9 Recycled And Upcycled Clothing Brands You Shouldn’t Pass In 2019
So, what is upcycling and what does it have to do with clothes? To put it simply, Upcycling is a form of recycling. Upcycled clothing is a great way to spruce up old worn out or damaged materials into brand spanking new pieces. Like ethical and sustainable fashion, it has a few names, such as: repurposed clothing, reused clothing and recycled clothing.
The main difference between upcycling and recycling is that with upcycled clothes, waste is looked at creatively and transformed into something new. Whereas with recycling, the material needs to be broken down first before it can be used. For recycled and upcycled clothes see here.
Other than getting a one of a kind piece for you, there are other enormous environmental benefits to upcycling clothing. Because upcycled clothing uses significantly less raw materials, it massively reduces the harmful impacts of fashion production. Such as less water usage, less chemicals and less carbon emissions. Also, as the clothing would have been discarded, it saves tonnes worth of clothing ending up in the landfill. That’s what I call Planet Friendly!
Thankfully there are many upcycling clothing brands paving the fashion revolution forward. And 2019 will see more of this!
In this blog I will introduce you to 9 of my favourite gems in the upcycling and recycling fashion space, offering a mix of style, affordability and function.
Top 9 Recycled and Upcycled Clothing Brands
1. Beyond Retro
Beyond Retro are a Vintage retailer. Their sources search through 1,000s of vintage pieces to find those that are timeless and ideal for us. But only 1 out of 1,000 pieces make it to the shop floor. Beyond Retro creatively found a solution the other 999 pieces that didn’t make. They created their own upcycled Label made only from secondhand fabrics.
Taking the pieces that didn’t make the cut and sort them into huge piles of fabrics. They then redesign them based on future fashion trend predictions. Turning the past into the future. Another key feature is the price range, making it easier for conscious consumers to shop ethically.
This list would not be complete without one of the founding fathers of ethical fashion – Patagonia. Patagonia has been paving the way forward in the ethical fashion space since 1973. The outdoor wear brand started using recycled plastic bottles to make their garments back in 1993! That’s what I call pushing the boundaries.
Patagonia uses this recycled plastic to create their fleeces, shorts, and jackets in their Re\\\collection. They also have a really cool recycling scheme. If you own one of their clothes, and it can’t be repaired, you can hand it into one of their shops to be recycled and reused. Saving tonnes of clothing from ending up in the landfill and making the fabrics lifetime last much longer. Keep doing what you’re doing Patagonia!
3. Lyme Terrace
London based brand Lyme Terrace take plastic bottles and recycle them into strong pieces. They then combine that with Organic cotton to create some of their jumpers. For each jumper, 18 bottles have been saved from ending up in landfill! That really does add up. And it doesn’t stop there either. They use the surplus material from the production of their jumpers to make the short sleeve version. That’s what I call upcycling in action.
4. Good Krama
There are loads of factories in Cambodia, leaving heaps of deadstock fabrics. Good Krama goes around buying up this old, leftover fabrics from the local warehouses and reuse these upcycled materials to create timeless pieces. They literally go around cleaning up the place. And create something awesome whilst doing it! Now that’s what I call glamorous. With these upcycled materials, they try and place it everywhere. From the packaging to the tags to shipping materials. No stone is left unturned with Good Krama. They really do deserve their place on this list.
RubyMoon makes some of the most beautiful activewear pieces. Their gym and swimwear are created from used fishing nets and plastic bottles taken from the ocean. By turning polluting waste into their beautiful garments, they have reduced their carbon footprint by 42%! They are also dedicated to a circular economy. So they re-claim swimwear and other stretch fabrics to re-use in their upcycled clothing line. RubyMoon also has its own take-back scheme. So, if you have any used swimwear pieces, you can send them in and receive a discount on your next purchase. Much better than just throwing them away!
Zero Waste Daniel is one of the most interesting brands I’ve come across. Founded by the New York design Daniel Silverstein. every single piece is made from 100% scrap material. Because of this it has a very distinctive patchwork design. Yet Daniel makes his pieces look so sleek. He creates both your basics and one of a kind pieces. Check them out, they really are a marvelous sustainable fashion brand.
Re/Done are a vintage brand which focuses mainly on denim. They take the vintage denim apart at the seams and repurpose them into new jeans. Updating their fit to match a modern fit whilst keeping its character. All their jeans are made in Downtown Los Angeles using water conserving methods and they make sure to not use harsh chemicals.
Re/Done also make sure to keep the original stitching where possible. This preserves the years of history and stories stored in the pockets, faded colouring and torn knees. Each piece is limited in number as they are handpicked and hand cut. Giving you a distinctly one of a kind pair of jeans with a new life.
Ecoalf started in 2009 with a view of paving the way for a new generation of fabrics – recycled fabrics. Ecoalf have started many projects to clean up the Oceans from plastic. The number of plastics polluting the oceans is breathtaking, and they’re in a really poor state. So it’s great to see a fashion brand tackling this head on. They actively collect junk from the ocean and recycle them, turning them into timeless designs for us to wear. What a fantastically positive business!
Honourable Mentions – Brands That Upcycle
That concludes the top 9 picks for 2019. But there are some honourable mentions of other brands that are also doing great things when it comes to re-using materials in their clothing production. Definitely worth checking these out too.
Antiform are an English brand based in Bristol. They take reclaimed materials and mix that with traditional heritage crafts. The Brand started in 2007 by the founder Lizzie Harrison and use local expertise where possible from the materials to the workmanship. Antiform focuses mainly on knitwear and produce fresh designs that can be worn throughout the year.
Urban Renewal by urban outfitters
Like some of the other big name high street brands, Urban Outfitters doesn’t have a good track record for their production practices. That’s why it is interesting to find that they have introduced their very own upcycled range.
Using their team of resources they find surplus materials or deadstock – products that companies make but aren’t able to sell. The fate of deadstock and surplus materials normally ends up in landfills, but the team at Urban Renewals revamp them. Because of that, each piece is created in very limited numbers, so if you’re looking for that original feel at a price that won’t break the bank, check out the Urban Renewal range by Urban Outfitters. P.S avoid their normal line…
Another big brand catching on to the upcycling scene is ASOS. ASOS has been making moves making their clothes more ethical as seen by their ASOS Eco Edit range. But they have taken it a step further with their ASOS Reclaimed line. The sourcing team their scours the globe to find authentic vintage clothing and rework and update them into modern designs for the 21st century. One of the great things about this line is that is actually affordable for both men and women.
Last, on the list, Insecta Shoes, are a fabulous shoe brand made in Brazil. They take old vintage fabrics and recycled plastic bottles and repurpose them into spectacular shoes. From shoes to boots to sandals and slippers. If you’re looking to protect your toes from the elements, they probably have a style for you.
Insecta use used the fabrics that they have salvaged and used the remarkable prints to create stand out pieces. The rubber soles are made from shredded rubber from excess taken from the shoe industry. Even the insoles are made from 100% recycled plastics and fabrics made from their own production process. Wow. Did I mention that they were vegan too?
There are massive benefits to upcycling and recycling clothes. Because far less raw materials are needed, limiting environmental damages. From saving water use, chemical use and reducing carbon emissions: upcycling is one of the most sustainable ways to produce clothing.
The biggest benefit of all is that conscious consumers and ethical shoppers know that together they have assisted in helping out our planet and end up with amazing individual pieces to suit their needs. Everybody wins. Humans, Animals and the Planet – And if you go with some of the more affordable options, you’re bank balance too.
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