New upcycle fashion marketplace, Alterist, are here. And they’re ready to disrupt the fashion industry. 

Who are Alterist Marketplace?

Alterist Marketplace is a community of 80 designers aiming to change the fashion industry and reduce textile waste. More than just an upcycled fashion marketplace, it is a community of brands, independent designers, artists and creatives who are revolutionalising fashion culture to create a better future.

The sustainable fashion market was valued at over $6.35 billion in 2019. However, the majority of the market is still focused on the creation of new products. Despite the significant increase in awareness, knowledge and technologies within the fashion industry surrounding sustainability, levels of environmental impact have also shown no net reduction. Two female co-founders, Hannah Standen and Martina Sorghi, witnessed firsthand the amount of clothing produced within the industry, with a huge amount being completely unused. Whilst campaigning for change within the fashion industry, they were inspired to provide an alternative solution, leading to the creation of Alterist. 

 @upcycled.horovitz, Photo: Joanna Baumgartner

Alterist is a marketplace that unites a community of upcycle designers who are using creativity to drive change, transform fashion culture and make a positive impact on our planet. Curating a mix of high-quality upcycled fashion garments and accessories, each item on Alterist is one of a kind. Made from reimagined materials, each designer has a unique approach to upcycling, creating iconic pieces that you cannot find anywhere else.

Sorghi explains

We see upcycling as a way to create one of a kind, iconic pieces while also keeping these materials out of landfill.

Alterist is about changing the global perception of both fashion and what is considered waste. It challenges social norms, is experimental with style, and provides recovered materials with new homes to be worn again and again.

Showcasing over 700 limited edition upcycled garments, Alterist’s goal is to demonstrate the beauty and creativity that can come from upcycled materials. 

The importance of circularity

With an estimated 100 billion pieces of clothing produced each year, less than 1% are currently recycled into new clothing. It is clear that the current linear structure of the fashion industry cannot continue.

Taking this a step further, garment recycling relies on the use of chemicals or mechanical procedures to break down fibres to be made into new fabrics. Upcycling, on the other hand, utilises discarded clothing, objects or materials in their current form, creating new and unique items. Upcycling can double the life expectancy of a garment while avoiding further engineering processes or chemical or energy use, reducing further environmental impact and therefore, making upcycling one of the most sustainable things you can do within the fashion industry today. 

We believe in the value of existing materials already in circulation; it just takes a little creativity to see it. We always strive to work towards the long-term goals rather than the short term, quick fixes.

Considering the majority of greenhouse gas emissions from the fashion industry come from the production of textiles, it’s crucial that reusing materials that already exist becomes common practice within the fashion industry. With Vogue calling upcycling “the biggest trend of SS21”, upcycling is the future of fashion, with Alterist set to be the industry leader. 


One of the most fun advantages of upcycled fashion is its ability to offer one-of-a-kind pieces celebrating individuality and uniqueness. Designers are able to push their vision and creativity, using imagination and resourcefulness as well as collaboration and conversation. Upcycled fashion encourages experimentation, with creations redefining the possibilities of fashion and wearers able to express their personal style while supporting sustainable practices.

How upcycling works

The upcycling process begins with sourcing raw materials, usually from surplus stock, second-hand shops, or donations. Each piece is then carefully sorted, cleaned, and prepared for transformation. Designers often study the character of a material, exploring history, texture, patterns, and even imperfections. They then envisage a new narrative and aesthetic for this medium, moving from its previous form to something new.

What follows is an intricate process of designing, which can involve sketching, pattern-making, cutting, and sewing. The designers work with immensely detailed and careful methods, morphing these materials into garments that are both functional and tell a story. The result is a unique piece filled with history, sustainability and story, with much more personality than mass-produced fast fashion.

Each upcycled piece represents the growing movement away from landfills, reducing pollution and the demand for new raw materials. Instead of adding to the problem of waste, upcycling becomes part of the solution and the source of innovation and inspiration, showing that style doesn’t have to come at the cost of our environment. Each item in the marketplace also comes with a product story alongside a breakdown of materials and items reused to make each garment, plus the time it took to create. This gives visitors further insight into the processes and vast amounts of labour involved in fashion production while supporting upcycling empowers local artisans, designers, and craftspeople who take part in the creative process. 

@b_o_r_b_a_l_a, Photo: @laurakatakiss

So far Alterist have seen:

  • 993 Items saved from landfill
  • 783.5 kg of CO2 emissions saved from the atmosphere (approximately 1.78 kg of CO2 equivalents is emitted per kilogram of incinerating textile waste)
  • 566.67 Litres of wastewater saved from the production of new materials 

What’s next?

Alongside the marketplace, Alterist’s next step will be working on a brand collaboration programme, helping brands, manufacturers, and charity stores creatively utilise excess materials. It will provide an opportunity to creatively utilise excess stock and materials that will otherwise be discarded.

Once collected, Alterist will make the materials available to their designers to produce further upcycled garments from these rescued materials. It looks like the future isn’t just bright, it’s transformational.