Upcycling Series: Scarves



by: Audrey Stanton

The Upcycle Series is a collection of blog posts highlighting The Burning Torch’s unique upcycling endeavors.

Scarves provide “a practical purpose [however,] those of the silk variety—luxuriously smooth to the touch and light in weight—really serve no other function than to complete an outfit,” ​writer Andrea Chang explained​ a few years ago. From Eqyptian Queen Neferttiti’s headdress and Audrey Hepburn’s daily accessory, to the various styles, lengths and patterns worn throughout the 20th century, decorative scarves have played a small but mighty role in fashion history. Today, these types of scarves don’t need to be pure silk or reserved for the rich and famous to provide unparalleled flair. Decorative scarves populate most vintage stores, passed down from high society and everyday fashionistas alike, making them a fantastic way to tell stories of the past, present and future.

The Upcycled Scarves Collection

Karyn Craven and her team have become well-versed in sourcing the right vintage items after years of upcycling. Since the 1990s, before it was a fashion trend, the founder was scouring secondhand shops and making strong connections with resourceful vendors. With a deep understanding of what items are already available, and where to find the best quality versions of them, she has used these skills to produce a multitude of mesmerizing designs, not least of which include vintage scarves. After sourcing the best products, the scarves are sorted, cleaned, mended if necessary, and sewn together. Each of these scarves are exquisite on their own, though make a distinctive new creation when brought together, varying in print and combination. In this way, The Burning Torch upcycled garments are custom and made with the utmost care, to last a lifetime.

The Upcycled Scarves collection currently features a series of one-of-a-kind bomber jackets as part of a larger Pre-Fall collection. In addition, Fall will bring flowing dresses and boxy tops produced with hand sourced vintage scarves to bring even more life to the upcycled collection.

View the ​Fall 2020 Lookbook​ to dive into Karyn’s exploration of the space between allusion and illusion, as we move towards a better fashion future.

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Piecing It All Together

The power of the upcycling method lies in the use of several different pieces, which were beautiful on their own, to create a singular unified and unique garment. As Pre-Fall soon gives way to Fall, the upcycled scarves appear in different ways– moving from more structured silhouettes to fluid designs. If the previous garments from the Upcycled Scarves collection were soft armor for tough times, then the coming pieces are cloaks for dreaming and envisioning a better future. These designs mirror our current cultural and political moments– the important roles that realism and fantasy play in moving the needle forward are effortlessly showcased in these thoughtfully made items.

...the previous garments from the Upcycled Scarves collection were soft armor for tough times...the coming pieces are cloaks for dreaming and envisioning a better future.

We have to dream a little in order to have hope for the future, while never forgetting the checkered past. We bring these fragments, sew them together, and create the future we wish to see for ourselves. We have the power.