Archive for the ‘Upcycling’ Category

Saraghina Shares a Passion for Repurposed Furniture – and Delicous Pizza!

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

Saraghina 435 Halsey St.

While most diners flock to Saraghina for its outstanding pizza, this quaint restaurant in Bed Stuy also provides a unique setting that our waiter gushed as both “charming and sexy”. Taking cues from the neighborhood it resides in, Saraghina’s décor is constructed from found and repurposed tables, cupboards, and chairs (on both the floors and the ceiling) that are often found lying around the streets of Bed Stuy. Designed by the previous owner Massimiliano Nanni and his wife, Paola Citterio, the restaurant and its furnishings are painted in a classic black and white palette to tie the aesthetic together. Throw in a wood-fed brick oven alongside the salvaged furniture, and not only will you get a stomach full of some of the most delicious pizza in New York, but a head full of DIY design ideas.

With an opportunity to design the spaces in our stores, we also get excited about the possibilities of incorporating upcycling, like in our Philly store where we constructed fixtures from shipping palettes and tables from thrift store finds. Find out more about some of our upcycling designs here.

BKI Philly 1525 Walnut Street

Our Bag Designer, Nancy Phan, Discusses the Making of the Sunnyside Bag.

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

Wear Your Water Bottle

Thursday, December 8th, 2011

We  didn’t believe it either when we first heard that plastic bottles could be recycled into fabric. Enter RETH¿NK, a Seattle company that creates clothes and accessories made exclusively from post-consumer plastic waste. For each T-shirt, 14 plastic bottles are first cleaned, then chopped and reformulated (melted), and finally spun into fiber. The polyester fabric used in the tees not only requires 90% less water usage than virgin polyester, but also leaves a 50% lower carbon footprint than organic cotton.

The hand drawn graphic showcases the environmentally-friendly aspect of the tee, while a series of icons demonstrates the ways in which people can live sustainably, The double infinity around the icons represents both the recyclable nature of the plastic bottles and the T-shirts.

Sneak Peek at our Holiday Windows

Friday, November 4th, 2011

Much like those industrious elves up north, our designers have all been pitching in to get our windows ready for the holiday season.  Over the past couple of months, we’ve been gathering used materials like plastic bottles, newspapers, old twigs, and bottle caps, and finding discarded material around Brooklyn to build an “upcycled” set for our winter forest photoshoot. The set ultimately will be transported to our store windows in time for the holidays.

Plastic bottles turn into falling snow, and their caps into deer skin.

Found carboard pipes turn into spooky forest ground covering.

Recently, we got our hands on the documentary Wasteland, about the Brazilian and Brooklyn-based, modern artist Vik Muniz, and the scavengers collecting recyclable goods from a massive 321-acre landfill near Rio de Janeiro. Working with the collectors, Muniz repurposed scavenged landfill trash into large-scale mosaic pieces and photographs.

Watching the documentary while we’ve been finishing up the set has served as great inspiration to find more ways to creatively use discarded goods. As Muniz once said, “The really magical things are the ones that happen right in front of you. A lot of the time you keep looking for beauty, but it is already there. And if you look with a bit more intention, you see it.”


Monday, April 4th, 2011

This April, Brooklyn Industries is excited to present the limited edition ECO CONSCIOUS Collection. The collection features women’s styles made from 65% recycled scrap cotton – fabric that would otherwise end up in a landfill. The scrap fabrics are spun together, processed through a pure water garment wash and lightly dyed to create a heathered look. ECO CONSCIOUS women’s styles includes the Gaia Eco Dress, a blue drawstring shirtdress flattering to any silhouette; the Eco Theodora Dress, a grey heather dress with a sweetheart neckline and ruching at the natural waist; the Eco Scoop Tee, a scoop neck tank with swirl detailing and a drawstring at the natural waist (available in two colors); and the Eco Flora Maxi Skirt, a long versatile cotton maxi skirt, available in heather grey and a rosey pink.


Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

Construction for our Boston location is in its final stretch! Upcycling is in full gear and there’s a lot “in store” for our Boston fans. Please email PR@brooklynindustries and put BOSTON in the headline if you’d like to hear about upcoming events.


Monday, November 23rd, 2009

The store launch and upcycling party for our Grand Central Terminal location last Thursday was a success. Our guests enjoyed wine, cheese and music from our DJ (and Store Design Assistant!) Devin. We shared the definition of upcycling with our guests (“The re-use of an object in a new or more valuable way without degrading the material it is made from”) and the story of how Brooklyn Industries came to be through the idea of upcycling trashed billboard vinyl to make durable messenger bags. Not only did those in attendance see the store fixtures that had been upcycled for the location (i.e. a cashwrap made out of repurposed wood pallets) but they were able to take home a tip sheet with suggestions for upcycling, provided by BKI employees.

Below are some of the tips we shared!

“My roommate and I found old shutters on the side of the road and we attached cork board to the back. Now the shutters frame what we’ve turned into a bulletin board.” – Jessi, Graphic Design

“I used old cardboard boxes I found at Brooklyn Industries headquarters to make birdcages. The base and roof of the birdcage is made with the cardboard and the bars of the cage were made with Bamboo skewers I found at my mom’s house. Both materials could have been trashed, but I was able to make something cute out of them.” – Simone, Customer Service

“My boyfriend made a guitar stand out of an old vintage suitcase he found on the side of the street. He was featured in Make magazine for it.” – Emily, Production

“Instead of recycling metal containers from canned food items I’ll upcycle them, using them to hold things like writing instruments, plants and loose change. I’ll decorate the cans with old newspaper articles or with the pages of 19th century literature I’ve found for a $1 at Strand Book Store.” – Nicole, Public Relations

There are some woodworking companies in our building here at work. They often fill up dumpsters with nice leftover wood scraps. I’ve pulled out short planks of wood and brought them home to make shelves by adding some L-brackets.” – Michelle, Operations

“Using upcycled small hooks and an old piece of wood, I put them all together, painted them and made a necklace holder for my wall.” – Ellen, Retail Store Operations

“In my backyard, I converted an existing fire pit into a planter and used bricks I found to line all of the flower and garden beds.” – Lauren, E-commerce


Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

There are many ways to create a sustainable lifestyle and reduce the amount of carbon footprinting on the world. The biggest movement right now has taken a home in décor, crafts, and using your creativity to make a more beautiful world. Here are a few sites that promote upcycling and DIY crafting. Perhaps you can even get a few ideas for your next big craft project or a few gifts for the coming holiday season: : Design*Sponge is a great site to spend half a day roaming through the different categories and designs. The images are great, but the best part is their DIY page. This portion of their blog is dedicated to projects you can do at home using items that are lying around as well as items that are on its way to the landfill. : The designers at Wardrobe Refashion dedicate their lives to re-designing clothing, jewelry, and accessories to make them better, and more durable. It’s a great way to recycle those tired outfits from three years ago. This inspiring site will expand the horizons of what you can do with just one raggedy piece of clothing. : Vinyl Rocks My World on sells records. Upcycled records, that is. From Mandela bowls to desk organizers, the creators of this store take vintage records and mold them to make beautiful accents for your home. : Crafting A Green World is a great collaboration blog that highlights crafting at its greenest. Using repurposed items, upcycling and the power of imagination, anything is possible and everything is beautiful.