Fashion trends change rapidly, and it’s sometimes hard to keep up. But with the world becoming increasingly more environmentally conscious, constantly switching up our wardrobes might not be the best way forward. Vintage clothing is a fashion right in and of itself, but it’s not the only way to sustainably upgrade your wardrobe when it’s feeling a bit lame. Another great way to stay ‘green’ but fashionable, is by upcycling your current clothing.
The concept of upcycling is similar to that of recycling, only it has an element of ‘upgrading’ and not just ‘repurposing’ an item. While recycling would break down the materials for use as something else entirely, upcycling is better for the environment as it doesn’t require any chemical or mechanical processes that are damaging to the environment. It reuses the same fabric and turns it into something else. The idea stems from taking old, damaged, or worn-out clothing, and transforming them into something brand new. This isn’t just limited to tired clothes, you can also upcycle clothes that you’re simply tired of wearing. This means that rather than ending up in a landfill, older clothes stay in circulation longer, thus promoting the idea of ‘circular fashion’.
Old jeans can be shortened to make shorts, or adjusted and opened to make a mini skirt. Oversized t-shirts can be cropped too, and may even look a bit trendier now. You can give some life by embroidering your jeans or knitwear or get creative with some fabric paints. T-shirts can make great kitchen towels by simply cutting them into squares, or can even be used to make facemasks. Upcycling is a great project for you to do at home, but not everyone has nimble fingers. Fear not, you can still do your bit for sustainable fashion. Many brands have started incorporating this concept into their production process. A lot of upcoming designers are now embracing the use of existing fabrics, cutoffs, and deadstock (leftover stock of a product), and giving them a second chance at life.