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The future of upcycling is bright

Sara Johnson | May 22, 2012 | Lifestyle Style & Beauty Story Style City Life Fashion

Sweater sleeves into leg warmers? A sweatshirt into a pillow? You don’t have to tell a kid that upcycling is fun—not to mention increasingly popular (check out 13 local upcycled products and your local upcyclers). Swap-O-Rama-Rama, a group that organizes clothing-swap and DIY pop-ups, hit the Exploratorium’s Open Make: Trash event for children a few weeks back. The star attraction was Caine, the incredibly mediagenic East L.A. nine-year-old whose YouTube video “Caine’s Arcade” has made him and his cardboard fun zone upcycling icons. He was joined by locals like Yes & Yes pinmaker Laura Bruland; together they showed budding artists how cool old stuff can be. Not that these kids needed to be taught. With the help of Exploratorium staffers, they got their hands on some clothing discards and a sea of Singer sewing machines and dreamed up clashing, punk rock–meets–Spice Girls outfits more suitable for a rave than for algebra class. The teenyboppers strutted their pieced-together stuff at the event’s Trashion Show, which also featured members of the San Mateo–based Camp Couture and Sacramento-based designer Miss Velvet Cream. Highlights included neon satin capes and a collection of mock-two-piece dresses created from two actual pieces.

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