When referencing recycled couture fashion I find it impossible to ignore the works of Rachel Freire, an inspiring designer infamously famous for her exquisite use of under-appreciated materials. Previously trained in Fine Arts, Freire made the shift to couture fashion after working in the theater industry, discovering she did not want her work to be confined to the bewildering ambiance of the gallery space.

On first glance you noticed the intricate design and superb craftsmanship put into creating each ten petaled rosette, an obvious strenuous and repetitive process in constructing her garments. It is only once you have observed her work for a while, that you begin to question the origin of these materials. What are they made from?

The powder-pink and matte black forms juxtaposed with militaristic dominatrix styled design, contrast the subtly and softness the rosettes should create. Their leathery, almost fleshy appearance suggests something more bizarre and it should with the source material, cow nipples.

With Freire designs referencing the cut-throat industry she works in, the artist aims to produce previously non-existent worlds through her devise, making use of animal by-products from the meat processing industry that would in other circumstances go to waste. The main idea of eco-design is to make use of waste materials, and take special consideration for all environmental impacts associated with the product in obtaining, manufacture, use and disposal after its life cycle. Reducing the world’s ecological footprint, and raising awareness of over industrialization and consumer concerns. Although Freire has coped a black lashing from the ‘fashion’ industry over the controversial use of this materials, the artist has remained committed to producing unique and sustainable couture fashion which makes a political statement about humanity and the harsh reality of the consumer driven world we all live in.

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SS12 Iconoclash Collection


Brown, S 2013, Refashioned: Cutting-edge clothing from up cycled materials, Laurence King Publishing, United Kingdom.

Rachel Freire 2009, viewed 18 August 2014, <http://rachelfreire.com/&gt;.


SS12 Iconoclash Collection, viewed 18 August 2014, <http://rachelfreire.com/clothing/ss12/&gt;.