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Hyundai wants to make recycled automotive waste fashionable. Literally.

The carmaker is partnering with several trendy designers and artists to turn discarded materials from the automotive manufacturing and scrapping process into chic apparel as part of its second annual Re:Style project.

                                                          (Image: Hyundai)

The resulting merchandise will be sold through Selfridges, a U.K.-based high-end department store chain, starting next week. Sales will raise funds for the British Fashion Council's Institute of Positive Fashion.

Room for Improvement

Most of the material used to produce a car, such as iron and nonferrous metals, is being recycled already. But leather, glass and airbag materials still end up in landfills.

Through innovative designs, Re:Style 2020 hopes to create an environmentally friendly—and stylish—alternative.

Or as one participating designer put it: “Taking something that isn’t perfect and making it special.”

Do You Have That Airbag in My Size?

Products range from jumpsuits, vests and other assorted clothing to designer bags and jewelry.

The participating brands, what they’re making and what they’re recycling are:

  • Alighieri—collection of necklaces, chokers, bracelets and other items created with repurposed seatbelts, car glass and foam materials, as well as gold, silver, bronze and freshwater pearls
  • E.L.V. Denim—jumpsuit created using upcycled denim and leather scraps from the car manufacturing process
  • Public School—Fuji Technical Vest created out of discarded seatbelt webbing and airbag materials
  • pushButton—work vest with pockets using airbag materials that keeps the airbag's original details
  • Richard Quinn—corset made of recycled airbag fabrics with a blue and white floral pattern
  • Rosie Assoulin—tote bag made of seatbelt webbing, carpet fabrics and foam repurposed from discarded automotive materials

Hyundai believes such applications also will be appealing to car owners.

Recycling car glass into jewelry (Image: Alighieri) 

"We understand that ethical consumption and caring for the environment are increasingly important considerations of our customers in the post COVID-19 world,” says Wonhong Cho, Hyundai’s executive vice president and global chief marketing officer.

"By demonstrating that discarded resources can be reimagined into valuable products,” he adds, “Hyundai Motor encourages more industries to see waste as a recreative opportunity and to work collaboratively toward an environmentally accountable and economically efficient future."