Written by Jess Miller
Fashion has become a tug of war, a forwards and backwards between new and old. Where buying vintage, shopping secondhand and upcycling are slowly pulling fast fashion over the line to victory – these are all fundamental ways of keeping fashion sustainable. However not everyone is a believer and fast fashion or first hand fashion is still over-powering in the industry. That is until now. Sustainable clothing has never looked so tempting with the upcoming launch of Atelier Jolie. Whether you were team Jen or team Angie otherwise, everyone should be Team Angelina when it comes to Atelier Jolie vs the fashion industry.
Always one to showcase her love of vintage, Angelina Jolie has taken her appreciation and enthusiasm to the next level. Launching in Fall 2023, Atelier Jolie is a collaboration between a community of people with positions for tailors, fabric cutters, designers and more based on skill. All are welcome and everyone is encouraged. With plans to democratize the fashion industry, Angelina has stated that there will be apprenticeships for refugees in her new venture, an incredible opportunity which is rare in the industry. The premise of Atelier Jolie is simple, nothing is old but nothing is new. Something also fantastically personal is that designers are matched with clients so that their garment is dreamt into reality in the most special way. Clients are able to bring in old garments which perhaps need a bit of a revamp and then co-create with the Atelier Jolie community using deadstock material or quality vintage fabrics. Whether it is sprucing up or reinvention the results are the same, a zero waste garment which has been saved from growing landfills around the world.
Although Atelier Jolie may win the prize for the most glamorous upcycling label, circular fashion is not exactly new to the sustainable fashion world. Cue the “wizard of denim”, aptly named for his extraordinary skill of reinventing existing garments, particularly jeans, into something entirely new. Nigel Xavier deservedly won Season 2 of Next in Fashion, and since then his patchwork designs have been worn by some pretty exciting A listers, including the rapper 2 Chains. Fashion is the highest form of self expression and Nigel Xavier does not shy away from this concept. With a very particular vision of his wardrobe, unfortunately but unsurprisingly, Nigel could not find anything in shops which he could see himself wearing. Sadly, everywhere was lacking the jigsaw puzzle aesthetic he has now claimed as his own statement design. Arguably, Nigel had already perfected patchwork after years of sifting through thrift stores to find multiple pairs of jeans which would soon be dismantled and put back together to create a completely new outfit. However, he decided to turn down an American Football Scholarship to go to fashion school, where he began to learn the craft of textile manipulation from the professionals. Although one dream was swapped for another, the young designer is still inspired by his love of American Football, Nigel would collect Football jerseys carefully cutting them up and stitching them back together creating a collage effect. This patchwork design is not limited to trousers and tops alone, with trainers, hats, bags, pillows, umbrellas and even a sofa to add to Nigel’s patchwork collection all with zero waste.
Recently the fashion industry has proven that almost anything can be transformed into a garment. Atelier Jolie may be limited to reworking garments however, just like Nigel Xavier English designer Adam Jones has been creating garments from mundane items such as scarves, beer and teetowels. With the same zero waste mentality and a want to breathe new life into objects destined for the landfill, Adam Jones has merged his appreciation for niche British culture with appreciation for binable items it seems. This unlikely marriage defies the stigma of items which appear to have an expiry date as undesirable. While items might seem like there are a limited number of years, with circular fashion the magic is in the regeneration and elevation of every garment once their lifespan is over. With this attitude, we may never need to buy new clothes, everything can be exchanged in and revamped and with a bibbidi bobbidi boo, cinderella can go to the ball year after year in an entirely new dress too!