Upcycling means taking waste materials back to production by adapting the material cycle processes with the help of design.

Trash to Trend aims to work as a meeting point between sources of secondary materials, designers, producers and customers to enable upcycling textile materials throughout their all life-cycles.

While the platform is initiated by the need to offer a solution for the ever-growing waste problem, it focuses on sharing design ideas that have the four merits:

Upcycled - at least 70% of the product should be made of secondary materials meaning that the product offers a new value for the material which conventionally could be called waste. It means that materials are valued in the form that they already have and no shredding or chemical recycling is necessary to produce new items out of leftover materials. 

Repeatable - each product should be designed in a way that the production can be repeated either by (1) bringing leftovers back into the existing production cycle, (2) using leftover materials by other producers in their production cycles (i.e. as industrial symbiosis) or (3) offering high-quality DIY instructions for making personalized product out of local secondary materials.

With high design quality - each product is highly functional and long lasting. With enough tailoring and craft skills and following the DIY instructions it should be possible to make the product with professional looks and feels.

Transparent - each product has it's story about what materials have been used, who made it and where does it come from. Having the three merits described above means that it is also possible to give facts and figures about how much and in which way the environmental impact is reduced with the product.

There are three methods to manufacture clothes and accessories – as an individual sewing at home (DIY), an independent designer or a small producer working in a studio (one-off or small-scale manufacturing), or mass production. Upcycling can be applied to all three methods. Even more, with all three methods post-consumer, pre-consumer as well as post-industrial waste materials can be used. 

The idea behind the Trash to Trend platform grew out of the doctoral research of Reet Aus, a designer who has been experimenting with upcycling in fashion and theatre costume design since 2005.