The Chrysalis Lab: Upping Your Style With Upcycling

Award-winning stylist Emma Trask has worked with Hollywood’s elite. In 2021 she saw a need to revolutionize the way people see fashion and sustainability. It was then that she launched The Chrysalis Lab, a revolutionary concept to create designer fashion from existing garments and vintage pieces. With a sincere mission to foster sustainability and conscious consumption, the Malibu-based Upcycled Atelier creates an atmosphere where it’s a privilege to to participate in the transformative upcycling process she refers to as “chrysalization,” hence The Chrysalis Lab.

Just like a butterfly’s metamorphosis, Trask does the same with clothing that might have once been discarded or put to the back of the closet. Artisan techniques are applied to the garments upcycled throughout the process to create beautiful pieces that, just like a butterfly, spread their wings, flutter and flourish. To say that her pieces are one of a kind is truly an understatement.

Trask found her passion in this new upcycling endeavor. “In the depths of fashion’s excess, I found my purpose. After twenty years in the fashion styling industry, witnessing the mountains of waste and the relentless cycle of fashion consumption, I knew it was time for change”.

Trask is steadfast in her commitment to the mission, and believes this is not just a trend. “I believe that sustainable fashion is not just a trend, but a necessity for the future. By offering unique, one-of-a-kind pieces and promoting conscious consumerism, I hope to inspire individuals to make more sustainable choices and contribute to a better future for fashion.”

Not only does she focus on her own designs, but she’s committed to fostering other sustainable brands and designers focused on giving clothing a second life; and spearheads something called The Taste & Makers, events that support others with the same mission.

Trask is excited to launch her latest collection with the brand, so she sat down and chatted with us about everything from design, sustainability and more.

BN: Tell us about your latest collection.
The ‘Apres Beach’ collection embodies a weightier transformation of knits, coupled with custom crochet bikinis, tailored specifically for the cooler evenings and mornings in Malibu. The collection was shot against the breathtaking backdrop of Syros, Greece. The intention was to evoke a sense of escapism and a departure from the ordinary, both in lifestyle and fashion. Our main focus was on reinventing existing wardrobe essentials. Picture denim jackets, shorts, sundresses, sweatshirts, linen and flannel shirts, as well as body-con dresses, all undergoing a transformative process. Each piece in ‘Apres Beach’ tells a story of adaptability and style, making it a true testament to the versatility of our clientele’s existing wardrobe.

Your work with The Chrysalis Lab is so inspiring. Can you speak on that?
My work at TCL is not just about selling garments but educating and empowering customers to reprogram they way they think about consuming fashion. My collections are designed to inspire consumers to take back control of their fashion choices making them more personal and unique to their individual style rather than being driven by the trend train to look the same and endlessly consume and replace. For me Upcycling is the beacon of sustainability, immune to greenwashing. It empowers consumers to take control, reinventing what they already have in their closet instead of mindlessly replacing it. It’s a paradigm shift in fashion consumption, a reprogramming of values. Seeing my customers embrace this process is a testament to its remarkable power, creativity, and empowerment.

Tell us something about the strides being made in sustainable fashion.
There has undeniably been significant progress in the sustainable fashion industry, but still many companies have not yet adopted complete transparency in their manufacturing procedures. There should be clear and precise requirements to effectively classify a brand as sustainable. This covers every aspect, from ethical manufacturing to transparent supply chains and responsible material procurement. It is essential that we keep advocating for these standards to make sure that sustainability is more than simply a buzzword, but a tangible commitment.

Lastly, what can we all do to help with the movement?
Fashion has the potential to be a powerful force for positive change, but change begins with awareness. By understanding the impact of our fashion choices, we empower ourselves to make a difference. Platforms like The Canvas (@TheCanvasNYC) stand as proof of a significant shift in consumer preferences towards sustainable shopping. They reflect a shared dedication to redefining our consumption patterns and promoting a more sustainable way of life. I am proud to be part of it.