The Designer Upcycling Thrifted Denim

Images courtesy of Patrick Salonga

How Patrick Salonga reworked six pairs of denims right into a tasteful basic.

Do you ever take into consideration the previous lives of thrift-store garments? Toronto-based sustainable designer Patrick Salonga does. In truth, he’s barely obsessive about them. “Denim is my favorite materials to work with as a result of it lasts eternally and has so many tales hooked up to it,” he says over a video name. “In my thoughts, I’m like, ‘These denims had been owned by a mother’ or ‘A thug wore this jacket,’ and I like when you’ll be able to tear items aside and mix them.”

Actuality TV is chargeable for sparking Salonga’s upcycling journey. A couple of years after launching his eponymous label in 2014, he discovered himself on the verge of chapter. “My aesthetic on the time was very post-apocalyptic and darkish and I felt nobody right here actually acquired it, so I virtually give up the business,” displays Salonga, who was born within the Philippines. In 2018, in an effort to advertise his model, he made an look on an episode of Canadian style competitors TV present Stitched, the place the contestants had been tasked with making a garment out of outdated clothes. After successful the problem, he thought, “Why am I not doing this at house?”

Images courtesy of Patrick Salonga

Quick-forward to 2022 and the designer has grow to be recognized for upcycling thrifted denim and his East-meets-West aesthetic. “Once you consider denims, you consider the Canadian tuxedo or basic Americana model, so I at all times attempt to put an Japanese twist on them,” he shares. This ethos usually interprets into kimono-inspired jackets, monochromatic color blocking and streetwear silhouettes. “I prefer to say I don’t create something new however slightly one thing that feels acquainted,” he provides. “I consider within the energy of nostalgia.”

Right here, Salonga pulls again the curtain on his course of and the way he reworked six pairs of denims into a stylish tux.

Japanese publicity

upcycled denim
Images courtesy of Patrick Salonga

“The inspiration for this outfit goes again to my East-meets-West ideology. I like the thought of blending a basic tuxedo with Japanese workwear, so I checked out classic Levi’s kinds and my very own closet for reference earlier than sketching the design.”

Sample play

Images courtesy of Patrick Salonga

“Then comes my favorite half, which is sample drafting. Patchwork can get misplaced in translation if it’s not curated, so the total swimsuit consists of 25 to 30 sample items. I additionally wished to verify the jacket and pants look linear and cohesive.”

Breaking free

pieces of thrifted jeans
Images courtesy of Patrick Salonga

“Subsequent, I deconstructed about six pairs of thrifted denims and scraps and selected which denim items would go the place. This step took essentially the most time as a result of I attempted to make sure that not one of the similar colors touched so the blue tones would have a pleasant distinction.”

Regular hand

sewing thrifted jeans
Images courtesy of Patrick Salonga

“I did all of the embroideries by hand whereas I used to be stitching the garment. I used a conventional Japanese approach known as ‘sashiko’ to make the needlework appear to be a fishing internet in honour of Japanese fishermen. It appears to be like fairly easy, however I needed to redo it thrice to get it excellent.”

Oh snap

thrifted denim being upcycled
Images courtesy of Patrick Salonga

“After every part was constructed, I moved on to the ending particulars. I added snaps for performance and to lean into the Western aesthetic of the outfit. I then checked the match of the jacket and pants, and fortunately all of it regarded good


a jean tuxedo made with thrifted denim
Images courtesy of Patrick Salonga

“The ultimate product actually encapsulates the model. I believe it reveals the standard of our work, our East-meets-West mentality and the facility of storytelling in thrifted denim. And because it’s created from denims, it can finally mould to your physique. I’m very pleased with it.”

This text first appeared in FASHION‘s September subject. Discover out extra right here.

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