Fashion Alive

Close this search box.

circular fashion method

Circular Fashion - FASHION ALIVE

Our Method Design: UMINHO as a project member has focused their research methodology in exploring the creation of fashion items recycling materials coming from second-hand clothes and other sustainable materials. What does this mean? Techniques that depart from the concept of Circular Fashion to promote the use of materials and can represent a significant textile waste reduction in the environment.

Our mission?

As part of the project’s mission to disseminate innovative sustainable fashion design methods and raise awareness about the importance of a circular textile and fashion industry, each partner showcased their collections in an innovative format combining conventional runway shows with performative elements.

We call for a sustainable industry!

The fashion industry is one of the most impactful in the world in environmental and social terms. The mass production of clothing and accessories consume abundant natural resources such as water, energy and raw materials, and generate an enormous amount of waste and pollutants that affect the environment and human health. In addition to this, one of the biggest problems that affects the planet today is the large amount of post-consumer textile waste.

From a global point of view, we can say that 87% of textile discards are deposited in landfills or incinerators, 13% are somehow recycled, – 12% are recycled in a down-cycling way, (for products with lower quality) value and only 1% is recycled into new parts (with identical level of quality), (Ellen Macarthur Foundation, 2020, p. 7). 

Faced with this problematic issue, the challenge is to work towards a more sustainable fashion market and more conscious consumption.

Circular Fashion team up with Upcycling Technique

Circular Fashion is an approach that seeks to change how the fashion industry produces and consumes clothing and accessories, making the system more sustainable and responsible. 


Circular Fashion x Circular Economy Model

A concept that has been discussed since the 1970s and became known worldwide after the release of a report by the Ellen McArthur Foundation (EMF) in 2012, it evaluates the economic potential of the benefits of a transition from the regular/linear economy to a circular one (WAUTELET, 2018). EMF defines the Circular Economy as a system capable of making the transition from the traditional linear economy, which extracts natural resources, manufactures products that are discarded at the end of their useful life, to a circular economy model, based on the reduction of waste generation and pollution. 



A technique of reuse that meets the principles of Circular Fashion and consists of transforming materials and garments that would otherwise be discarded, into new products, with greater added value and lower environmental impact. In fashion, this can involve the reuse of fabrics, scraps, used clothes (postconsumer) or unused objects to create new pieces of clothing, accessories or even decorative objects. 

Circular fashion and the upcycling technique are important initiatives to promote a more sustainable and conscious fashion industry, contributing to reducing the environmental impact and promoting fairer and more ethical practices in the production of fashion clothing and accessories.

Experimentation X Prototyping

Phase 1

One of the main characteristics and advantages of upcycling is its personalized and unique nature in clothing creation. Each piece produced using this technique carries out with it a different history and design, as it is the result of transforming existing materials.

However, it is important to be careful when producing garments through upcycling. First, it is necessary to select materials with quality and in good condition to ensure the durability of the new clothing, particularly when working from post-consumption clothes. 


Phase 2

Another aspect to consider is experimentation. Upcycling allows for creative freedom and the spirit of innovation. It is possible to experiment with different combinations of materials, colors, prints and textures to create truly unique items. Experimentation on a mannequin by moulage techniques normally encourage the exploration of new ideas, resulting in original and surprising creations. 

However, it is important to keep in mind the functionality and usability of the final clothing. Aesthetics are fundamental, but the piece must also be comfortable, practical, and suitable for its intended use. 

The Circular Collection

The UMINHO’s Circular Fashion collection is the result of the work carried out by students of the 3rd year of the graduation in Fashion Design and Marketing. The work took place in a series of Workshops in a classroom environment during the academic year of 2022/2023. Students were organized into 7 groups of 4 to 5 students to allow the creation of capsule collections, with each student responsible for the design of one upcycled fashion look. 

Project brief: 

“Inspired by the theme «Powered by change», within the concept of circular fashion, create a conceptual mini collection based on garments from garments “sleeping” in the closet or at the end of their life cycle (post-post consumption disposal). Some of the requirements for selecting the pieces to be re-signified are that they somehow have emotional connection with the designers who will work on them. 

To wrap things up

The results presented in this report correspond to the work developed within the scope of the Creativity and sustainability workshops for fashion. These Workshops composed the first part of the CU’s work, which consisted on developing upcycled conceptual garments to work as inspiration and guideline for the creation of their final capsule collection. 

It should be noted that the exploration of this methodology took place within the scope of a training process and as such, the emphasis is placed more on the design process and on the skills that these future designers acquire, than on the sewing quality of the final prototype. 

The main objective was to empower the students with the knowledge of this upcycling methodology and also to make them aware of the recyclability difficulties of the clothing resulting from Fast Fashion Industry, for example the low quality textile materials. 

Want to know more and take a look at our creative process?

spread the word

Fashion Film 2023

A hybrid lifestyle that spans several genres…

Our commitment? To promote sustainable fashion and its future, and in addition to developing our portfolios, we developed

Read More »

Zero Waste Fashion

Fashion Alive is a project dedicated to sustainable fashion. It was born from the spirit of collaboration between people, companies and Universities in the

Read More »

Fashion Film 2023

A hybrid lifestyle that spans several genres…

Our commitment? To promote sustainable fashion and its future, and in addition to developing our portfolios, we developed

Read More »

Fashion Film 2023

A hybrid lifestyle that spans several genres…

Our commitment? To promote sustainable fashion and its future, and in addition to developing our portfolios, we developed

Read More »