Updated: Friday, 10th July 2020 @ 7:36am

Lady Gaga dress and other upcycled fashion creations showcased on Manchester’s MOSI green catwalk

Lady Gaga dress and other upcycled fashion creations showcased on Manchester’s MOSI green catwalk

By Tui Benjamin

How much do 11,800 elephants weigh? Want to take a guess?

It’s 59,000 tonnes, equivalent to the weight of the reusable clothing that Mancunians throw away every year.

Between us we buy 90,000 tonnes of new clothing a year, with 1.4 million tonnes of clothing and shoes sent to landfill annually across the UK.

The city’s fashionable flocked to the Museum of Science and Industry last night for a fashion show which hoped to inspire us to see the value of what we might consider to be rubbish.

Run by Recycle for Greater Manchester as part of their award-winning Watch Your Waste campaign, the show featured only fashion which subscribed to the upcycling ethos.

Closing the show and the undoubted highlight were avant-garde creations by designer Adnan Bayyat, whose dresses are made entirely from recycled waste.

The Lady Cling gown, a dress worn by Lady Gaga and crocheted from 2.5 thousand metres of reclaimed cling film (image below), was received rapturously by the audience.

Adnan, who is self-taught and has commissions from the BBC, Sainsbury’s and Cancer Research under his belt, was told by his grandmother to do something that left an instant visual impact.

“Lo and behold, she left me a crochet hook. At the time I couldn’t afford to buy any other equipment so I set to with crocheting plastic bags,” he said.

“And the first thing I ever made, without having any training at all, was the Sainsbury’s dress.”

Another of Adnan’s creations on show was a dress made from 25,000 pieces of jigsaw, commissioned for a celebrity wedding last August.

“The whole concept was that the bride was the final piece of the jigsaw,” said Adnan.

“There were also 5,000 metres of shoelaces in the gown, to represent tying the knot.”

Adnan, who has always been interested in recycling, now describes himself as obsessed.

“It has had a big impact on my life, and so is a privilege and an honour to have been asked to be part of the Watch Your Waste campaign.”

Although you might not necessarily think the upcycling mentality and fashion’s fickle nature would sit together smoothly, Adnan insists style is more about craftsmanship.

“The high street is about mass consumption,” he said.

“Artistry is a forgotten trade, and it’s lost because we live in such a fast-paced world.

“It will go full circle and eventually we will turn to the make do and mend mentality of older generations. We’re already almost there.”  

The show also featured fabulous catwalk collections from labels Antiform, TRAIDRemade and Love Me Again and from designers Caroline Dionne, Constanze Friedrichs, Sara Li Chou Han and Susan Lang.

Sheridan Hilton, Waste Prevention Manager at Recycle for Greater Manchester, said that changing perceptions was important.

“We’re trying to get people hooked on a completely new way of thinking about fashion, in order to reduce textile waste,” he said.

“Sustainable fashion can be stylish and economical and we want people to see the value in what they might otherwise have thrown away.”

Designer Tracey Cliff’s Love Me Again collection stood out, featuring colour-blocked knits in classic bodycon and cinched-waist shapes.

These patchworked pieces are made from recycled knitwear and shirts, with fabrics sourced from rags and clothes that have stains and hole and are no longer wearable.

Also on hand was ‘Wardrobe Angel’ Stephanie Roper, who helps women de-clutter their wardrobes by identifying how to wear what they have in new ways

A huge fan of all things vintage, Stephanie is adamant that fast fashion is not the way forward.

“It’s about changing perceptions and getting people to shop smarter about where they’re getting their stuff from, even why they’re buying it in the first place,” she said.

Citing Ryan Vintage as one of her favourite places to shop in Manchester, she said that vintage clothing stands the test of time due to exemplary craftsmanship.  

Greater Manchester’s citywide recycling centres provide textile banks for unwanted clothes and shoes.

Quality items donated are sent to Africa and Europe to be reused, with unusable items recycled into industrial cleaning wipes.

To locate your nearest recycling centre and see how you can reuse your wardrobe, visit www.recycleforgreatermanchester.com

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Photos courtesy of Alan Hamer, with thanks.