Fashion’s new generation puts upcycled and digital clothes on the catwalk


London fashion week reveals new look for post-Covid world as industry embraces the metaverse

Fashion week is emerging from the Covid pandemic with a new look as a generation for whom upcycling is the new normal have graduated to centre stage: dressing up is back after two years of fashion tumbleweed, but the rules have changed.

For 25-year-old fashion designer Conner Ives, ideas that spark his vintage-meets-streetwear cocktail dresses begin not in a sketchbook but in the Sheffield warehouse where he combs through old T-shirts looking for gems he can cut up and splice together into party looks.

“We spend hours picking through piles of T-shirts, and what we make depends on what we find that day.” On other days, Ives wakes up to 50 photos of vintage piano shawls, sent via WhatsApp messages from a dealer in Pakistan, from which he chooses the most interesting pieces to rework.

“I want to deconstruct the idea that secondhand is somehow secondbest,” said Ives during a preview in his studio. “Personally, I always prefer a vintage T-shirt to a new one – it’s so much more romantic.” Secondhand clothes make up 75% of his raw materials, and the brand’s swing tags bear the motto “Things of Quality Have No Fear of Time”.