Right from the beginning, man used old fabrics to create something new. In the Middle Age skirt became sleeves or corsets, many sheets became shirt, fur stoles became cuffs and collars. In Japan is traditional to turn old and precious kimonos in gifts, as little kimonos for kids or in haori and hiyoku (japanese shirts and petticoats). Vintage and all the modern style originated from recycle.
As Ovidio said: nothing perishes, everything changes.
Some illustrations of Rene Gruau from the '50, '60,and '70 compare with spring-summer 2011 runways.