Imagine that you find a girl wearing modified Chanel heels under the thrifty flip-flop brand Swallow carrying a bag made of used chip packaging. If this has ever happened to you, chances are that you met Putri Samboda. Through his unique sense of style, this Indonesian internet personality seeks to redefine trash and fashion.
While the act of turning discarded materials such as unused clothes into wearable clothes may not be new, Putri’s daily use of waste such as instant noodle packaging and burger wrapping paper is quite new.
Upcycled fashion, as it is called in the fashion world, is a growing movement that is proven to be more than just a passing trend. This is partly an attempt to reduce the negative impact industry has on the planet. After all, fashion is one of the most resource-consuming industries in the world. This problem encourages Putri to start rearranging trash.
“Come to think of it, it’s really crazy how I used to throw away clothes because there were small stains or small holes. Now I think [upcycling] as a fun challenge to give my clothes a second life, “said Putri.
Putri uses instant noodle packaging to make shorts. (JP / Courtesy of Putri Samboda)
The Princess started recycling unused items into eccentric ready-to-wear clothes in the early days of the pandemic, when she was literally staying at home. At first, boredom was her muse, but now Putri’s creative tendency towards unique items has become her main inspiration.
“I am now upcycling to channel my creativity and also minimize my fashion waste. I also like wearing unique fashion items, so by designing my own clothes and accessories I can achieve that, ”he said.
Unique collection, unique hobby
Putri, who lives mostly in Washington, DC but currently lives at her parents’ house in Yogyakarta, traveled a lot – at least before the pandemic. On his travels, he collects snacks and food packaging exclusive to the countries he visits. He then thought about a new form of clothing that each pack could be transformed into.
Putri sees the creative process as a scavenger hunt – literally. “I started by looking for unused items around the house. Now that I am at my parents’ house, it is much easier to do it because my family has many things that I can use, ”said Putri.
It takes Putri between two days to a week to turn trash into a fully functional fashion item. According to the self-taught designer, the hardest part he’s made so far is the bucket hat made of used burger paper bags and some packaged instant noodles. She spent weeks sewing until she was satisfied with the shape.
Bubble wrap bag and card holder. (JP / Courtesy of Putri Samboda)
With only basic tools, Putri relies a lot on improvisation.
Inspired by his penchant for British children’s television series Assault ArtPutri is accustomed to using discarded used items to make her work. He’s been doing this since his youth. In fourth grade, she recycled old magazines into usable benches and made paper from recycled newspapers. These are the earliest memories of upcycling.
People may be reluctant to wear recycled items in public because of the stunning designs, but Putri wears her own creations when she travels. “Back in 2018, I wore my Khong Guan [biscuit] tin bags are almost everywhere. I know for sure people stare and quietly take photos, but I don’t really care because I love wearing them. “
“I don’t go out very often now because of the pandemic, but when I do, I always try to put my upcycled clothes into my wardrobe. I was in Sumba a few months ago, and I specially made some clothes to make into my wardrobe. clothes. brought with me during the trip. That’s how nice I am to wear them. “
Cynicism and cynicism are to be expected, but they can still hurt. Online messages that Putri received through her social media accounts varied, but the most negative messages were attached to her.
Bucket caps are made from scrap paper bags from fast food chains. (JP / Courtesy of Putri Samboda)
“I can say that creativity is not highly valued here in Indonesia, and the term upcycling is still very fresh in some parts of society. It can often be discouraging when you go to great lengths for your work but end up being called stupid.”
Despite the negative comments, Putri hopes that posting her upcycled clothes online can encourage others to follow her. “I think the reason why the industry is still having trouble considering a sustainable option is because demand is still high, so supply follows suit. If more people choose the slow mode over the fast mode, we can slowly move towards the industry.”
While encouraging her viewers to be more careful about their fashion decisions one by one, Putri has become a living example of her values.
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