Melbourne Designer Chelsea Hickman Transforms Textile Waste Into Wearable Art

Chelsea Hickman doesn’t follow conventions. With a focus on utilising textile waste and found objects, Hickman zooms in on throw-away culture and fashion industry ethics.

Credit: Subvrt Mag

Chelsea Hickman is one of Melbourne’s emerging multidisciplinary artists and fashion designers.

Hickman works out of her Yarra-Yarra studio in Melbourne, Australia. She spends her time up-cycling second-hand garments and clothing salvaged from landfill to create functional, wearable art pieces.


It’s estimated that approximately 501,000,000 kg of textiles go into landfill in Australia every year.

This process of disassembling a pre-existing product and redeveloping it into something new allows for repurposing of materials, keeping a notable aspect of the original product present. The obvious benefits of up-cycling include the opportunity to divert waste textiles from landfill and also extend material life by giving old products a new lifecycle. This hypothetically helps to reduce C02 emissions by counteracting the production of new materials.

In 2020, Hickman was commissioned to create the next line of Pavilion staff uniforms, which were up-cycled from the uniforms of seasons past. It was themed ‘Re-emergence, Re-animation and Re-use’.

Credit: mpavilion

Hickman also won the Open Category Prize for the Woods Street Youth Art Prize in 2020. She also received a Cultural Infrastructure Grant from Darebin City Council.


Credit: Subvrt Mag

Hickman and fellow designer Hayley Van Ree collaborated to form a sustainable clothing project entitled Opulence for Melbourne Fashion Week 2017.

Hickman and Van See describe their collection in Subvert Mag as,

“Inclusion to indulgent ideals within the means we can acquire; with a specific focus on using fabric that would otherwise be landfill among oxymorons of diamanté kitchen gloves and Chanel balaclavas…

“a twisted reflection of fashion and internet culture through manipulating concepts of gender identity, glamour and sustainable clothing, resulting in a perverse and surprising panoply.”

Source: Subvrt Mag

To check out her work, visit

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