Recalling Korea Upcycling Project : 10 years since it was abandoned, stacked and re-loved

Today, we're going back in 2013.

It is time to reintroduce the 'Upcycling' project.

It is one of the projects I have been preparing for quite for time,

Now I am contouring a little bit, :)

How much do you know about upcycling, up-cy-cling? First, I will explain the concept of what upcycling is.


What is upcycling? Up-cycling

Upcycling, also known as creative reuse, is the process of transforming by-products, waste materials, useless, or unwanted products into new materials or products perceived to be of greater quality, such as artistic value or environmental value.

Freitag is the best representative of an upcycling brand at the moment.

The Italian brand Riva 1920 RIVA 1920, into new value.

Industries that have been down for centuries, leather

If you are new to fashion design, you will be the first to open the front page of fashion history book, as we know, fashion was a very different form in prehistoric times. In modern era, animal skins that were worn as body protection became "clothing" "accessories" and "shoes". We hunted one animal for mean and use its skin to make trinkets/ornaments as well as hunting weapons, such as teeth, bones, ivory, horn, etc. Leather industry is one of the oldest first human-initiated businesses. However, in recent years, as the voice of animal rights has increases and the interest on environmental protection also increases, there has been a growing call for alternatives to animal skins.

Here, Biercole we had one question.

Why did human's first industry, the leather industry, that occurred naturally in this world became a voice of criticism in modern society? What are the negative impacts behind the leather industry in terms of protecting the global environment?

The first thing if life : wood-made tools, earth-made products, bringing a modern sense to a long-lasting design, classically loved - using natural materials - to create things. So 'leather'

So why is the leather industry criticized despite its old history? According to the principle of capitalism, the reason is mass production.

Real leather that we know is not leather.

Huge labor, water and time required

An animal lives and lives.

Remove the leather of the lifeless goat and set aside the meat and intestines separately. The leather on the one-on-one is well-groomed and then dried several times in the sun. Once the dried leather has been rinsed again and dried several times making sure the cell on the inside and outside is firm, it is only then that the leather begins preparing to be made into a 'product'. One of the challenges of the leather industry starts here. Chemicals that are inevitable to use, huge amount of water and low-wage explorative labor. So, who produces leather?

According to Vizweb's research the first place is China, the second is Brazil, third-place Russia, fourth-place India, fifth-place Italy and South Korea. South Korea is ranked sixth placed in the leather production country.

China's annual production is 5.76 billion square meters. It accounts for 25% of the world's production. China's annual leather production is as much as the area of Brunei, and China's 100-year production is the area of Thailand. Brazil, the second largest producer after China, is only 9.5 percent of the global production. So which country export the most leather to other countries?

Italy is the first place, the Unites States in second place and China in third place. Ironically fourth place is South Korea and fifth place is Great Britain. Isn't it strange that exporter and producers don't share equal rankings? From this data, China exporting rank the third place while it is the number one producer, which this fits the theory that most leather produced in China is consumer in China. On the contrary, Italy ranks fifth among leather producers but ranks first as an leather exporting country.

It is hard for us to get a close look onto how the leather is made and consume in China, but here is a good example of how animal skins turn into the leather we know :)

Please follow this link for a wonderful demonstration video


It is a lot of process before animal skin become the actual available leather. That is why leather is a material that you have to pay for. In addition, the leather that become the product once its made it become extremely durable, enough to be use over generations. New products ae not needed monthly and yearly. That is why leather is a material that should be eased out of the material choice that follows 'trends'. In order to produce a large amount of leather, a much larger population must be slaughtered, and the unethical acts that result from the process are frown upon. Leather production is decreasing since the 90s, however the products made from synthetic leather are starting to pour into the market to fill in the shortfall.

Leather made of plastic

Carbon dioxide, environmental pollution issues

Many NGOs have been campaigning against fur use and leather good for some times not, to protect animal rights and warn about the unethical activities inside the leather industry. In fashion industry, we started to develop material to replace leather. The most widely used material is the synthetic leather. It is a substitute leather made from plastic. Recently, we have been developing and researching leather alternative materials using material that are not for the environment (*leather using dietary fiber such as cactus, mushrooms, coconut, etc.) Despite all this effort, the reason I still don't support the alternative leathers are because it needs a lot of natural resources to produce these leather substitutes. In the end, the inevitable environmental pollution that emerges to replace natural material can again cause pollution, resulting a vicious cycle.

The conclusion has been reached through research in 2015, is why we need to create new raw material in the 21st century when everything is already overflowing. The direction of recycling resources that have already been created can significantly reduce environmental pollution. In addition, while researching the working condition of the leather factory, we discover a huge amount of "zaturiga bamboo" that occurs while making the product, and we have discover that many leather factories continue the stack up without properly solving the problem. I cannot express enough how much garbage the fast fashion and luxury industry left behind. Fortunately, the raw materials that are garbage can be redesign to a practical small pieces.

I decided to take on a upcycling project in 2015, the first project is to make a cotton poach made from left over fabric that cannot we use to make into garments. I decided to use this upcycled piece to package our product instead on 'polybags' when delivery to our customers. It is interesting because the design, size, and texture of the fabric changes from time to time. We aim to produce zero plastic waste and make use of unwanted things we find instead.

Last year in 2020, my latest upcycling project is leather. I found a unwanted leather pieces and I redesign it into these small poaches. I got this idea from a vintage :)

Good commodities that no longer emit carbon dioxide through resource recycling, and also save the waste from pollution the planet. We hope we can inspire many creators about this upcycling idea.

WEARLESSWEAR's upcycling project


You can find this item on our site or DM our Instagram for more information

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