Upcycling: the latest ephemeral trend or a way of life? I think it could just be the latter. With more and more of us beginning to care about the mark we leave on this planet, upcycling is a perfect place to start.
In the modern world our material consumption is constantly on the increase, with man's desire for commodities of all shapes and sizes seemingly an insatiable one.
Meanwhile the resources feeding this need are diminishing before our eyes, since the demand for the materials and energy that go into making a product typically outweigh any attempts at conservation or careful, environmental management.
It follows, then, that those concerned by this issue are starting to search for new ways to support sustainable lifestyles, foregoing the long, utilitarian aisles of Ikea in favour of reusing furniture and fittings with a soul.
Upcycling is just one increasingly popular way in which we can reuse, reduce and recycle.
I recently came across a fresh new face on this scene, a start up that has this exact concept as a central motif to their business model. &hobbs Vintage Furniture and Artwork holds the true value of a piece's history and biography at their heart. Set up by stylist and display artist Libby Hobbs, who has a background in textile design along with years creating the dazzling displays of Anthropologie, this home wares company focuses on bringing beautiful, bespoke pieces of furniture into the homes of their clients.
Humble enough to know when a vintage school chair or gentlemen's trouser press speaks for itself, &hobbs provide only gentle care to restore it to its former beauty. Equally though, they aren't afraid to add their creative flair to renovate a well-used piece, and believe that creativity does not depend on a blank, MDF canvas. Instead, they work with a piece's heritage in order to make something new and exceptional. Waste is not something on their agenda.
&hobbs vision is clear and progressive; we cannot sustainably keep creating the new unless we learn to incorporate the old. &hobbs believe that the most unlikely fit can be made between vintage piece and home, and that they add some real character and charm. Ultimately, we should not be afraid of introducing pre-owned pieces into our modern homes.
Spending any days they can at fairs, festivals and sales, selling their items and winning the public over to a more vintage lifestyle, &hobbs are the epitome of a British start up worthy of some serious attention. They source all materials they can from within the UK, or occasionally from France and Belgium, to reduce their carbon footprint, and any outsourcing comes from local honest traders and artisans. Collectively, these self-starters feed their success back into, and help to uphold, the crucial underbelly of our economy.
Hopefully their vision can be spread so that we can all makes steps to depart from the current global practice: consume, consume, consume.
Photos by Cedar Film Co