Upcycled Clothing Brands To Know
Upcycled clothing is the method of taking old, worn out or damaged materials and transforming them into brand new pieces. Also referred to as repurposed clothing, reused clothing and recycled clothing, upcyled garments are becoming increasingly popular in the contemporary fashion industry.
The key difference between upcycling and recycling is that whereas upcycled clothes use whole pieces of existing garments to create something new, with recycling, materials must be broken down before they can be reused.
There are many environmental benefits to wearing upcycled pieces. Upcycled clothing uses significantly fewer raw materials, reducing the harmful impacts of fashion production.
Less water usage, fewer chemicals carbon emissions and avoiding contributing to landfill, upcycled clothing exists in stark contrast to the likes of one-season pieces from fast fashion brands.
Top Recycled and Upcycled Clothing Brands
Beyond Retro is a Vintage retailer. Its 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. It 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!
Fanfare is a British fashion brand pioneering sustainability in the industry, led by founder & designer Esther Knight. Slow fashion movement is in this brand DNA. In contrast to fast-fashion houses, the brand launches one collection throughout the year. Besides this, the brand promotes prolonging the life of used clothes by redesigning them into new pieces.
Fanfare sources distinctive vintage pieces – mainly denim and outerwear and upcycles them into lavish designs. Using embroidery and embellishment from offcuts and production waste, the design team creates one-of-a-kind pieces.
The /id/ brand was born from facing a conflict between sustainable lifestyle values & an inability to express yourself through plain yet ethical clothes. The power mother-daughter duo, Katevan and Anna, have teamed up and created a sustainable fashion brand which enables women to express themselves through bold & unique statement pieces. Each piece of the brand is made of the highest quality deadstock fabrics (surplus fabrics that were not sold by the textile mills and left in storage) sourced from all across Europe. /id/ is focused on creating unique pieces with small-batch production that are handcrafted by a small team of creative women in Tbilisi.
RubyMoon makes some of the most beautiful activewear pieces. Its gym and sustainable 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
There are also plenty of other brands doing great things when it comes to re-using materials in their clothing production.
Antiform is 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.
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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