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October 23, 2017
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Beatrice Amodeo's Swarovski lamp creation. Source: re-nate.com.

Re-nate, which in Italian means "born again," is an all-female fashion laboratory with an eco-friendly purpose. It aims to help users recycle their old accessories, while also making them aware of the concept of reusing and repurposing. "Many times it happens that we throw away new clothes and accessories [that are] overfilling wardrobes and lofts. The Re-Nate designers team will recover what you no longer use by giving it a new fashionable look," says Pilù Martini, curator of the project, when speaking with The Genteel. Essentially, it is a business that "joins environment protection and creativity" together in order to work "towards a conscious consumption and a garbage reduction."

Keyboard Clutch Bag Re Nate Fashion Lab
The keyboard 'Clutch'. Photograph courtesy of

Mauro Rosatelli and Michela De Nicola. 

The first fashion-lab was launched on 10 November at the MòMò Republic restaurant and wine bar in Rome. Every Sunday thereafter, from 11am to 5pm, people can take their worn out or broken clothing, accessories and homeware to the lab and agree on the amount they want to spend on the product's remaking process. All of the items will be refashioned into new products by the eight enthusiastic and creative women who decided to self-fund the Re-Nate business six months ago.

There are the two founders, Stefania Giacomini and Pilù Martini, who had the initial idea for the project, and six talented professionals who will curate the fashion labs. Each team member has a specific role. There is Ileana Giacintucci, a light designer, who will make chic lamps or candle holders from stones, wooden blocks and sea shells. Ludovica Cirillo, an eco-tech designer who will turn discarded keyboards and electrical wires into handbags or necklaces and rings. Fashion designer Giusy Messina will be using her twenty years' experience embroidering at the Gattinoni fashion house when adorning the tired second-hand clothes with colourful plastic beads.

Meanwhile, Nicole Rossini, an eco-cooker will teach visitors how to prepare tasty dishes using leftover food. Finally, equipped with stencils and sequins, feathers and leather, Beatrice Amodeo, an architect, and Sara Onori, a shoe designer, will give new life to accessories and footwear that could easily have found their way into the rubbish bin.

Beatrice's creations come from objects that we use daily. She previously created a bizarre lamp by assembling a dishwasher filter, an orange squeezer and a strainer together, then decorating it with Swarovski crystals.

The team of fashion and interior designers work upon request, giving the shopper advice on the style and materials that would work best and then choosing the new function the object will have. You could choose something like the 'Clutch', a glamorous plastic handbag adorned with computer keys; or a spherical chandelier that has been created by weaving a bunch of plastic strips together; or there is the possibility of having old coat buttons added to footwear as creative shoe decorations - even a broken wooden chair can become a unique magazine rack. Then, according to the company's processing time, the 're-born' item will be ready for collection at one of the next fashion-lab meetings.

"The choice of materials and fabrics is fundamental[.] The revived items must be trendy and functional at the same time," adds Beatrice Amodeo. Beatrice's creations come from objects that we use daily. She previously created a bizarre lamp by assembling a dishwasher filter, an orange squeezer and a strainer together, then decorating it with Swarovski crystals. She has also been thinking of compiling inner tubes and pieces from bicycles in order to produce original intriguing chandeliers. Beatrice can be inspired by anything, from electric fans to vinyl plastic tubes and printers' paper rolls.

"I leave my inventions to chance. If I see that an object matches well with a specific texture, or it has a fascinating shape, then I begin creating," she explains. This is where the idea for the 'Lady chair' came from. When one of her folding chairs broke, she thought of replacing the seat with a strip of white lace cloth and painting the wood with glitter varnish. The chair, now transformed into an elegant magazine rack, is on display at the fashion-lab.

"We only use recycled scraps. [Yet] whether they are clothes and old buttons or plastic and silicon, the materials [...] must look good and be resistant. [Then] we add decorating techniques to make handcrafted products", explains Sara Onori. The talented designer can rekindle an old pair of raddled grey slippers into new shoes simply by attaching leather scraps or pieces of glass, stencilling or colouring the fabric with acrylic paint. 

Fenice Re Nate Fashion Lab
The "Fenice". Photograph courtesy of

Mauro Rosatelli and Michela De Nicola.

At the Re-Nate fashion lab, Onori will also be presenting her latest experimental creation called 'Fenice' - a shoe decorated with a black detergent bottle. The handle forms the heel of the shoe while black feathers and golden buttons give the item a fanciful touch. So far the shoe is just a fun prototype that will not be sold; its functionality, resistance and the balance on the heels will all still need to be appropriately tested.

It's clear that the all-female Re-Nate project is aimed at an open-minded public with an eye for detail as well as a strong interest in recycled fashion and design. But it is also a real entrepreneurial business that could appeal to fashion institutions and environmental organisations worldwide.

"We will soon hold itinerant fashion labs around Italy, in modern art museums as well as holiday camps in summer. Our challenge is to involve women with different cultures and backgrounds. We're eight [people strong] but we aim at building up a national and international community of eighty, maybe eight hundred or even more than eight thousand female professionals. We believe that the Made in Italy brand, that is so appreciated around the world, is a matter of hands, good taste, fantasy and heart," concludes Martini.

Related: Is Trashion the Future of Fashion?

Related: The EcoChic Design Award: Hong Kong's Move for Sustainable Fashion.

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