Upcycle Progress: Fabric

Brainstorming an idea for this assignment was one of the hardest processes I’ve done in the past few years. I have abandoned my creative parts of my mind for a long time. One of the reasons that made me enroll in this course is to nourish my creativity.

I was lost, I didn’t know where to start, what to make/build, or what to use. I decided to break this challenging process into smaller manageable tasks. I decided to go to Target and walk around the store, see if I can spark any ideas by looking at the crafts and stationary section. After spending almost half an hour strolling between different aisles, I returned home with nothing. I started to panic because I have put so much pressure on myself to create something that I will be proud of.

Few days later, I remembered how much I loved watching Project Runway and how I’ve always imagined myself as a contestant while watching it. Viewing this assignment as a television series challenge made things easier. I decided that since its an upcycling assignment, I should be able to use things that have been laying around the house rather than purchase items to work with. I roamed around my apartment for more than 3 hours. I looked in drawers, cabinets, and cleaned my storage room. It seemed like none of these activities helped me in generating any ideas.

Finally, yesterday, while I was doing my laundry, I realized that I had a bag full of unwanted clothes laying the back of my closet. I started a donation bag to help me get rid of pieces I don’t want instead of having a big cleaning/sorting ritual. In that bag, I found t-shirts, sweaters, faux fur lined parka jacket, embroidered utility jacket, neon shirt, checkered leggings, jeans, beanie, neck pillow cover, a woven jacket, and velvet tracksuit jacket.

At that moment, it felt like I have found a treasure. It was already decided. I am using these clothes as a building unit. I decided to work with these fabrics as a palette since they offer a variety of colors and textures if implemented correctly, can create an artwork. Here are few of the swatches I made:

And since I had just gone through my entire apartment, I remembered I had a left-over Styrofoam panel that was sitting in my storage room which I have gotten last summer to create art projects.

The styrofoam panel had a foil-covered side which I thought was cool to work with. I haven’t decided whether I’m going to use it yet, but I will keep it until then.

Now, I’m in the process of sketching how I’m going to use the fabrics to create an artwork on the styrofoam piece.

I am still exploring which aesthetics I want to apply. Here are few sketches I have so far:

I also collected few images which I thought had ideas worth exploring for inspiration purposes:

Other non-fabric aesthetics that can easily be applied using the materials in hand are pop art and glass art since they offer a wide range of colors/patterns within one artwork separated by solid black lines. However, I think going for this type of art will be challenging to pull off.


  • http://www.artnews.com/2014/01/30/avant-garde-quilt-explosion/
  • https://www.pinterest.fr/pin/402087072975135434/
  • https://weallsew.com/create-a-fabric-collage-art-quilt-from-a-photo/
  • http://stevenhomestead.com/tapestries/
  • https://www.instructables.com/id/Wall-Quilt-Art-No-Sewing-No-Glueing/
  • https://susancarlson.com/2018/09/08/patterns-for-fabric-collage/
  • https://theartstack.com/artist/romero-britto/britto-garden
  • https://www.wikiart.org/en/dumitru-gorzo/ceausescu
  • https://www.wikiart.org/en/romero-britto/michael-jackson
art, clothes, fabric, patchwork, popart, recycle
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4 Comments. Leave new

    April 27, 2020 6:17 am

    I am a fashion designer and a student as well I need help to be a great designer

  • […] Upcycle Progress: Fabric […]

  • Jordan Nahabetian
    February 3, 2019 11:59 am

    You laid out your process very well. I enjoyed your sketches and saw a lot of creativity come through there. I think you have a lot of good ideas and I know when I have many ideas I find it difficult to pick just one. Maybe there’s a nice way to combine some of your ideas into one.

  • I enjoyed your sketches (great linework and expression) and the influences they seem to express (cubism, pop-art, modern abstract). I would challenge you, however, to actually test what your designs would look like on the foam. I am not entirely sure, other than the utility of a substrate, what the purpose of the foam serves.
    Using the fabric to create your designs, especially from unwanted clothing, is a brilliant way to tell a story about yourself without proper exposition. The hexagons are a great exploration of color theory. Take that further before you commit to cutting.
    Continue to flex your creative muscles. Venture into new territory; attempt to use mediums you have not used prior. I am personally very excited to see where you take this project.

    On a side note, I would have done my best Tim Gunn impression, but this is in text, so just imagine his voice when I say “Okay designers, make it work.”


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