Picture this. Your favourite dress has just split right along the middle seam and it’s totally irreparable. Bin-fodder right? Maybe not. Before tossing it in the bin, take a second look to see if it could have a longer life by upcycling into something new.
What Exactly is Upcycling?
Upcycling is when you create something new from something that would have been thrown away. Take your favourite dress for instance. Imagine slicing it in half and creating a new top and skirt set. Congratulations! You just upcycled!
You may think that upcycling could involve turning toilet rolls into some out-there artwork, but really it can be as simple as breathing life into an unused object. Pot plant in your old boots anyone?
Upcycling is On-Trend
Upcycling has become fashionable! It’s a way to express individuality and get creative on a budget. More than that, it’s a way of cutting down on waste and helping protect the planet.
It’s popular with brands and individuals alike. Searches for sustainability related keywords have increased 37% since the beginning of last year! In fact, in the last 3 months alone, the number of people looking for “upcycled fashion” grew 42%!
Luxury brands like Marni (patchworked outerwear created from existing garments), Coach (reworked 1970s bags) and Balenciaga (a shaggy coat made from shoelaces) have reached back into their inventories and sliced up their old stock.
Be careful when shopping! Upcycling is currently so popular that fast fashion labels have jumped on the bandwagon, creating styles that look upcycled but have zero sustainability credentials.
Brands that are Upcycling
Love the concept and want to support labels that are upcycling? There’s a growing list of Australian labels that are turning their production towards reducing waste by upcyling and collaborating with other labels that are doing the same.
Nobody Denim has collaborated with HoMie to create upcycled clothing from old jackets and jeans. They’re meshing them together to create new look patchwork and tie-dye jeans.
HoMie isn’t one to shy away from upcycling. Taking unusable Champion Sportswear and merging with their own has made for unique one-off looks.
Deadly Denim specialises in upcycled denim jackets that showcase Indigenous artists and their designs. They’ll also sew your choice of fabric onto your own jacket.
Upcycling is sexy with Studio Oui. Think reworked thrifted suits, usually men’s into women’s, that are more street style than office wear.
These guys make one-off, patchwork pieces entirely from upcycled fabrics. If you’re looking for unique pieces that you won’t see anywhere else, Spunky Brusier have got you covered.
Inspired by quirky vintage knits, Alice Nightingale upcycles materials including old curtains into the latest on-trend wear. Look out for the sleeping bag turned puffer jacket!
Creatively recycling fashion waste and off cuts into on-trend accessories, look out for their incredibly cool tie-dyed pieces. While you’re checking them out, make sure you take a look at their new Upcycle Your Wardrobe service.
Spliced up vintage style garments created from deconstructed garments and remnant fabrics, everything at Coy Street Clothing is hand-made. Quirky, colourful and original!
Ready to Start? Go For it!
Upcycling is easy once you know what you want to achieve. You can start off small and simply paint some designs onto your denim. Or you could go all out and create an entirely new garment from some unwearable ones. Whether you choose to support an upcycling business or decide to DIY, go for it. You know you’ll be on-trend.