UPCYCLED | Christmas Cards

Making cards and little decorations is one of the best ways to get into the Christmas spirit I find, well apart from hitting one of Berlin's many gorgeous Xmas markets... (The vegan market on Sophienstraße, in Mitte is next on my list ;)

To help you get in a festive mood this weekend I've prepared a little upcycling tutorial for Christmas cards using furnishing catalogues. Since I'm totally addicted to modern furniture I always collect a few catalogues throughout the year.  Most of them include beautiful imagery and are way too cool to throw in the recycling.


So skim your paper bin or mag basket and get slicing.  Any close up photographs, or funny slogans that you can somehow add the word Christmas to are suitable.
I've had a little play with some different fonts before I printed my captions on the back side of used printer paper.  For a base you want a nice sturdy plain carton or thin cardboard.  I had a catalogue and a few old calendars with plain white backs and covers which are perfect card backing material!  All that's left then is to stick your cut out captions to your images and finally to your base.

Handmade Christmas cards always add a very personal touch and by upcycling pre-used paper and carton you can experiment with great images by collaging them or working on top of them.  Either way it can be an exciting and new Christmas tradition that will also leave you with a clean green conscience 

UPCYCLED | Wallprints

When it gets to the time of the year that I want to hibernate because of chillier and chillier temperatures outside I start wanting to re-decorate our flat. I absolutely love our flat as it is big and very light even in Winter but big walls can look quite bare & dull even on sunny days.  So to cheer up my surroundings I started by browsing through old favourite fashion mags - always a reliable source of inspiration whatever the reason (and season).

Since I'm a huge fan of slogan prints I was very excited when I came across these i-D magazine pages.  Using a scalpel blade I cut them out very neatly and framed them with re-painted second hand frames.  To give the prints another angle and to emphasise their message you can even back them with monochrome patterns from magazines or gift wrap! It's definitely a cheap and cheerful way to re-fresh your walls - and very satisfying knowing you made it yourself.  I feel very pleased with myself now when I walk around the flat ;)

NEWCOMER | Black Rat

I love watching graduate fashion shows, for one it triggers beautiful nostalgia for an awesome time of my life but also captures the free spirit of generation NOW!  This year's ESMOD's international catwalk was no different. Held in Berlin, it brought together international talent from ESMOD design schools around the world.  

Things got really exciting when Oslo label Black Rat rocked the catwalk sharing its avant garde vision of street style with the crowd.  The collection explored the universe of booming Nordic concept band Deathcrush, ticking all the right boxes on skilled design craft and ethical choice of fabrics.  Designer Siri Sveen Haarland made it her signature to support & promote newcomer musicians from the Norwegian underground - in this case through prominent placement prints on oversized Tees and patched on leggings.  The clever cut & immediate fabric appeal of the closing bomber jacket was a great round up of the apparent: rat is the new black ;)

photography: Posh Photography

BLOUSE | Nostalgia

I sometimes can't help feeling a hint of emotional attachment when I upcycle clothes - especially if they used to belong to a loved one...When my nan passed away last spring I've inherited half her wardrobe.  Since then I've been thinking of ideas to give her clothes a second life and keep her memory close to me.   When I was in desperate need for a blouse in preparation for my latest summer holiday I had an idea:

I chose my nan's soft mint pastel granny top, the kind that come in never-creasing polyester with quite horrid iron-on plastic jewel designs (sorry:).  I picked it because I loved its level of colour for the summer & the fact that it was quite shapeless as I wanted the blouse to be a little oversized/ square around the shoulders.

I planned on taking mostly plain bottoms on my trip so I decided to add a little print interest to the blouse by replacing the centre panel with a gorgeous patterned strip of silk which came from fabric off cuts.  Here's how to:

one mark CF & central panel on front, width to be ca. 10 cm minus 1cm seam allowance either side
two unpick neckline of marked area, cut away central panel along line marked by inside pin
three measure length needed for contrast panel, add hem allowance, pin hem contrast panel
four pin & sew contrast centre panel to body
five close neck line
six shorten sleeves or tuck shoulders if needed


I find it incredibly exciting to discover modern & unconventional clothes that have been produced consciously at the same time.
So naturally I was thrilled when I met with Arvid in his creative concept store HI ON LIFE bucking the fast fashion trend.  Key to Malmö's eco-scene the shop is perched above the crowd of local supermarkets, framing the entrance of alternative mini-mall Mitt Möllan.

