How the Future of Your Trash Will Be the Next Streetwear Trend and Catalyst for Social Change with Nicole Blue of WastedLA
How many times have you been stuck with left over plastic bags after grocery shopping or taking food to go not knowing what to do with them?
Stuff it under the sink? Eh sure.
Throw it out? Definitely not.
Here’s one - combine them into a sick bomber jacket.
Experimental designer, Nicole Blue of Wasted LA, is turning heads by upcycling trash into lasting clothes. From a vest made of contact lens packs to her star piece, the TakeOut jacket, Nicole uses design to create positive economic and environmental change.
We had the opportunity to pick the brains of this Seattle native and USC graduate who started Wasted LA out of a senior thesis project.
When and how did you start your journey towards conscious consumerism?
I’m originally from Seattle, so I’ve always grown up in a very environmentally conscious culture, recycling and composting and all of that. But to be completely honest my journey as a conscious consumer didn’t begin until very recently.
During my research into waste for my thesis project,
I discovered the term “planned obsolescence” for the first time. Which refers to the practice of designing things to fail or just become obsolete after a certain amount of time, forcing consumers to buy a newer version of something.
For me it was the end result of this process that really got me to stop and start thinking about the life cycle of fashion as a whole.
What influenced you to start WastedLA?
If there’s a single source of inspiration that I had to point to as the catalyst for starting WastedLA, it would be my grandmother.
When designing a clothing garment, the first thing I really think about is the material that I’m working with; and how I can design something that really showcases that specific material.
What’s the most difficult or exhausting thing about being a conscious consumer and designer and what do you wish existed?
It’s exhausting just because of the nature of advertising and marketing. A lot of products try to put ecocentric spins on products that really aren’t that environmentally conscious.
There are all sorts of lifestyle blogs and magazines out there reporting on all the latest trends, but I’d really like to see some informational outlets that report on trendy clothes that are also eco-friendly.
If we can’t convince people to be environmentally-conscious because it’s the right thing to do, maybe we can convince them to support our cause because the things we make are also just really cool.
Any favorite brands or products?
Some of my favorite sustainable brands at the moment are Topiku and ReWilder. In terms of design I’m a big fan of Heron Preston’s work, I think it really pushes design boundaries.
Tips for designers and brands on how to create more sustainably?
I think there are really two primary components to designing and creating more sustainably.
The first is sourcing sustainably; using renewable resources, utilizing clean energy, and just generally reducing the carbon footprint of a product.
The second component, and to me the one that I really emphasize in my own work, is how to have your product live on sustainably.
We wouldn’t be surprised if we saw her name next to other prominent designers in the coming months.