Going eco-friendly in style

Could mesh bags become a comfy stylish pillow? Or even have bags and purses made of canvas?

All of these are possible combined with, of course, a generous pinch of creativity and craftsmanship. And this is called upcycling.

What is upcycling about?

Upcycling is about transforming used materials into new products. Designers all over the world are taking advantage of upcycling to produce beautiful handcrafted pieces – be it decor or fashion – while reducing waste.

Be aware, however, to not confuse upcycling with recycling: they are different from each other. Upcycling means that used materials will not be put through a new transformation cycle – like in recycling – but will rather be used for other purposes in life. The premise is to turn a used object into a new one, adding quality and environmental value.

Upcycling is especially used with non-recyclable or difficult to recycle materials. This way, instead of generating more waste or filling landfills, one can prolong the lifetime of certain materials into new, better and different products.

Upcycled materials can go into art, décor, designer furniture, design pieces or even fashion! These materials can be pretty much everything from mesh or raffia bags, advertisement banners made from canvas fabric or tarpaulin, clothes and textiles, paper and books or wood.

Formª shapes new products from waste

Formª is an exciting project formed in 2014 by Carla Lopes, a Portuguese designer based in Lisbon. It is all about upcycling mundane objects from our daily lives and turning them into fine pieces of art, décor and fashion.

Carla, a “creator and craftsperson”, saw herself surrounded by an ocean of waste resources and materials, so she opted for choosing used materials in her creations, instead of raw ones. Upcycling is what makes Formª creations so special.

It’s always a way to reuse things that otherwise would go to waste, and create new objects that may be useful for everyday life.

Carla Lopes, Formª founder

In Carla’s world, a mesh bag once used to carry potatoes has a new life as a stylish pillow. A boring advertisement canvas or tarpaulin gets an exciting new go as a set of wallets, purses, storage baskets, chair seats, or even a suspended garden. Many other objects can (and will) become original and unique fashion jewellery.

By reusing materials through upcycling, Formª shapes and creates sustainable products, both useful and beautiful, with a much lower impact on the planet. By extending the lifetime of used materials, such as the ones that can’t be recycled, Formª is reducing the planet’s natural resources.