Inside I was keen to see the shop's first own line, a joint effort with local fashion designer Olivia Thomasdotter.  With organic mesh crop tops, super-snug ankle pencil skirts & exaggerated coats made from upcycled door matts the exclusive mini- collection explores a modern world for style minded individuals with the courage to create change.

It was fantastic chatting to Arvid whilst trying on the entire shop - personal fav: the stunning oversized, black factory coat made from sustainable cotton.  Together with his partner Malin the duo's aim is to promote the things they love most - mixing fashion, art and style with a sustainable approach.

With a great focus on creativity HI ON LIFE stocks a new generation of eco-conscious labels: playful print designs by A QUESTION OF hang casually next to bright & bold Tees by London's LAZY OAF setting a nice contrast to obsessive minimalist Kiwi brand kowtow.  And as for the lush trainers, they give key to it all. Made in Brazil, from organic fair trade cotton and veggie tanned leather Veja footwear proposes cultural change by employing socially excluded people.
Trust me, when in Malmö you deffo want to step inside this store.


Brush off your worries and dive into a town full of vintage, cool & shiny happy people ;) Maybe this description might fit any place when you're on holiday but after arriving in Malmö I soon realised I've entered eco - lifestyle paradise with an edge.

With the make-over of Västra Hamnen, the western harbour, the city transformed un-used industrial waste land into a place of hedonistic sustainability.  It's like you can live a good life and don't really have to think about it - densely built urban spaces give way to sleek apartment buildings running on 100% local & renewable energy (for example biogas from residents food waste!!) with living green roofs, cool water features / playgrounds & gorgeous seafront views. (✓, ✓, ) Skyline highlite is a full 90 degrees twisting sustainable skyscraper - too bad you can't go inside the turning torso since it's residential.  Life must look amazing from the top.

The over all plan in Malmö is to get people out of their cars with far reaching bike lanes and green public transport (major ).  I couldn't wait to get on my Swedish hipster rental bike to explore the cities recommended hot spots (thanks Olof!) starting with a spree to Malmö Konsthall exploring a brilliant arts installation by Gunilla Klingberg including the use of upcycled truck tyres.
The Konsthall is a unique place with a modern approach to art as part of daily life - its imagination reaches far beyond the curtains of the exhibition space involving the gallery windows and brilliant restaurant space featuring poster artworks and copies of art books to read through whilst enjoying one of the city's best meals.

To top things off Malmö is Sweden's first fairtrade city which means it promotes the issue of ethical consumption.  As a result many shops, supermarkets, restaurants and cafés offer Fairtrade products.  I was fascinated by the concepts of Malmö's casual eateries - all seeming to follow the winning formula of combining delicious & fresh food (did I already mention that 100% of the food purchased in the city of Malmö should be organic by 2020 - yep) with an eclectic mix of vintage & modern interior and always with a incredible tasty vegetarian or vegan option! May I add that the coffee never failed to impress either ;)

Here is a list of the best ones I've tried in favourite order:

Gorgeous little eco - café with a delicious vegan salad bar, cakes & vintage style court yard
Agnesgatan 11,
Mon - Frid 11am - 6pm, Sat/Sun 11 - 5pm

Supercool beer garden with fresh, homemade all day menu, best grilled steaks (according to Mikael ;) and hip & trendy crowd.  It has a very relaxed vibe and is the perfect place to chill on a sunny evening with free live music - 
inside Folkets Park
Mon - Tue 10am - 1am, Wed - Sat 10am - 2am, Sun 10am - 12am

is a bright & cool space with a selection of delicious slow cooked food dishes to choose from, great coffee & superfriendly staff

is the hole-in-the-wall type of place which came recommended by our host and we went back for coffee every day - best brew in Möllan with a small garden & sun chairs across the road. 
Mäster Henriksgatan 6
Mon - Frid 8am - 5pm, Sat/Sun 10am - 4pm

reminded me of an afternoon tea place with gorgeous outdoor seating in the middle of Malmö's castle gardens with home-made sandwiches, cakes and organic ice cream...hmmm
Malmöhusvägen 8
Mon - Sund 11am - 5pm

