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Green Goes Glamorous With The Launch of http://www.upcyclechic.com/

April 19, 2024 - April 19, 2024   

Green indie fashion designer, Lena Nozizwe has launched her new eco design site, http://www.upcyclechic.com/, with the question. “Why shouldn’t looking good be good for the earth?”

The site features the debut of her green and glamorous upcycled hat, called The Nozizwe, a Xhosa word that means it’s a wonder. The hat upcycles burlap rice bags and vintage silk.

“I prefer the term upcycling instead of recycling because it means taking disposable materials and turning them into something of greater use and value,” says designer Nozizwe.

While Nozizwe, who the Washington Post singled out as one of the best dressed residents of the nation’s capital, has worn some of the top designers in the world, she’s always had a knack for design. It started with DIY designs for her Barbie and progressed to creating wardrobes with watercolors and typing paper made for paper dolls made of manila files. Four years ago she first designed the rice bag hat for herself.

“I got compliments every time I wore it. Multiple sales clerks at the Neiman Marcus in Beverly Hills would stop me, security guards at Costco stopped me, then I was at one of the Oscar swag suites this year and even though I was not a vendor I had several offers to buy the hat,” says Nozizwe.

What sealed the deal for Nozizwe to start sharing the hat was a recent visit to a shopping mall in San Diego with her family.

“We were in the middle of an intense conversation when someone interrupted us to ask about buying the hat. My brother, Lowell, who is a man of few words, then turned to me and said you need to sell that hat,” says Nozizwe, “So thanks bro.”

The Malawian-born designer says it’s common for Africans to recycle as a matter of saving money as well as saving the earth.

“For as long as I can remember my mother, Dr. Alice Princess Msumba Siwundhla, has recycled. She uses her empty cottage cheese containers as her Tupperware. The note paper besides her telephone is all recycled. For years she’s taken my old dresses and turned them into pillows-and not always with my permission,” Nozizwe says with a smile.

Assignments have taken Nozizwe around the world, giving her an international view of what’s stylish.

“I’ve seen women walking in the fields in Africa who looked just as regal and put together, if not more so, than models I watched strut down the runway in Paris at the collections. Style is not defined by how much you spend. And wearing something recycled just makes you smart and chic.”

Nozizwe is also an Emmy award-winning broadcaster, a college speaker and the author of Starring in Your Own Life ( ISBN: 0743218116 ) published by Simon and Schuster.

Buy the hat at

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