From Waste to Wow: Junkle’s Upcycling Journey to California

A manifesto that fully embraces an innovative and necessary outlook, a name that represents a true declaration of intent: Junkle is a budding Sicilian venture changing the rules of the fashion game.

Established in 2019 in the heart of Palermo, Junkle is an innovative start-up born from the vision of Ilaria Sposito. Her goal? To pioneer a fashion movement through upcycling, crafting gender-neutral apparel, accessories, and home furnishings.

At the foundation of this business endeavor lies an inspiring message: promoting ethical behavior and responsible consumption in today’s society. And how does Junkle do this? By salvaging soon-to-be-discarded materials and transforming them into long-lasting everyday products.

The brand’s catchy name sprouted from a collective brainstorm – merging “Junk,” symbolizing the discarded, with “Jungle,” encapsulating ideas of lushness, abundance, and green ethos.

The production process is rigorous. It starts with sourcing a variety of materials, from used sails to outdoor fabrics. These sails primarily come from generous donations by large fleets, sailmakers, and sailing schools. Once acquired, the materials are meticulously cleaned, sorted, and categorized by color before being shipped off for the final product creation.

Located in Palermo’s historic center, Junkle boasts a store and a workshop run by four professionals. A majority-woman endeavor, the venture champions female empowerment.

The vibrant team consists of partners Ilaria Sposito and Concetta Chillemi, supported by Mara, Valentina, Alice, Alfie, and Turi.

Currently, Junkle is rolling out four distinct collections:

I Was a Sail, made from retired sails sourced from shipowners, sailmakers, small vessels, surfers and kiters. This line features homey poufs, cushions, lampshades, and other furnishing accessories.

Sicily Markets, crafted using the shading canvases from Palermo’s iconic Vucciria and Ballarò markets.

Canaponi, a line inspired by the remnants of olona canvas, a fabric deeply rooted in the Sicilian upholstery tradition.

Vinyl, a fan-favorite, stemming from leftover and used outdoor PVC cuts. This collection flaunts bags, backpacks, and accessories fit for travel, work, and school.

Junkle’s sustainable and innovative approach has immediately struck a chord, especially among the younger crowd who recognize the need to steer away from the damaging effects of Fast Fashion.

Thanks to its strategically placed store, benefitting from Palermo’s bustling tourism, Junkle regularly caters to an international clientele, notably from the United States and Australia.

Mark your calendars! Junkle’s creations will be showcased at the Nexxt Expo, celebrating Made in Italy, scheduled in Los Angeles from October 19th to 22nd. Swing by the Sicily Show booth, set up by IoComproSiciliano, and get a glimpse of their sample pieces, including a limited collection of four bags crafted from spinnaker sails.