Glass looks at Alexander McQueen’s approach to upcycling

TAKING it not only in their stride to commit to circular fashion, the house of Alexander McQueen actively put it into practice. Using stock fabrics and upcycling materials across both their men’s and women’s ranges, they implement an element of sustainability into everything that they touch.

For spring-summer 2021, upcycling played a huge part in the narrative of the collection. Designed and constructed during Britain’s lockdown, Creative Director Sarah Burton and her design team decided to test their creativity by using material they already had and transforming it into something new.

McQueen Upcycling
McQueen Upcycling
Alexander McQueen Womenswear: Photograph: Chloe le Drezen

A hybrid trench coat was crafted out of beige cotton stock fabric while the tailored coat with parka detailing used leftover wool twill and black polyfaille from the previous menswear collection.

McQueen Upcycling SS21
McQueen Upcycling SS21
McQueen Upcycling SS21
Alexander McQueen Womenswear. Photograph: Chloe le Drezen and Federica Arpino

Made from ivory Chantilly lace, the corseted dress with a Watteau back and dove lace embroidery proves that just because something has been used doesn’t take away from its beauty.

Stock fabric and upcycled fabric are reconstructed into an ivory wool silk cropped single-breasted jacket paired with a shredded silk tulle skirt to play on McQueen’s love of balancing femininity and masculinity.

McQueen Upcycling SS21
McQueen Upcycling SS21
Alexander McQueen Womenswear: Photograph: Chloe le Drezen & Liam Leslie

For the menswear pre-fall 2021 collection, parkas lost their collar and were designed with a gathered neckline and exploded skirt volume all put together from forgotten black polyfaille.

McQueen Upcycling SS21
Alexander McQueen Menswear. Photograph: Chloe le Drezen Liam Leslie

With the fashion industry gaining a bad reputation due to the waste it produces, it is small steps like reusing leftover material and taking unused stock when creating collections that have a huge but positive impact in the long run.

Nonetheless, the Alexander McQueen collections still reinvent the old and continue their legacy forward.

by Imogen Clark 

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