Gen Z fashion designer Anna Molinari makes chic looks out of recycled trash

Gen Z fashion designer Anna Molinari is making sustainable garments out of unconventional materials. 

Molinari chatted with In The Know about a few of her upcycled pieces. The fashionista has made numerous clothes and accessories, like a dress out of can tabs, a toothpick necklace and a sailing line corset. Each item is unique but they share Molinari’s ethos. 

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“I turn trash into wearable garments,” Molinari told In The Know. “I think it’s a really important message that I want to keep putting out into the world. Look at what you can do out of trash and look at what you can do by recycling.”

She made one of her popular pieces, a colorful necklace, out of 400 leftover hors d’oeuvre toothpicks while still in high school. But it was her can-tab cocktail dress that created a real “wow” moment on TikTok

“So I was going through so many seltzer waters a day. I was for fun, taking the tabs off and I realized I should start collecting these and maybe I can make some sort of textile out of it,” Molinari said. 

She saved hundreds of tabs, but it still wasn’t enough to make a dress so she ordered 6,000 more on eBay. About 3,000 ended up in the dress. 

“It took about 12 days of I’d say, five or six hours a day, just sitting there. It ended up being five pounds, which is very heavy,” she said. “So I had to make extra built-in support and everything. It catches the light and has this movement that I think is really cool and interesting.” 

For a project in 2016, Molinari collected over a thousand plastic black straws from a cafe that was switching to paper straws to make a flowy dress

“I took all the straws and I sewed them on, eight at a time, onto a shift dress that I made and ended up using about 1500 straws on that dress,” Molinari said. 

Another piece she was proud of was an avant-garde corset made from sailing lines. She worked at a fishing supply store and her boss was getting rid of the line so Molinari decided to scoop it right up. 

“It was 100 pounds of rope,” she explained. “It was really cool to use the rope that I had been working with for years to make a piece of clothing rather than the typical rope bracelet that we sell.”

The fashion designer hopes that people will be inspired by what she creates. 

“I think being sustainable is extremely important, especially for Gen Z,” Molinari said. “For the sake of the longevity of the world, we have to start turning toward sustainable solutions and sustainable fashion.”

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If you liked this story, check out In The Know’s article on this creative TikToker who made an entire outfit out of Solo cups.

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