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Vintage afterlife

By Gan Tian | China Daily | Updated: 2013-03-25 10:15

Vintage afterlife

Above: Designer Zhang Na's Reclothing Bank label features garments made from second-hand clothes, while H&M's Conscious series (top left and right) are made from recycled clothing. Photos Provided to China Daily

Making an old dress new again has become an art for independent designers, but the trend doesn't stop at the small shops, as Gan Tian finds out.

Old is in, new is out.

Fashionistas are always seeking the "new" garment, accessories of "this season", or "the latest collection" from the designers. However, style-conscious shoppers have recently been embracing fashion that has been recreated from discarded clothes.

Take Xie Tianchi, for example, the 31-year-old Beijing office worker who has just spent 3,000 yuan ($482) on an old A-line dress.

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The dress is a patchwork: Its front is blue-striped, and the back is a whole piece of red silk. Obviously made from two kinds of materials, the dress achieves a futuristic touch with the sharp contrast of front and back.

"I simply think it is a great design. It has a cool mix-and-match style," Xie says.

The dress's creator is Shanghai-based independent designer Zhang Na. She has her own line, Fake Natoo, but she is also creating another series, Reclothing Bank, that reflects her fancy for old clothes.

As its name suggests, the Reclothing Bank label features garments made from second-hand clothes. Zhang and three other designers from her team, re-crafted these clothes, and put them in a friend's collective store. They sold surprisingly well.

The idea clicked with Zhang in 2011.

"Unlike new clothes and accessories, used items have stories. They have people's feelings," she says. When she went to a charity office in Shanghai in 2011, Zhang found many old clothes that had been donated for needy people.

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