“new culture.. a new way to be.”

Sustainable fashion is taking the industry by storm. Gone are the days when upcycling was considered a niche market. Today, everyone from the biggest K-pop stars to the haute couture celebs are hopping on the trend. At the helm of these whirlwind changes are visionaries such as the Chilean designer Sebastian de Suffray and his brainchild, SEVALI.
The Paris-based “upcycled couture” label is intent on pushing boundaries, quite literally. In the spirit of daring experimentation, they designed edgy bodysuits from leather car seats and corset tops from FedEx packaging.

As SEVALI’S creative director and prime mover, de Suffray believes that there is beauty in finding new ways to transform commonplace materials. He says the label has always been inspired by the mundane. Thus, his visual palette has included objects such as “car seats, metro tickets, or mattresses” - things that he thinks “have more powerful energy than clothes.”
For de Suffray, these objects’ appeal lies in their strong connection to people. In repurposing these objects into clothes, he keeps the object’s essence while simultaneously transposing that energy into“ a higher or lower frequency.” Thus, by keeping the object’s trace in its new form, each individual piece achieves a strong sense of personality and charm.
de Suffray’s extraordinary vision reflects his lifelong search for “newness.” Born in Santiago, Chile, he got a taste of the fashion world after a brief stint in Milan. He then studied at Instituto Marangoni in London and interned at Alexander McQueen. This experience became his personal revelation that formally opened his world to fashion. After getting his MA at Central Saint Martin, he settled in Paris and worked as a freelancer with a number of brands. He eventually decided to build his own label, thus starting SEVALI’s journey.

The brand is uncompromising in its ambitions. While SEVALI has conventional upcycled pieces made from old repurposed clothes, their most interesting pieces are those that kept their source material’s character. Their creative approach to circular design allows them to create fantastical pieces that tell stories and speak about their origins.
They also employ artisanal recycling techniques when it comes to production. They stitch, dye, and bead their pieces primarily by hand. Moreover, each piece demands its own process of deconstructing and reconstructing the material into clothing. The techniques chosen are those that are best suited to the material. This meticulous attention to detail makes every SAVELI piece ultimately a wearable artwork.

This was already evident in their maiden collection, particularly its pièce de resistance: a jacket built from deconstructed from an antique mattress. Literally taken from the streets, the mattress was then disassembled, cleaned, and then stitched back into form. While the transmutation has been evidently dramatic, de Suffray kept the mattress’ design and gave it new life. The whole process took three weeks.
SEVALI took it up a notch with their second and third collections, this time taking the Paris metro system as its inspiration. They constructed dresses from ticket stubs, moto detailing, and leather car seats. One of the pieces from the second collection, a glove reconstructed from used leather jackets, was worn by Lisa of BLACKPINK in the music video of their song, “Ice Cream.”

Their latest collection,04, showcases another change in direction as the label shimmies into art and haute couture proper. Presented during de Suffray’s residency in Lafayette Anticipations, this collection sees SEVALI fusing textile art with 2000s nostalgia. All upcycled from a wide variety of sources, 04 is made up of micro-minis, baby tees, leather caps, and vintage textiles. The collection has attracted quite a number of celebs who stan the style including Alexa Demie, Doja Cat, and BLACKPINK.

de Suffray himself says that “there are no rules or limits to creation.” After all, this willingness to put everything into question is what pushes us to look for new ways, forge new tools, come up and new ideas, to make truly trailblazing fashion. Given the depth of SEVALI’s vision and its willingness to pursue this vision, there is reason to believe that the future is wide open for this young brand.
 All images copyright and courtesy of Sevali