28 July 2022

From repurposed sex toys to living, breathing clothes: The strangest upcycled fashion pieces ever made

Whether you’re looking to create your own upcycled fashion Frankenstein or looking for something out of the ordinary, here's some inspo.

Rose In Gold Faith recently revealed a sleek, easy-on-the-eye sneaker in the vein of the Yeezy Foam Runner. There’s just one catch, it’s made out of rubber repurposed from (hopefully unused) dildos. No, you didn’t read that wrong, the brand’s first-ever footwear silhouette is put together entirely of discarded sex toys.

As sustainable fashion grows ever more popular, HUNGER takes a look into the weird and wonderful world of upcycling, compiling the most outrageous, inventive and downright bizarre repurposed pieces we’ve come across.

The Mushroom Bag

Popularised by world-renowned mycologist Paul Staments, the mushroom bag worked its way into high fashion in 2021 when MycoWorks partnered up with Hermès to create this wacky eco-friendly piece. Derived from mycelium – the root structure of a mushroom – this essentially infinite renewable source provides a conscious alternative to leather hide, without sacrificing the leather look and feel that has been such a staple in fashion over the years.

Dove Wipe Slides

Nicole McLaughlin is known in the sustainability world as one of the most forward-thinking, creative designers about. Seriously, who would ever turn wipes into a pair of slides? Despite being somewhat of a novelty piece there’s no denying the ingenuity and uniqueness of McLaughlin’s concoction. No longer will you have to worry about staining your brand new outfit on a night out, just simply reach down and pull out a wipe from your, erm, well, feet.

Sneaker Heels

Classy or casual? If that’s a question you struggle answering just before a night out then let us point you in the direction of Ancuta Sarka’s heels derived from upcycled Nike trainers. Putting a comfortable spin on the stiletto heel, Sarka’s collection of sneaker heels are aptly named after luxury sports car manufacturers Bugatti, Ferrari and Mustang with each pair taking inspiration from the aerodynamic design of the supercars. 

Puma Sneaker Bag

Another upcycling mastermind, All Amin, takes the iconic Puma basketball sneaker, The Slipstream, and flips it on its head to create a surprisingly impressive accessory. Expertly crafted and sure to turn heads, the handbag is surprisingly roomy and will ensure you stand out from the crowd. So, before you splash out on that Jacquemus handbag, why not go for something a little more drastic?

Cactus Plant Flea Market dipped their toe into the upcycling world with their outlandish bags made entirely from repurposed underwear and socks. Firstly, the underwear bag is made out of a pair of dark green CPM boxer briefs with a rainbow-coloured strap, although not the most aesthetically pleasing piece on this list it scores top marks for its distinctive design. The next is a little more subtle, although just as strange. It’s quite literally a sock attached to a chain. So, if for whatever reason you’ve ever looked at your socks and thought “that would make a pretty cool bag,” then look no further.

Wearable Plants

Let us introduce you to biocouture, coined in 2012 by designer Suzanne Lee, It covers the concept of designing garments and products using living microorganisms such as bacteria. Not to be confused with plant-based materials like the aforementioned Mycelium, these microorganisms live or hibernate in garments. Taking this concept to the next level is Olivia Rubens who recently released a collection of clothing that lives and breathes like plants. Her collection is covered in a photosynthesis coating meaning you will actually have to give your pieces sunlight and oxygen for them to remain, I suppose, alive.


  • Writer Chris Saunders
  • Banner Image Credit Instagram / Olivia Rubens

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