Most of these popular spots are located in a cool little neighbourhood called Möllan with plenty of conscious fashion spaces & vintage shops.  Here I met with Arvid in his super cool ethical boutique HI ON LIFE - which deserves full attention in a separate blog post to follow...


is one of my summer make up essentials for a 100% fresh look with a sheer & natural finish.  I've been using UNE for a while now and love the light and matt texture of their foundation and eye shadows as well as their aim for organic and natural ingredients.
B02 blusher has been my favourite so far - with its cream-to-powder texture it's easy to apply with your finger and a quick fix if you're just popping out or going to the beach.  The not too pinky, soft rose shade is perfect for my paler skin tone & I use it to apply contour just under my cheekbones, on top of my sunscreen or daily moisturiser.  To round off the look I add a few dashes of Lavera's soft glowing highlighter for bright cheek bones and inside corners of my eyes.

Like with my wardrobe I prefer a limited selection of beauty products that do several jobs in one. Blushers are also a great way to spice up your going out make up.  In combination with a light foundation and a natural lip care / gloss you can add a hint of colour to both lips and cheeks. Done!


Back to basics has always been key at the house of Elsien Gringhuis - the young designer from Arnhem / Holland is known for her simple elegance and blending clean cuts with strong appeal by playing with unusual print techniques, silhouette and fabric interest.

Her new collection for Spring / Summer 2015 influenced by reigning principles of function and form which showcased at GreenShowroom's lush venue Hotel Adlon was no different.  Under the visionary title Elementary Elegance she takes fundamental pattern cutting to another level where garments adapt geometric shapes of circles and squares, erasing side seams on the way. The results are stunning, sculpture-like, coat dresses and angular tops made in fluidly silks with a strong & continuous focus on innovative print.  Long time collaborator and resourceful print designer Aliki van der Kruijs presented her method using ink sourced from printer waste, applying strong detail to sleeve and hem details.

Focusing on the timeless good looks of modern separates which can be layered up suiting changing climate conditions and combined with existing wardrobe pieces, the label clearly distances itself from the antiquated four-seasons-in-fashion model and puts emphasis on aesthetics, quality & practicality rather than trend.  Promoting a transparent production line, minimum waste & the use of organic fibers at the same time, Elsien Gringhuis gives us a strong outlook of hope how fashion can be consumed in future.

photos top & bottom:
photography: Sabrina Bongiovanni,  hair & make up: Charlotte Niketic @ House of Orange,  model: Anastassia @ Paparazzi Model Management,  prints: Aliki van der Kruijs


Isabell de Hillerin has a powerful vision:  to integrate modern silhouettes with values of handcrafted and slow fashion. The idea to look outside perceived limitations and rather concentrate on what she sees as fundamental principles like using handmade textiles by local artisans in Romania and Moldova to add to her gorgeous designs has been her signature since the start of her label back in 2009.

With her new collection Beyond the designer invites you to take some time to reflect on the essential in our fast moving environment and translates her inspiration into a strong & extremely wearable collection for S/S 2015. Sheer layers give way to beautiful clean cut silky tops and dresses in whites, muted greys and powdered neutrals.  Hidden tucks and pleats on below knee length culottes and draped blouses redefine an effortless elegance with an urban twist.  My absolute favourite pieces were the grey cape layered shirt and the white patent brogues - top of my personal wish list!

I'm thrilled to see a great designer whose production line is as transparent as the beautiful layers on the girls she sends out on the catwalk.  But what I love most about this collection is that the garments are investment pieces rather than seasonal fads - Isabell de Hillerin is here to stay!


Newcomer upcyclist Ramona Huppert brought a breeze of fresh air and diversity to the Lavera Showfloor stage with her catwalk presentation last week.  Under the name Urban Mountain Journey the designer explored ways of modern nomads and our emotional attachment to the things we surround ourselves with.  What is home - is it a place or the things we own? I've contemplated this as long as I can remember especially because I get bored in one place very quickly and have a habit of changing post codes almost every couple of years.  

