It’s impossible to have a conversation about fashion at the moment without addressing the 500,000-tonne elephant in the room: textile waste.

Synonymous with warm climate wardrobes, linen has grown to become one of the most popular and versatile fabrications in use locally. For this edition of Showroom-X Learnings, we break down the material and explore some of the biggest advantages and misconceptions surrounding linen. And that figure isn’t just plucked from the imagination – according to research published by McKinsey & Co -

More than 500,000 tonnes of textiles are discarded into Australian landfill annually.

With production still on the rise, there’s never been a more important time to discuss upcycling.

“Upcycling is the practice of creating a useable product from waste or unwanted items or adapting an existing product in some way to add value. The purpose of upcycling is reducing waste and improving the efficiency of resource use."

In the fashion industry, this could mean taking old, worn or stained products and repurposing whole sections of the design into a new, updated piece.

Confused by the difference between recycling and upcycling? Recycling means brands break down the materials of a product in order to construct an entirely new garment. Upcycling retains the form of the original item (it doesn’t break it down into fibres, etc), and works with whole sections of the piece to create something new.

Thankfully, many Australian luxury brands are harnessing the benefits of upcycling in their own collections. ESSE Studios, for example, frequently uses fabrications upcycled from deadstock. The brand’s sleek Column Dress, available at, utilises upcycled material that was originally produced in excess and would have otherwise ended up as waste.

Sustainable-design pioneer, Kit Willow, frequently uses upcycled fabrics in her KITX designs, telling Showroom-X “We are committed to being an example of true style for the modern global era, we simply don't believe in quality fashion that harms our planet and natural eco-systems.” (Read the full feature with Willow here).

Unsure how to identify upcycled pieces? Give product descriptions or clothing tags a thorough read – brands are always keen to identify sustainable and ethical practices, and will highlight the use of upcycled fabrications in an obvious manner.

Showroom-X will always identify and celebrate brands using upcycled fabrications, so if you’re unsure just reach out by email or social media and we’ll help clarify. And if you want to contribute to the upcycling process, there are plenty of places to send back your old pieces, such as Upparrel, which offers a clothing collection service. 

If you ask us, old never looked so good.