondrous community event called the Trashfinder’s Ball, a benefit for the local farmer’s market, now immortalized in a documentary film.

A trophy made from trash will be awarded to the person bearing the best “trash find” and there will be a catwalk to strut your stuff in recycled fashions. If you’re anywhere in the area, it’s Saturday, March 31, 2012 7:00PM at the
Franco-American Club, 44 Park Street, Beverly, Mass.

Go! Take pictures and send them my way!

Women in orange

Saturday, March 26, 2011

On my way home from a lovely vacation in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, last week, I spent a day in the city of Querétaro where the sanwomen all wear orange.



On the go

Weekly compactor: long overdue edition

Friday, October 8, 2010


Garbage truck Turkish style


This week in trash news:

The upcycling college

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Don’t know what to do with your career come August? Why not sign up to a 1-year program in upcycling design? Can’t believe I haven’t seen this before:

In the fall of 2008, Eskilstuna College started a course on sustainable development and recycling technologies. The course runs over two semesters and is intended for students who wants to work both theoretically and practically with the creation of new products from recycled materials.

You will have to work with practically everything from furniture restoration to the jewelry manufacture and use your imagination and creativity and you will certainly gain new insights into what sustainability really means.

This is really as cool as one thinks. [Apply here.] The work of this years trashtastic students can be followed at their blog, and their flickr. Personally, I’ve got my eyes on this vinyl record fruit bowl:

Vinyl record fruit bowl

The student will stage an end-of-the-year exhibition, open 27 May-20 August, at the college in Eskilstuna, so if you pass through Sweden, be sure to make a detour. In Stockholm, creations can be purchased at swop:art.

Trash Deactivation contest

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Calling all trashionistas: Ecotopia, a Polish website dedicated to fashion made from recycled materials, is hosting a contest to find the next great trashion design.


Contestants are asked to:

Create a new cloth, accessory or jewellery, which can be manufactured from items, things, materials which are not needed any more, redundant or broken and should be thrown away as thrash. Please, try not to buy new things – try to use only what you have available at hand. Strive to maintain simplicity in your project, but do not forget about the resourcefulness, comfort and materials which are available for your use.

Finalists and an ultimate winner will receive prizes and be featured in an online publication, “Trash Book”. Entries are due by February 1. For a complete list of rules, click here (and scroll down for English). Via the ETSY Trashion Team blog.

Upcycling Salvadorian style

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

If you walk down Valencia (which incidentally is a must when visiting San Francisco), you should stop by Casa Bonampak, at #1051, and take a look at these beauties. Best upcycled bags I ever saw, with bonus that they were made in a Salvadorian cooperative. Shop ’til you drop.

san francisco bags

San Francisco bags

New Eyes for the Needy

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A colleague placed a collection box for used glasses in the kitchen at my office. Her son is collecting them for New Eyes for the Needy, an organization that recycles eye glasses in the U.S. and overseas.

Let me know if you have an old pair to spare. Or start a drive yourself.

Laurapalooza trash kids

Sunday, September 27, 2009

So Laurapalooza yesterday was a big hit. I burned my face in the New Jersey sun again, but not as much as last time. Our flip flop hippo was item of the day, and we got pix with a president (coming soon). Also realized that people in Pennington have the cutest kids in the world. Many of them run around. Some are excellent trashion models:

trashion poster child !

Trashion poster child 1

trashion poster child 2

Trashion poster child 2

Slow wear advisors

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Rewardrobe is a London-based consulting firm that advises clients on “slow wear” and the sustainability of their wardrobes. The idea, I think, is that they advise people how to pick items that last and revamp what they have so it reads fresh and fashionable in a modern environment. I wonder if the amount of shopping offset by this firm offsets the amount of energy generated to earn the cash to pay their fees. What do you think?

via Green Girls Global

Cuff it up!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The latest in upcycling and trashion seems to be cuff links. Check out these cool samples, first one by Liza Hermeline from old typewriter keys, second one by David Wright from old circuit boards. Follow the links to purchase.

Cufflinks by Liza Hermeline

Cufflinks by Liza Hermeline

Cufflinks by David Wright

Cufflinks by David Wright

Condom couture

Sunday, August 27, 2006

condomdetail2.jpgcondomred.jpgcondompink.jpgcondomdetail.jpgcondomdress.jpg While the world’s AIDS advocates gathered in Toronto last week to discuss new research, technologies and strategies for tackling the epidemic, artist Adriana Bertini of Brazil filled the conference center with some much needed color, humor and fantastical imagination via a spectacular fashion/sculpture series of dresses made from condoms.

This is a blog about trash.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

This is a blog about Oscar the Grouch. It’s about the smoke of burning trash piles wafting through every developing country in the world. It’s about the billions of dollars a year spent exporting garbage from one state to another. It’s about diving into a dumpster and coming up with a still-warm burger and three packets of mustard. It’s about detonating landmines with old truck tires and building bookshelves out of milk crates. It’s about barges. It’s about battery acid. It’s about paying sixty bucks for a change purse made of soda can tabs because the label says a women’s group in Latin America glued them together. It’s about sorting plastics. It’s about beaches built on landfills and landfills built on beaches. It’s about the “away” in throw away and the “out” in toss out and the “rid” in get rid of it. This is a blog about the art, money, power, politics, people and literature of garbage. It’s a subject that shocks and amuses me nearly every day, which is about how often I imagine I’ll be posting. I hope you’ll share in the fascination.

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