Huppert has come up with a clever solution for everyone who loves taking their personal things with them at all times - even furniture!   With a touch of avant garde her experimental creations serve more than one purpose. The boxy jumper made from an old leather arm chair folds up to be a stool - providing the user with familiar cosiness of home when travelling. The backpack transforms into a messenger bag, saving you having to take to many bags on hols - the fact that it's made from leather left overs is an absolute bonus!  The entire collection is a great example for resourceful choice of material, innovative cut and exceptional design – giving us a vision of a bright future!


A fanatastic example for promoting upcycling on an industrial scale is Estonian designer Reet Aus who showcased the new collection of her label UpMade at the lush Hotel Adlon, venue of GreenShowroom Berlin.

"Our goal," she says, "is to influence consumer awareness and to aim for upcycling to be implemented into a regular production process."  To make this happen the label teamed up with partner Beximco, one of Bangladesh's biggest garment producing factories, using pre-consumer waste as source material for its accessories, gear and apparel. This way it manages to save on average 70% of water and create 88% less CO2 emission for each new garment in this collection. I was totally thrilled by Reet's conscious approach and clever way of combining textile left over with commercial design - the new collection include cut - about blouses and denim dresses, relaxed unisex boyfriend jeans from 100% recycled denim and gorgeous snug pencil skirts. One of my favourite pieces is the white arrow UpShirt featuring some great pattern cutting skills for the arrow centre piece - the only way is up, I reckon!

Photography: @ Reet Aus


It's the time of the year again!! This being my 4th season of Ethical Fashion Show at E-Werk Berlin I was absolutely thrilled to be back - seeing many familiar faces as well as meeting new ones.  First thing though I rushed to see the Safia Minney talk at the venue's spacy control room! After that I just had enough time to browse through the two massive exhibition halls of the fair until the upcycling fashion roadmap guided tour started at UFS.
The two labels that stood out for me this season were Lisa D's eco line and Päälä.  The latter proving to be a great alternative to your ordinary high street brand using only water based inks and 100% sustainable materials like organic cottons & Tencel for their graphic printed Tees & sweaters which were looking amazing and extremely soft. For Summer 2015 Annelot & Harm, the duo behind Päälä, extended their Tshirt-Only collection by introducing a few accessories like beach towels and printed totes.  Just like their Tshirts each product is screen printed by hand in their Amsterdam based studio.
The fab denim shift dresses at Lisa D mark the launch of her eco line for S/S2015 and are upcycled from old jeans and trousers decorated with vintage trims. You can even bring your own worn out pair to the Berlin based studio to give it a new second life!

Päälä is available at Flagshipstore, Oderbergerstrasse, 10435. Berlin from coming February


Safia Minney is an inspiration for anyone who loves clothes but is not prepared to support the fast fashion industry with their hard earned cash for the sake of low quality garments produced in sweat shops and under exhausting working conditions.
Last week the founder & CEO of Fair Trade and award winning fashion label People Tree followed an invitation by Ethical Fashion Week to Berlin's E-Werk. After taking a lift up two floors visitors arrived at the former control room of the venue that looked like one huge dash board with levers and buttons in various shapes & sizes setting the mood for sharing her remarkable story.  We were ready to be switched on to a new chapter in fashion industry.

She told us that when starting her career in advertising she soon realized that her work was to motivate people to buy stuff they really didn't need or want. With a clear understanding of future challenges like constrained resources, climate change, etc and a strong sense for social issues she took matters into her own hands and started her brand People Tree
By employing local farmers & artisans in developing countries the company helps to give back to some of the poorest people in the world whilst at the same time protect the environment by using organic as well as natural materials and craft skills.  
So not only does People Tree invite you to consume fashion consciously it also offers you a great choice to buy gorgeous clothes with a strong high street appeal and a sustainable production line. Double Yay! I'd say  


speckled drapes by INHEELS at UpcyclingFashionStore Berlin

spokes lamp that I so want!
Ethical Fashion Week kicked off with a bang when Upcycling Fashion Store Berlin presented the first ever Upcycling Fashion Roadmap together with visitberlin.de and Heimtextil covering a selection of exclusive Berlin shops, studios & events that offer upcycled products & designs.  For the launch event the store organised a guided tour with the very talented upcycling designer Mariángeles Aguirre showing fashion minded guests a few hi-lites from the map including:

