Food waste is a huge problem worldwide, with 27 percent of all food produced in the United States being wasted annually (that's one pound of food per American daily).
Making the link of unnecessary waste between the food and fashion industries (do we really need that latest look when we already have more-than-serviceable clothes in our wardrobe?), London-based designer Hoyan Ip creates jewel-like buttons and buckles from discarded food, which she calls "bio-trimmings."
Seen over at Ecouterre, Ip's recycled buttons, buckles and shoulder pads are made out of various kinds of food waste. Even the leftovers from this process are recycled further as decorative accents. She notes that
Trimmings such as buttons, metal buckles and zips are all manufactured industrially where there are concerns on the impact it has on the environment as it consumes a lot of energy and fuel.
It certainly is a clever way to tackle two problems at once; not only is a useful product made from waste, there's also the consumer habit issue of equating shiny new buckles with luxury and brand image, something that Ip attempts to question and possibly subvert and "de-brand" with these lovely buttons made out of wasted food:
By changing the little details on a garment such as a Burberry trench coat with trimmings made of wasted food, how might the standard Burberry devotee react and more interestingly, what will the actual brand think of this? Does adding products made from wasted food de-value the brand or add value to it because of its ethical reasons?
These are pertinent questions, and as people are waking up to the fact of conditioned behaviours and ideas that surround the acquisition and planned obsolescence of "stuff," even little details like recycled buttons may help to redefine what luxury means to us. Does luxury mean having that "perfect," new designer item, or is it being able to choose to intelligently re-use and re-purpose so-called byproducts of the modern, excessive lifestyle? It's something worth asking ourselves the next time we are confronted with a buying impulse.
More over at Hoyan Ip's website.