August 17, 2022

A London-based fashion designer is turning recycled rubber into 1970s punk rock-inspired accessories.

East Londoner G Martin, 34, repurposed nearly 688 pounds of rubber that would be piling up in landfills by turning it into rockin’ recycled fashion pieces.

Taking inspiration from the likes of the Sex Pistols and other innovators, Martin’s Broke Boutique reworks rubber and other materials into studded and chained bras, belts, harnesses, bedroom sets, plant hangers and more.

“It’s incredible to think how these tires and tubes were once used, and now they are designed into the most creative and exciting of garments,” Martin told Jam Press.

She models her sets to her 22,100 Instagram followers and sells her creations at local bazaars and on her online shop.

Martin, who also works as a caregiver, began Broke Boutique in 2012 after she found her true craft calling.

G Martin, 34, models her refurbished rubber designs to her 22,100 Instagram followers.
Jam Press/@broke_boutique
G Martin in the warehouse where she sources her materials
The eco-friendly fashion designer sources her materials from a nearby industrial estate to create her looks.
Jam Press/@broke_boutique

“The idea came around by chance rather than design. I was already making art and decor from reclaimed materials and someone had given me a huge tractor inner tube,” she said. “After some weeks of playing with different ideas, I crafted a bra top using an old bra pattern that I had laying around.”

Only afterward did she realize it was functional, too.

“When I tried it on, I realized how comfortable and nicely fitted the material was to be made into a garment,” Martin explained, noting that many of her items are sold out.

Martin began her recycled creations in 2012 and has since sold and rented many of her designs.
Martin began her recycled creations in 2012 and has since sold and rented many of her designs.
Jam Press Vid/@broke_boutique

Broke Boutique currently rescues six to 13 pounds of rubber from sitting in a landfill every week.

She sources her materials from an industrial estate in Norfolk, where the tractor inner tubes, tires and old bouncy castles are often coated with mud and dust requiring a deep clean before creating the unique designs.

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All the recycled materials are free from animal products and latex, making the material safe for people to wear on top of being environmentally friendly.

Martin plans to continue creating her innovative designs to do her part to save the planet as the demand for sustainable fashion continues to increase.

“I think it’s really great that my business is growing because people love the fact that the brand is truly sustainable. Millions of very low-paid workers are exploited every day to make products that ultimately end up just getting dumped – and roughly 20% of those clothes go unsold,” she shared.

Nearly 92 million tons of clothes-related waste is discarded globally each year, which is enough to fill the Empire State Building one and a half times every day.

“The fast fashion industry has got us into the habit of impulse buying cheap clothing that barely gets worn, we then chuck it and it goes to landfill or gets shipped to third world countries, who then have to deal with our waste,” she said.

A black chain bra
Broke Boutique is helping to save the environment with its unique and sustainable designs.
Jam Press Vid/@broke_boutique
A red recycled harness garment
Martin takes inspiration from 1970s punk rock when designing her bras, harnesses, plant holders and more.
Jam Press/Laszlo Kovacs

“It’s the cause of 10% of our global carbon emissions,” Martin explained, which is double what aviation and shipping combined produce.

“I absolutely get why fast fashion exists, there’s lots of people on a small budget and big fast fashion brands offer a quick solution to that problem, but it’s unsustainable and something has got to give,” she added. “So I think it’s important to change our habits, start buying less often but better quality.”

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Martin is doing her part to make sustainable fashion more accessible by offering her items to be rented for up to 10 days for a quarter of the retail price, too.

“Crafting slow fashion from waste materials, opening minds and seeing people’s faces when they realize what their garment used to be never gets boring,” Martin said.