Sustainability and Social Responsibility

Upcycling with artisans: Proposed strategies for production

  • Farhana Momotaz (Iowa State University)
  • Rachel Jean Eike orcid logo (Iowa State University)
  • Sunhyung Cho (Iowa State University)


The fashion industry is one of the most polluting industries in the world. Upcycling pre-and post-consumer textile waste can reduce solid waste and environmental pollution. This qualitative study implemented co-design and participatory action research to outline a small-scale production process for upcycling factory denim waste to produce sustainable fashions in conjunction with artisan makers. Artisans of rural Bangladesh worked alongside the researchers to design and produce upcycled apparel products, employing the unique Nakshi Kantha technique. The Nakshi Kantha technique produces an embroidered quilted patchwork cloth using varying hand stitches (Chen, 1984). In addition to the proposes small scale upcycling production process, findings identified strategies to communicate with rural artisans in order to effectively execute operations productivity, particularly between foreign countries and rural settings. This study contributes to understanding how apparel businesses may effectively work with rural artisan to produce sustainable apparel, thus supporting responsible production and economic growth of rural communities.

Keywords: Sustainable fashion, upcycling, artisans, production, textile waste

How to Cite:

Momotaz, F., Eike, R. J. & Cho, S., (2022) “Upcycling with artisans: Proposed strategies for production”, International Textile and Apparel Association Annual Conference Proceedings 78(1). doi:



Published on
15 Sep 2022