When partners Bunny Yan and Nicolas Bouthors were scoping out Shanghai factories for Bunny’s latest fashion collection, they came upon stacks and stacks of boxes filled with doctor’s uniforms in one of the textile factories’ warehouses. When they asked whether all this material would be shipped out, the answer surprised them. “No,” a supervisor told them. “These are all defective and will be destroyed.”
What made them defective? They had been misdyed, resulting in a batch of hundreds of hospital scrubs being slightly off-color. Too off-color for the factory’s client, who rejected the entire batch. At this point, a factory will try to cut their losses by selling the material as stuffers or simply have it destroyed. Bunny and Nicolas had other plans, however, and asked to take some of the material home with them. And with that, the Wasavy Scrubagwas born.
While that entire batch of materials was brand new, United States standard and of high-quality, they would have gone to waste. Designers Bunny and Nicolas took them home and repurposed them, saving hundreds of doctor’s scrubs from becoming preventable waste on a landfill. Instead, these shirts were transformed into colorful hand and shoulder bags. But what makes them so special? Why is it important that they were created with materials that would have gone to waste, and why is using an unusual material for the creation of bags beneficial? Every single day, tons of materials go to waste. Anything, from fabrics to metals, is squandered. But these materials are full of potential. It just needs a designer’s eye.
There’s a certain playfulness that comes with upcycling. You let your creativity run rampant, but the design process is completely different from regular design. Instead of designing something and acquiring the materials later, upcycling gives you the materials and asks you to design around them.
That’s exactly what Bunny and Nicolas did to create their upcycled handbags, shoulder bags, and XL shoulder bags. These ‘Scrubags’ take on all the characteristics of the doctor’s scrub material they saved from the factory’s warehouse: the Wasavy Scrubags are adorably colorful, their material is industry-level sturdy and they’re one of few bags that are actually machine-washable!
There’s not a single bag out there like it, and that’s part of the appeal: creating sustainable and unique products from unusual materials.
This is why we are launching theSquirrelz.com Supplies, to make creating and designing a whole lot easier and cheaper for everyone. At the Squirrelz you can get high-quality factory overstock for extremely low prices.
Everything you create will have a positive impact on the world as, without you, they would have all been discarded, burned and dumped in a landfill. Getting started with upcycling isn’t complicated, but it helps to keep your initial designs simple. That’s why our first Supplies products are overstock t-shirts from a printing business. T-shirts are an ideal material for your first foray into upcycling!
What can you do with t-shirts? Well, as it turns out, a lot! All it takes is creativity and a bit of DIY prowess. T-shirts can be a lot more versatile than you might think. Blank t-shirts can be adorned with any number of designs by watermark dying or even just the addition of new layers and paint (which is what we did for our the Squirrelz x New Balance collaboration).
Updating blank shirts with your own fresh designs is merely scratching the surface of what you can do. You can repurpose the shirt fabric to create adorably soft upcycled toys for kids, create upcycled pillow covers with your own design and even craft washable DIY grocery bags! Anyone wanting to try their hands at upcycling without breaking the bank by buying antiques and upcycling furnitureshould head over to the Squirrelz Supplies; you’ll be crafting in no time!