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Why Upcycling?

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This is Fretex’s main reception for collected used items in Oslo.

Fretex main reception
Fretex main reception

Fretex is a Second-Hand chain and a social enterprise established by the Norwegian Salvation Army. They are the main recipient of used materials from Oslo’s inhabitants.

So this is a quite chaotic place, and not at all luxurious. Every day, stuff that people don’t want anymore rolls down the lane and gets sorted. A lot is also discarded and considered to be waste.

Upcycled fabric as raw material


This spring we initiated a collaboration with Fretex, to take some of these discarded materials and elevate them into new high quality products.

We started out talking with the designer we considered to be the right one for the project, and through a collaborative and long process with her, a product was developed.

Designer Eline Dragesund and Marte presented the idea for Fretex, and it was well received. Our overall goal will also be to try to establish a permanent sewing studio at Tøyen in Oslo, where we can do both training and give work to people who do not get to use their tailoring skills today.

At the assembly line

Even though designer Eline may stand for hours and hours to find the right fabric for the project, both destroyed enough to be considered waste, and high quality enough to get a second life, we’ve faked it a bit so that you can get a feeling of how it is at the facility


JF: So Eline, what does This project mean to you?
Eline: For me as a newly educated fashion designer from The National Academy of the Arts, it is a great honour to be able to collaborate with a company on this level. It is a springboard for me as well, and to be able to take local resources in use, like we do here, and make them into beautiful products, is just huge.

We collect resources from a sorting facility and elevate them and lift them into a luxury setting. It is modern alchemy. Marte is also really nice to collaborate with. The collaboration with Fretex has gone beyond expectations, even though they are really busy and have a lot to keep track of. Both JF Curated and I, we are so thankful and proud of the time and trust they’ve given to this collaboration.



Eline at the cutting table
Eline at the cutting table


After Eline has found the fabric it is taken to her studio or delivered to one of the tailors connected to the project, and the process of making it into a new and shiny product starts.

JF: So how did this project come to life from your side? 
Fretex: Well, Marte and Eline attended an early morning meeting at Fretex Alnabru with an idea and sketches. They were engaging and as Fretex don’t have their own redesign department now, we felt it was a great time for a collaboration. For us it is important that the upcycling happens in accordance with the resource-pyramid, which implies that if a fabric can be used in its original form or current state when delivered to us, it should continue its life in that state. When it is not possible to sell in current state, if it is destroyed, e.g. , we are open for  upcycling these fabrics into new ones.

Yellow Sand and Flowers Coat
Yellow Sand and Flowers Coat. Photography: Emma Sukalic, Mua/styling Alexandra Medema, Model: Emma Victoria Kolstad from Model Agency Ambition Models

JF: Why did you support this collaboration?
Fretex: When it comes to a project like this, one that aim to give people work and create added value to the material, we see it completely as a win. If these fabrics were not to be used here, they would be exported out of the country and be ground into small pieces. Every little thing that can stimulate people into new thinking and reuse is our focus!

Pastel Dream Coat
Pastel Dream Coat. Photography: Emma Sukalic, Mua/styling Alexandra Medema, Model: Emma Victoria Kolstad from Model Agency Ambition Models

JF: So what does this collaboration with JF mean to you guys?
Fretex: It means a lot, since we get to collaborate and be seen in arenas that we normally don’t. Both from an environmental and a social perspective. And we love that this project, both aims to build something that will give people work, and wants to prolong the lives of all these fabrics that would otherwise be destroyed. Somebody is going to love it and cherish it and that is a great thing. It is also a great way to use local resources. Fretex wants to give new opportunities for the used items that we receive and for people, and this project does both.

Last, but not least, JF Curated and Fretex have a common ground in our values. It is therefore a good way for us to be able to trust that our values are continued and passed on in this project.

Thank you to Fretex and Eline :)