The Sustainable Benefits of Upcycling Clothing

Posted by Jenny Fong on

Today we're constantly bombarded with new fashion trends. It can be easy to forget about the clothing we already have in our closets. We're so quick to get rid of clothes that we no longer wear, without giving them a second thought. But what if I told you that there was a way to breathe new life into those old clothes, and in doing so, help the environment? Read on to learn about how upcycling and sustainability go hand in hand in fighting climate change.

The Sustainable Benefits of Upcycling Clothing

Upcycling is one of the most sustainable ways to keep your wardrobe fresh, and in this blog post, I'm going to tell you all about it.

Upcycled jacket showing before and after

How Does Upcycling Help The Environment?

Upcycling is the process of taking an old or unwanted item and transforming it into something new and beautiful. Unlike recycling, which involves breaking down the original item and using its materials to create something else, upcycling retains the original item's form. This means that upcycled clothing is made from existing garments, rather than new fabric, conserving raw materials. We are repurposing clothes and in that way, embuing them with new stories. And there are so many other hidden benefits of upcycling clothes.

Why Upcycle?

Everyone knows the fashion industry is very wasteful. To combat this, upcycling your clothes is a number one way to be more sustainable. By giving your clothes a second life, you're keeping them out of landfill. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average person throws away about 70 pounds of clothing per year. The EPA's a great place to do research to find upcycling facts.

Environmental Benefits of Upcycling Clothes

Upcycling reduces textile waste and conserves raw materials such as organic cotton. It also reduces the amount of water and energy needed to produce new clothing, and in the end, saves natural resources, reducing greenhouse gas emissions. It takes about 700 gallons of water to make just one pair of jeans! You're saving all that water when you upcycle an old pair of jeans instead of buying a new pair. Learn more upcycling facts at the Ellen MacArthur Foundation site. 

Sustainable Fashion

In addition to being more sustainable, upcycling is also cheaper than buying new clothes. If you're on a tight budget but still want to keep your wardrobe fresh, upcycling is definitely the way to go. You can transform an old piece of clothing into something completely new for a fraction of the price of buying something brand new, plus you're incorporating waste materials into a used garment. An upcycled dress can be even more beautiful with the right techniques. It's a win-win-win. 


Upcycling is also a great way to add your own personal touch to your wardrobe. When you buy new clothes off the rack, everyone has access to those same exact items. But when you upcycle, you can add your own unique spin to a garment, making it one-of-a-kind. If you're someone who enjoys expressing your personality through your clothing, upcycling is definitely for you. 

How to Upcycle Clothing

Now that you know all about the benefits of upcycling, you might be wondering how exactly one goes about doing it. Luckily, there are tons of resources available online that can show you how to get started. Currently I'm interested in upcycled dresses. 

Where do you find upcycled materials?

I look at my scrap bags, any garment you want to donate, or do a clothing and scrap swap with your friends. The best scenario is to avoid using new materials.

Upcyling is a great way to be more sustainable and save money while still keeping your wardrobe fresh. There are tons of tutorials available online that can show you how easy it is to get started, just google "upcycling clothes for beginners". So what are you waiting for? Give upcyling a try today!

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