Innovative, imaginative, practical, beautiful and eco-friendly are just a few of the qualities Paguro Upcycle products have to offer to the conscious consumer. Yen Goo, the brains behind Paguro Upcycle, brings together and showcases for us a collection of the world’s finest upcycled products, focusing on quality craftsmanship and contemporary design. Yen and her team collaborate with producers and designers who share their desire to create positive social and environmental change.
I talked with Yen about Paguro, the inner tube products that look and feel like leather and why we should choose upcycled/recycled products.
How did you come up with the idea of Paguroupcycle?
“I was always interested in fashion, but I had become disillusioned with what I saw on the high street. Copious chain stores offering fast fashion and a throwaway culture to match. I found it hard to find many stores that offered products that were unique, individual and good quality.
During my sabbatical, I came across a designer whilst travelling in South East Asia whose mission was to create ethical bags and accessories using repurposed and recycled materials. What made these products so special to me was the imaginative way in which the materials had been reinvented and the positive impact that their creation was having on the local community.
I also noticed that many craftspeople lacked direction in promoting their products and making the products contemporary and appealing to the Western market and that’s how Paguro Upcycle was born!
Through Paguro, I aim to showcase the quality of their craftsmanship and the individuality of their designs to a wider audience. I like to see Paguro used as a platform that tells the story of the designers, supports their environmental or social vision and guides them in developing appealing and contemporary products.”
Why should we choose upcycled/recycled products?
“We appreciate that it would be far easier to create something out of new materials, but it requests far more creativity and skill to create great upcycled products that don’t appear in the first instance to be made from recycled materials.
Not only does the use of reclaimed materials have environmental benefits, but our designer/makers thrive on the challenge of using these more difficult materials in desirable and elegant ways. There is far too much fast fashion in the market and it is important that we pay greater respect to the world’s natural resources.”
How important to the success of the brand are the artisans, the designers and your team?
“The designer/makers are the key people in the whole concept of Paguro Upcycle. Without their passion, creativity and the quality of their craftsmanship, we wouldn’t have the impressive product range that we have today. They share our vision for producing high-quality products and finish each item to the highest standards. Together we hope to change the perspective of some consumers that upcycled and ethical products are inferior in quality.”
What challenges you face with regards to the consumers and the demand?
“Some consumers struggle with the pricing of the products. They instinctively think that products made from recycled products should be cheaper than equivalent products made from new materials.
Whilst the raw material itself may be inexpensive, the products are handmade to a high standard which requires time and a considerable level of skill and energy. Whilst we endeavour to make the products as affordable as possible, it is essential to us that the designer/makers are paid a fair price for their craftsmanship.”
Where do you see Paguro Upcycle in the future?
“We are aiming to get our products into more well-known galleries, museums and also independent stores in the UK and around the World. We would like our website to be a platform that is widely known as the home of quality upcycled products and the first stop for consumers when looking for quality upcycled, fashion accessories.”