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April 30, 2020

Upcycling leather, what is it?

As you may have noticed, at Exploruns we use upcycled leather in the manufacture of our protective masks.
But what's wrong with the word "upcycling"? You don't really know what it is? Don't panic, we explain everything in this article!

Upcycling what is it?

"Is upcycling the new buzzword for recycling? »

Upcycling, or "overcycling" in French, is a concept that aims to recover materials or products (fabrics, leather, wood, iron, tires ...) that we no longer use in order to revalorize them into a new product of superior quality.

It is said that we recycle "from above", hence the term Upcycling.

This concept differs from "classic" recycling (sometimes called "downcycling") because we are not only going to recover the product but also give it added value.

In addition, when we recycle a product, we will transform it through chemical processes in order to reuse it.

These processes are totally absent in Upcycling where the product is simply used as is.
So if we refocus on one of our flagship products, namely leather, it's reclaimed leather that is reused!

A bit of history on upcycling.

Although it is a fairly new practice, Upcycling has actually been around for decades!

The term first appeared in 1994 in an interview with Reiner Plitz, a former German mechanical engineer turned interior designer, who regrets that most people throw away or recycle without even knowing whether it is possible to give the product a second life.

In the end, however, we owe this practice only to the developing countries that have been using it since the dawn of time because of the difficulty of access to new materials and products.

Upcycling and the environment

Although at the beginning, in the fashion world, Upcycling had absolutely no ecological but rather political aims, it is a concept that is very ecological.

Indeed, here are the advantages of an upcycled product:

  • We avoid throwing away, thus reducing waste and wastefulness.
  • We avoid production: we reduce the negative impact on the environment linked to the production of raw materials, which is sometimes very important. For example, the textile industry is the second most polluting industry in the world. In order to produce the 80 billion garments per year for the 8 billion people on the planet, it alone produces an average of 1.7 billion tons of CO2! (source)
  • We avoid recycling: recycling is good but upcycling is better! And yes, with Upcycling we get rid of all the processes that are costly in water and/or energy used during recycling.

Examples of upcycling

upcycling examples exploruns
upcycling bench exploruns

Changing mindsets

Nowadays, we have a change in the mentality of the world's population, which is becoming increasingly eco-responsible.

In fact, we are seeing an explosion of the "zero waste" concept these days.
In France, the proportion of French people wishing to turn towards useful and responsible consumption is constantly increasing.

A study carried out in 2016 on the typology of consumers by Greenflex (source) shows that sustainable development is a necessity for 72% of the 4100 individuals questioned.

Today, the ecological aspect of Upcycling is becoming more and more important and is becoming a major asset in its popularity and growth!

At Exploruns we attach great importance to everything that has to do with the environment, which is why the use of upcycled leather has been a matter of course for us.

Upcycling and fashion: is it possible?

When you think of Upcycling you may have in mind an image of a final product that is not necessarily very aesthetic: this is totally wrong!

As mentioned in the first part, with Upcycling, we add value to the product.

This aspect hasn't been overlooked by designers and the concept of Upcycling is nowadays more and more used in the fashion world.
There are countless fashion shows around the world made from upcycling clothing!

Many high-end brands have adopted it, such as the Reformation brand in the United States, but also other more accessible brands such as Asos.

But Upcycling is not only about making clothes: the brand Entre 2 rétros offers bags and luggage made from scraps of textiles from the car industry but also from upcycling leather from French houses!

But it can go even further, as shown by the Trendy Tub brand, which produces its own decoration accessories and furniture from upcycled objects!

Leather used to make Exploruns masks

And at Exploruns, we go one step further and manufacture our protective masks using upcylced leather!

But beware, upcycling is not an easy task!
Indeed, it is necessary to find the right parts for the creation of the desired product and generally work with very little material.
It therefore takes a lot of time and thought to get the desired result, but the result (our face masks) is worth it!

Leather Upcycling and Exploruns

One of the stars of Exploruns, our Leon mask is made from 100% upcycled leather.

Each piece of upcycled leather used to make this mask is meticulously chosen by us.
This choice is very important for us in order to guarantee the aesthetic aspect of our masks but also - and this is the most important - to be able to guarantee an effective protection of the masks.

The leathers recovered come from the leathers of leading leather goods manufacturers.

We are very proud today to be able to give them a second life and to make them play a role in this health crisis that has been affecting us since the beginning of the year.

The upcycled leather allows us to make Leon an ecological, design, protective and unique mask!

Upcycling leather now has no more secrets for you and you are conquered?
So what are you waiting for? Don't waste any more time to acquire your 100% upcycled leather Leon mask!

Let's summarize upcycling in 3 questions

🤔 Upcycling is what?

Upcycling, or "overcycling" in French, is a concept that aims to recover materials or products (fabrics, leather, wood, iron, tires ...) that we no longer use in order to revalorize them into a new product of superior quality.

🌿 What is the impact of upcycling on the environment?

Upcycling avoids throwing away and therefore the production of waste and wastage. It avoids producing raw materials that pollute. Upcycling avoids recycling (a process that is costly in water and energy).

💁🏼 Fashion and upcycling, a possibility?

The concept of Upcycling is to add value to the product. The fashion industry is becoming more and more aware of this and many brands are offering products made from upcycling textiles, objects or leather!