Upcycling is the new black

The pop tabs on soft drink cans aren’t normally considered a clothing accessory, but one Year 12 Fabric Technology student is innovatively turning fizz into fashion.

Georgia Heron came up with the idea of using pop tabs on an upcycled denim jacket she is creating as part of a sustainability project for class (pictured right).

“I love the look of a long denim jacket and always have wanted one for myself,” says Georgia. “My mum was having a huge clean out in her wardrobe and had a lot of denim, so I decided to upcycle it and turn it into a new garment. The most exciting thing is how unique and different this jacket will be.

“I came up with the idea of using pop tabs as I was researching unusual waste products and I came across a company called BOTTLETOP which creates handbags made from pop tabs. I thought it would be an amazing idea to turn it into a fashionable garment.” Georgia has family, friends, local restaurants and bars collecting pop tabs for her – the aim being to encourage as many people as possible to think sustainably.

“This design is very important to me as I love being sustainable and doing little things to make a big difference in our community and environment,” she says. “Making this garment will raise awareness of upcycling and sustainability to those around me which is an amazing way to get others involved.” Around 300 million cans go to waste each year, so to help out by reducing the aluminium is a very exciting way to make a difference,” she says.

With research, trailing, testing and manufacturing, it will take Georgia about a month to complete the garment. “For my sample, it took me an hour to crochet the pop tabs together making a pocket – which gives me a clear idea of how long the jacket should take.  My work book and design is due 4 September which is a little while away.”

Georgia says one of trickiest parts of the design is knowing exactly how much denim, and how pop tabs, she’ll need.  “Another obstacle is knowing how to attach the pop tab pockets and cuffs to the denim jacket. After testing and trialling I will know what will be the most efficient and have the best quality.”

Sixteen-year-old Georgia began sewing at intermediate in Year 7 – and instantly loved it. In her wardrobe are jumpers, bags, dresses and a long jumpsuit she made herself – including the dress she’s wearing in the photos. In the future Georgia hopes to turn her passion into a living. I’m most inspired and creative when I’m designing something that has a purpose,” she says. “To have a career that helped to make our world more sustainable would be amazing.”

If you’d like to collect pop tabs for Georgia, email her on 17151@my.westlakegirls.school.nz

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