Alexandra Sipa: designer turning discarded electrical wire into high fashion
Less than two years after founding her own fashion label Alex Sipa has created a dress for Nicola Roberts – a stellar journey with its roots in lace-making and recycling.
I founded my label Alexandra Sipa during lockdown in 2020 after graduating from Central Saint Martins.
I put environmental, economic and social sustainability at the heart of all my collections by upcycling and reusing discarded materials. I specifically focus on waste electrical wires in my designs.
Recycling is part of my life
Sustainability has always been important to me and part of my life – as I grew up with my uncle owning a recycling plant in Romania.
Then, while researching for a sustainability project at college, I learned that discarded electricals are one of the fastest-growing waste streams in the world.
During that time my headphones broke. So instead of throwing them away, adding to this waste stream, I wanted to find a way to reuse them and put them to better use.
Taking my headphones apart, I discovered how colourful all the wires were and came up with the idea of creating a dress made solely of old electrical wires.
Inspired by lace-making
My designs are inspired by the intricate works of my grandmother’s doilies back in Romania and I adopted the technique of bobbin lace.
This is where the yarn – in my case wires – are looped and twisted together to create stunning patterns.
At first I sourced all the materials I used from a recycling centre in London. But more recently due to lockdown I’ve had to find them online through Facebook Marketplace.
“Taking apart my headphones, I discovered how colourful the wires were – and came up with the idea of creating a dress made of old electrical wires”
Spotlight on waste
Through all the garments I make I hope to address the issue around waste electricals and bring it to people’s attention more.
The partnership with the Recycle Your Electricals campaign will spread greater awareness of this – and how people can start to tackle it by reusing and recycling their old unwanted electricals.
The Nicola Roberts dress
I’m very excited to have created a dress made from 210 wires for Nicola Roberts to wear on the red carpet as part of the Recycle Your Electricals campaign.
I sourced all these wires personally from recycling centres, friends and family, and even from local electricians and builders.
I’ve loved working with Nicola and have always admired her strong sense of personal style.
I hope this dress will showcase the potential of discarded materials – it’s just one of the amazing things recycled electrical wires can be turned into.