Project Upcycle 2023, Awarderd 1st Place

Scrap Denim Quilt, 7.26.23

What should we do with all our scraps? I can’t just throw them away. After making this I found a Quilting book from the 70s. It claimed, we no longer NEED quilts, since blankets can be manufactured and we have more advanced heating systems. I could not disagree with this more! We need quilts as much as ever now in 2023, however for different reasons than in the past. We need quilts to keep fabric out of the landfills, to keep us warm, to slow down in an overwhelming technichal time, to express ourselves. Quilts embody warmth and kindness, but also offer a sustainable solution to scraps with unlimited potential outcomes. In a world with excess clothing and textile manufacturing, quilting is a way of healing.

        Refurbirshed Jean Series

What's the most sustainable pair of jeans?
The jeans you already have, or someone else's second hand jeans.

To grow enough cotton for one new pair of jeans, it takes about 1,800 gallons of water. (Frampton, Katie) 1,800 gallons is about 43 full bathtubs (assuming the average tub fits 42 gallons of water). After the cotton is grown, there’s still dyeing, and washing the jeans to add to the water waste.

There's always a rack of jeans at the thrift store, and with the time I’ve spent obsessing over japanese and vintage denim, I can tell a lot of it is great stuff and easily wearable for many years to come. While you may donate your old clothing to charity, the truth is, even then, a whopping 84 percent of our clothing ends up in landfills and incinerators, according to the EPA (Souza, Anna De). To save this great pre-existing product from the trash I bought it and added my two cents of repairs and details.

The problem that these refurbished jeans solve is: WHAT can we do to make what we ALREADY have better and exciting to wear again? These are handpicked vintage jeans that are repaired and redesigned. Thoughtful design inpsired by the history of denim, the nature of the fabric with sustainability in mind. The 5 pocket jean doesn't need elaborate reinventing, it's proven its worth in our society.

This design celebrates the history of this wardrobe staple in a playful imaginative way. During WW2 due to material use constrictions brands weren't allowed to have decorative stitching on their back pockets, which is a key identifier for different denim brands. In response, Levi’s painted their iconic arcuate onto their back pockets to look like stitching. This inspired me to screenprint a detailed stitch for my back pocket, a stitch that would be really challenging to sew. Since the Levi’s factory and archive burnt down in a fire, nobody really knows what the arcuate signified. In my imagination, the arcuate, along with other pocket stitchings often resemble simplified skylines, or hills. So my pocket stitch became just that, two people biking up and down a rounded hill, on a cloudy day with a vast blue sky. The clouds above the hill transform the ever changing indigo blues into the ever changing blue sky. The bikers reminded me of my home town, where bikes own the roads, and also of various traditional jean branding. Jeans were commonly marketed toward cowboys, with graphics of men on horseback. I consider riding bikes a progression from riding horses, although many would say cars replaced horses, the posture and form of a person biking and horseback riding I find to be more congruent.

In a way this project is a collaboration with the previous wearers of these jeans. The fades and marks of wear are each distinctly theirs and to be celebrated and elevated as part of the design. Jeans are one of the few garments that just gets better with age.
All stages along the life jeans go through are worth admiring, the nuances of worn denim hint at stories about the wearer, and a new raw pair poses as a blank canvas. The fabric is always subtly changing, just as the wearer changes.

Denims ability to age makes it a great potentially sustainable garment, if you can convince people to adore their lucky pair throughout all its life. Care for your jeans, repair them, and most importantly wear them! This would take a grand shift in mindset about consumption, and our relationships with our belongings. For this I offer free repairs on all the jeans, for life.

This is a creative way to reintroduce old jeans, while still being jeans. (Seeing a jouch or a jair is amazing but people still want jeans… on their legs.)

Click here to view the series of 9 jeans


Frampton, Katie. “Industrial Water Usage to Produce These Items: The71percent.” The 71 Percent, 30 Nov. 2017,

Souza, Anna De. “This Is What Really Happens to Your Used Clothing Donations.” Reader's Digest, Reader's Digest, 28 Nov. 2022,
  Denim Suit 2022:

This outfit is made entirely from vintage and second hand clothing. The jacket is made out of vintage destroyed Levi’s 501s from the

90s, and vintage dress shirts for the lining. It’s rich with patchwork, reweaving, hand sewn details, repair marks and signs of the previous wearer. I try to celebrate and showcase the beauty that is within the marks of a well worn garment. It’s a playful but precise rearrangement of recognizable Jean elements, (pockets, belt loops, yokes) in order to give the worn out pants a new life.

The jeans explore the history of jeans in its pocket stitching. The back pocket ‘stitching’ features two bikers going up and down a hill. This is partially a nod to the “Two Horse Brand'' as “Two Bike Brand” but more so I see it as a daydream of what various jean pockets stitching might represent. In my head the simple stitched shapes on pockets can easily become a glorious grassy hill. I say ‘stitching’ because it’s a screen print. This references WWII time Levi’s that had painted arcuate stitching due to material rationing. To make the jean a trouser, I converted the front pockets so that the hands enter along the side, and added pleats, mimicking a dress pant.
Boston Fashion Week, Sustainability

View my work in Augmented Reality soon

Essay - In Defense Of Old T-shirts