Reet Aus, Ph.D. is a sustainable fashion designer and ardent visionary.
In the very early years of her career, she came to understand the shadowy aspects of the fashion industry – the environmental burden and damage – but also saw ethical and sustainable alternatives. She started working as a fashion designer in 1997, and since 2002 all of her collections have followed the principles of upcycling.
Working as a theatre costume designer, she started using household textiles, jeans, police uniforms, etc. for theatre design.
Thereafter she stepped into the world of fashion and started developing industrial upcycling principles. With her own brand, Reet AusTM, each piece is made from leftovers from mass production and saves on average 75% water and 88% energy, while generating 80% less CO2.
Besides upcycling, she also uses recycled materials and targets her activities at the circular economy and zero waste.
She holds a Ph.D. from the Estonian Academy of Arts (her thesis being entitled ‘Trash to Trend: Using Upcycling in Fashion Design’, 2011), has spoken at a number of conferences about her practices and given lectures to academies and the public. A documentary, ‘Out of Fashion’ (2015), follows her journey from fashion stages to cotton plantations and to the epicenter of mass production in Bangladesh.
She has been awarded a number of prizes – one of the Responsible Leader in Northern Europe awards of the Nordic Business Report (2017), the Top 20 Women in the Business award of the Nordic Business Report (2015) and runner-up in the European Business Awards for the Environment (2014) among them.
Her fashion collections have been shown in London, Paris, Berlin, Helsinki, NewYork, Los Angeles, Rīga and Tallinn.