Xandra Jane Design: Upcycling Nirvana

Launched in 2015, by 25-year-old fashion designer Alexandra Wells, Xandra Jane Design aims to reconnect us with the joy of making our own clothes, whilst at the same time being a sustainable designer brand that is on course to rival some of the industry’s most established names.

With achievements, such as ‘New Business Finalist 2017’ and ‘Sustainability Champion Finalist 2016’ amongst its list of accomplishments Xandra Jane Design is an ethical brand that I couldn’t wait to find out more about. To hear more about the inspiration for Xandra Jane Design and the plans for the brands future read the full interview with Alexandra, Xandra Jane Founder, here.  To find out more about the products themselves, keep reading.

crys rucksack xandra jane design flor and cesta review

A few weeks ago, thanks to Alex, I was lucky enough to get my hands on one of the brands CRYS rucksacks from their 2017 collection and I’ve been trying it out ever since!

The rucksack I received from Xandra Jane is part of the CRYS collection. CRYS I now know means shirt in Welsh; a rather fitting name as all the rucksacks in the collection are made from upcycled shirts. I said this collection was upcycling nirvana in the title, setting the bar high from the offset, but it really is! As soon as I opened the package I was excited. Nestled on the top was what Xandra Jane call their ‘Journey card’. A personalised overview of the journey my rucksack took before it arrived with me. A level of transparency we can only hope of seeing from larger retailers.

xandra jane design flor and cesta review journey card

The Journey Card told me that my rucksack was designed by Alexandra and then made by their intern Lydia. It told me precisely how long it took Lydia to make it and what from; an unloved shirt and a pair of jeans. It took Lydia 9 hours to sew the rucksack. Having this fact presented to me on arrival of my new product really made me think. How many hours and what does an average garment worker get paid for making a low-cost rucksack from a high street store (I won’t start naming names, you know the culprits)? I am pretty confident in saying, not as much as Lydia.

 Are we so disconnected from the source of the clothes we wear and the items we use every day that we don’t stop, even just for a moment, to consider the individual who made them? I think we are. How can the low prices we see on the high street be sustainable? The answer is that they’re not and we need brands like Xandra Jane to make us, the consumer, aware of this and to start to change the way we approach our fashion purchases.

Having said that, the CRYS backpack is very affordable (£40) and super cute. I would call it the perfect weekend/ day out, rucksack. I have been trialling the navy gingham design and it just makes me dream of weekends spent picnicking in the countryside with friends. This is the perfect bag for a summer day out. It is not large, nor waterproof though, so do not buy this thinking you’re going to be taking it to work laden with your laptop, keep cup, water bottle, lunchbox and the rest of the kitchen sink. Or is it just me who carries half the contents of my house around with me?!

It is beautifully made, a true example of how, when done properly, upcycling produces a product that is better than anything brand new that we could buy. The rucksacks straps are adjustable and use the shirt buttons the pack is made from to fix the strap in place. The joy of an upcycled product is the story it holds. Who else’s hands have done up those buttons? Or indeed undone them!

There is so much to love to about the CRYS rucksack, a truly unique and timeless design. Well made through zero waste processes and built to last; you’ll be loving this upcycled delight for years to come.

Head over to Xandra Jane’s website to see the full collection of CRYS rucksacks and receive 10% off on orders over £50 with the code FLOR10.

*Please note the product reviewed in this article was kindly sent to me free of cost by Xandra jane Design.