Upcycling Fashion Store 
The cool space at Anklamer Straße in Berlin's up & coming Wedding disctrict is already the second venue since the store first opened its doors only four years ago. Since then their lines and labels have more than doubled and include special treats like From Somewhere & Antiform from the UK as well as the gorgeous draped tops from ecofriendly Tencel or cotton by newcomer Japanese brand INHEELS.
Anklamer Straße 17, 10115. Berlin, 
Mon - Frid 11am - 7pm, Sat 12 - 7pm

El Reinventor
Upcycled furniture at its best - Designer Daniel Carrion Rivas gives old musical instruments, bins and all sorts of other cool junk a second life.  Personal favourite: the spokes lamp, it actually radiates, casting shadows all over the ceiling when you hang it up.
Brunnenstr 26, 10119. Berlin

Bis es mir vom Leibe fällt
is the ideal address for revamping or even rescuing favourite wardrobe pieces. Alternatively you can mix & match any of your preloved clothes and design something completely new with the professional assistance of the superfriendly staff.
Hackeschen Höfe · Hof 4, Rosenthaler Straße 40/41, 10178. Berlin
Mon - Frid 11am - 7pm, Sat 11 - 6pm

Frankenstraße 1, 10781. Berlin
Mon - Frid 10am - 7pm, Sat 11 - 4pm

Water to Wine
The unique Berlin upcycling boutique is located in Berlin - Mitte. Labels include Wilfried PletzingerHá de HaverMargarete HäuslerROHstoffBeliya 
Auguststr. 82, 10117. Berlin
Mon - Frid 11am - 7pm, Sat 12 - 7pm

The creations of design duo Schmidttakahashi are extremely beautiful - their story is equally powerful so I decided to cover it in a seperate post :)
available at OUKAN
Kronenstrasse 71, 10117. Berlin
Mon - Sat 12 - 7pm


Avant Garde has returned to Berlin - well you wouldn't guess by its name that Bikini Berlin is the latest best of the new west.  Apparently the two tiered architecture of the building with a gap in the middle reminded Berliners in the 1950s of the daring new swimwear at the time - the bikini.
I absolutely love the name, the industrial & sleek interior and the concept of combining classy fashion brands of sustainable origin like vegan label UMASAN with pop up store cool.   Most of all I love the new SUPERMARKET Cafe & Shop on the roof top though.  It's deffo my new favourite hang out for Saturday brunches (Sundays they have a limited menu) & weekdays coffee'n'macbook work sessions.  The cool tray tables, ice cream shaded chairs and extremely comfortable cushioned benches overlooking the Berlin Zoo are all available for sale - so you can thoroughly test your new lounge ideas before you commit to anything ;)  The combined shop part resembles an urban art gallery space filled with visually inspiring & carefully picked living accessories as well as fashion.  There are even a few pieces of upcycled furniture like wooden cable spool tables scattered on the outside sun deck next to some wild blow up chesterfield sofas.  Among one of the most stunning pieces is an upcycled vintage street lamp from central Berlin promenade Friedrichstraße - though judging by its price tag its likely to remain in store for a little while longer...

  • BIKINI BERLIN Budapester Str. 38-52, 10787 Berlin, Germany


Friday evening Water To Wine celebrated the opening of their new studio space on Lehrter Strasse 69A with a close up presentation of the upcycling design process from start to glorious finish.  In front of a fascinated crowd host & upcycling designer Sarah Schwesig transformed a preloved men's shirt into gorgeous peg leg trousers with wrap around waistband. However I was even more captivated by a DIY earphone-necklace wrapped around Sarah's neck which she made from reused plastic beads and bright green embroidery yarn - a supercool and very useful accessory.  
Not that she needed it since the event was supported by an intimate acoustic performance from Indie Alternative Rock band The Chapped Lips. Cracking I'd say :))


June calls for some decorating. It might be a bit late for a spring rearrangement but since I have been completely tied up with Fashion Revolution Germany I feel now is a good time to share this little idea with you to freshen up your work or living space :)  I wanted to re-use some gorgeous glass bottles I've been collecting by turning them into flower vases for my front room. Since I can't throw anything away without trying to give it a second life I've decided to keep my birthday flowers from last September.  Dried up I've found them even more beautiful glowing in shades of vintage green & coral oranges. Tucked into a simple shaped clear bottle & against a white/ black backdrop they add a cool botanical touch to any table or sideboard plus I like the idea of not having to water them ;)