From “Out of fashion” to Upcycling. How Art and the Fashion Industry Have Resemantized the Word “Recycling”


  • Eleonora Chiais Università di Torino



Upcycling, Sustainability, Recycling, Reuse, Green Fashion


Over the years, the idea of ​​“recycling” linked to the fashion sector has experienced a fluctuating fortune. The practice of “putting something old back into use, re-using, re-proposing” has passed from the fashionable stigma of the “so last year” to the fashionista thrill of the vintage total look reaching, today, an unprecedented success with the so called “upcycling”. This term, which literally refers to the creative recycling process capable of making the new object acquire a greater value than the original, is now an authentic must for many luxury brands and for as many beginners. Nowadays the attention to this “luxury recycling” characterizes the world of institutional fashion which looks at upcycling process substantially from two points of view. On the one hand the creative, commercial and communicative one; on the other hand, the more strictly artistic one. The following article, using the tools offered by the semiotics methodology, investigates the consequences of the resemantization of the term “recycling” in the fashion industry. Starting from the presentation of some case histories, the aim of the research will be to demonstrate that the synergistic relationship between fashion companies and artists has allowed a change of perspective that will have important repercussions on the production sector.


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How to Cite

Chiais, E. (2022). From “Out of fashion” to Upcycling. How Art and the Fashion Industry Have Resemantized the Word “Recycling”. ZoneModa Journal, 12(1), 135–144.