In a world still churning out trendy throw-away fashion pieces at breakneck speed, the idea of up cycled or re-fashioned clothes can be an anomaly. But it is a continuously growing trend and is one of the most sustainable things you can do. As up cycling makes use of already existing pieces, it often uses few resources in its creation and actually keeps ‘unwanted’ items out of the waste stream.
There are more textiles produced in the world today than can be used — many of the large clothing chains can produce as many as a half a billion garments a year. And what happens to those clothes after they have fulfilled their ‘useful’ lives?
Millions of tons of textiles get sent to the landfill every year and that figure is growing. If it’s not thrown out as rubbish, it’s donated to charity shops, which might not be as beneficial to sustainability as you might think – as only 20-30% of donated clothing is actually re-sold…so where does it ultimately end up? The tip of course, it’s just delaying the inevitable. And the drastic increase in the volume of secondhand clothing has driven down its value in the past 15 years — meaning that charity shop stores are now filled with cheap fashion and junky basics, instead of vintage gems.
So upcycling is becoming a fashionable option…taking an item to make it better than the original. It’s certainly caught the imagination in terms of furniture (Annie Sloan is a genius..) so let’s look at what we can do with fashion, not that we’re suggesting dyeing all your clothes French Gray, but a bit of imagination here and a nip and a tuck there and there can turn last year’s look into this season’s style.