Artistic Up-Cycled Fashion for an Intentional Wardrobe

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photo of woman in jacket with hat

“Thrifted faux suede jacket with hand painted design. Styled with thrifted dress and felt hat.”

Choosing a piece of clothing says something about you. Beyond trends, we all have our own unique style that we portray through color, fit, pattern and more. We also have the opportunity to either support “fast” or “slow” fashion when we choose our clothing.

“Fast fashion” is the industry that moves trendy designs from the catwalk to the stores at cheap prices. Most often Fast Fashion has a poor impact on the environment, results in poor wages and working conditions for garment workers and promotes a throwaway culture where trends are constantly changing. “Slow Fashion” is quite the opposite. The movement focuses on ethically producing sustainable high-quality clothing and reusing what we have. Less is more, better quality and upcycling.

Where can you begin? Thrifting + upcycling! My name is Ellen Walker and I’m an artist from the rural foothills of Northern California. A couple years ago I started upcycling clothing and turning them into pieces of wearable art!

photo of fringe jacket

“Up-cycled faux suede fringe jacket with hand painted floral design. Styled with second-hand Levi’s.”

Each piece I transform starts as a thrifted item with unique character and style. I love going thrifting and finding a beautiful washed denim trucker jacket or a faux leather motorcycle jacket in a gorgeous color. When I get back to my studio each design is sketched out beforehand. Sometimes I opt for a geometric, tribal or southwest pattern. Other times I decide on a floral, botanical, or cacti design.

photo of girl in jacket

“Thrifted faux leather motorcycle jacket with stud detail. Hand painted floral design. Styled with jeans and t-shirt.”

 

photo of denim jacket

“Thrifted denim trucker jacket with hand painted star design.”

I use varying colors of leather and fabric paint for my designs. A tiny paintbrush is my main tool. As I paint, the piece becomes something new and often times I add more or change my design as I work. The goal of my design is to enhance and compliment the piece of clothing I’ve found.

photo of woman in fringe outfit

“Up-cycled faux suede fringe jacket. Hand painted gold floral design. Styled with linen dress.”

photo of artistic denim jacket

“Thrifted cutoff denim jacket with hand painted floral design.”

The goal of my upcycled, hand painted designs is to create a piece of clothing that will have a permanent place in your wardrobe. I want to show others that thrifting and upcycling your clothing is a great option. You can embrace slow fashion AND still have killer style!

photo of woman in artistic jacket and hat

“Thrifted faux leather moto jacket with hand painted floral design. Styled with linen dress and felt hat.”

Photo of artistic blush colored jacket

“Up-cycled faux leather jacket with hand painted gold design. Styled with felt hat.”

ellen walker design

Blog post by Ellen Walker, artist from the rural foothills of Northern California

image ellen walker design logo

Website: www.ellenwalker-design.com

Instagram: @ellen_walker_design

Photo credit for Images 1, 3, 5, 7: Abbi @ DotDash Productions

Photo credit for Images 2, 4, 6, 8: Ellen Walker Designs

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