cassette tape walletsCassette Wallets by Marcella Foschi ($39, designboom.com)The first time I heard about "upcycling," it was in reference to a guy going to look for a used, antique diamond that he could turn into a pretty, eco-conscious engagement ring for his girlfriend. It's a really cool concept -- making something old new again in a special way. Apparently, diamonds aren't the only items being upcycled and re-worn these days, either. You can do it with tech gadgets, especially hilarious ones from the late '80s, early '90s. (CompuServe hard-disk, VHS tape, anyone?)

Artists are taking these relics and reworking them as, get this, accessories! So you can carry around your old cassette tapes as a wallet or put keys from a crappy old green-screen computer in your hair as a barrette. Ha, talk about geek chic!

Alright, there's only so much you can actually do with a keyboard barrette or mouse belt (yes, yes that exists also). But how about this: A vintage suitcase that actually sports old boom box speakers? And you can hook up your iPod or iPhone for a portable speaker system. Now, that's pretty damn cool. I definitely appreciate an upcycled gadget that touts both form and function!

Honestly, my first reaction to some of these was, "Eww, how completely hipster/annoying." But then, it occurred to me: You gotta hand it to the artist who came up with the circuit board sneakers (do they tie their own laces a la Back to the Future 2?!) or the mastermind behind the LEGO bowtie! They're making something funky out of an object that would otherwise be hanging out in Mom and Dad's attic collecting dust. These accessories may be geeky, but they're also totally green.

What's your favorite gadget from the '80s/early '90s? Would you ever wear it?


Image via marcella foschi via designboom.com