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You see an obsolete camera, I see a nightlight: Meet your San Francisco upcyclers

Sara Johnson | May 15, 2012 | Lifestyle Style & Beauty Story Style Fashion Shopping

We’re not sure exactly when the earnest, slightly scolding concept known as recycling morphed into the lighthearted, aesthetically exciting movement called upcycling. What we do know is that transforming the worn-out, the broken-down, the utterly useless into stuff that’s high style and cool beyond the usual do-gooder/ DIYer demographic feels absolutely of the moment. It’s fun, of course, testing the ingenuity and creative dexterity of established craftspeople and novices alike; even local fashion favorites like Martha Davis and Melissa Joy Manning are finding inspiration in the trash. Profitable, too: Thanks to places like Etsy, Kickstarter, and SoMa’s TechShop San Francisco work space, it’s never been easier to play around and earn some money besides. But the real appeal is socio-psychological. The making-do-with- what-we-have mindset that was so appropriate for the recession feels even more fitting now that significant swaths of the Bay Area are starting to boom again. Maybe that’s because upcycling, in its small way, is a reaction against the soul-destroying decadence of recent periods. It’s a reminder that things don’t have to be the same again if we don’t want them to be. They can get better.

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