A Starting Designer Opens Up About the Responsibility to Be More Sustainable

Text by Karl-Christoph Rebane

Upcycled pants made of curtains.

As a designer, I do feel the pressure to create fashion as sustainable as possible. To upcycle as much as possible. But I also want to focus on not losing the aesthetics, keeping things desirable. I have to admit – I still buy over half of my fabrics from the fabric shops. But I’m always looking into different ways to be greener and leave a smaller footprint.

In my upcoming collection “Am I a joke to you” I use mostly fabrics that I have altered myself. I’m blending together materials that usually end up in the trash, like plastic and confetti. I’m combining them into this hybrid fabric, using a raw cotton base. Not only does it make the fabric water resistant and easier to clean. In addition, you can also create different crazy silhouettes, because it holds its form very well.

Up to this date, when I have created my more easily accessible line of clothes, there have been a few upcycled pieces as well. I created them using different scraps. The struggle usually comes with selling those pieces since they are one-of-a-kind, and the price is higher. As a starting designer, this is a conflicting topic – how to gain the trust of interested customers and how not to give in to the path of “making easy money”.


Karl-Christoph Rebane is an Estonian designer, currently finishing his studies at the Estonian Academy of Arts.

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