What is Upcycling?

Upcycling is a variety of processes by which “old” products are modified, readapted or repurposed in some way and become something new through that creative modification process. And as a result of this process, the lifespan of repurposed clothes becomes expanded into something new rather than thrown into landfill.  

In case you’re wondering what the difference is between upcycling and recycling. Recycling involves the destruction of waste such as paper, plastic, metal and glass in order to create something completely new, whereas upcycling takes ‘waste’ and creates something new from its current state.

Upcycling in Fashion

The production process of the textile industry is complex and uses huge amounts of energy, water, polluting chemicals, to name a few. It’s very polluting to the environment and the supply chain is renowned for exploitation and unethical practices.

Extending the life of clothes, recycling and upcycling are all important components of sustainable and ethical fashion. It has numerous environmental benefits such as less waste, lower pollution, water, and energy savings. 

Fashion upcycling is fast becoming a popular DIY creative process around the globe, and by adding technology such as LED lights, electronics and sensors adds a whole new element to your creativity and fashion design skills.

Why upcycling is important to the environment

Consumers are asking for more transparency and eco-friendliness from brands and businesses and more sustainable ethical fashion is on the hit list.

Upcycling clothes is one of the best ways to create something new that doesn’t harm the environment. It has many environmental benefits such as less waste, lower pollution, water, and energy savings. 

The fashion industry accounts for more than 8% of all greenhouse gas emissions globally each year. If the trend continues, that number will increase by 50% by 2030.

The amount of used textile waste created annually in the United States has doubled over the last 20 years. The average American throws away 70 pounds of clothing every year. 16.9 million tons of used textiles were discarded in 2018.

Take sustainable fashion action

Fast fashion is a major factor we are seeing of the increase in the negative environmental impact from the fashion industry. New clothes are produced quickly and cheaply every week.

The alternative to fast fashion is slow fashion. A growing movement encouraging consumers to buy less and take better care of the clothes we already own, through the reuse, repair, repurpose, recycle, and upcycle of them.

Slow fashion is the conscious and mindful approach to buying fashion.

What can you upcycle from your wardrobe?

To learn more about sustainable ethical fashion, visit  You Matter and Panaprium.