Have you ever wondered what happens to your clothes after you donate them? Most of us donate our clothes with the intention of helping those in need, but sometimes our clothes end up in a landfill. As we know, the textile industry is a very wasteful one. In fact, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average person generates about 82 pounds of textile waste each year.
photo: New life is given to an old vintage jacket.
What is Upcycled Clothing?
Thankfully, there's a sustainable fashion movement that's turning old clothes into new ones—upcycled clothing. Upcycling is the process of repurposing waste materials or products into something that is of better quality or has a higher environmental value than the original item.
In this way, the textile industry hit on natural resources is lessened, garment by garment as we're not using new materials to create our upcycled clothes.
How is Upcycled Clothing Made?
So, how do we go about doing this? By using creative design techniques, upcyclers are able to give new life to old clothes. Here at Modern Shibori, we look for cast off vintage workwear jackets. We like to deconstruct the piece, over dye it with natural dyes, patchwork, embroider, and use other embellishments to give an old piece of clothing a fresh look. We try not to use raw materials, instead we're using recycled materials, scraps from our old pieces.
Not only is upcycling a great way to give old garments new life and reduce waste material, but it's also a way to express your personal style. When you wear upcycled clothing, you can be sure that no one else will be wearing the same thing as you. Upcycled clothing is truly one-of-a-kind.
The Benefits of Upcycled Clothing
There are many benefits to upcycled clothing beyond its environmental friendliness. For starters, upcycled clothing is often better quality than fast fashion items. That's because most designers take the time to carefully select high-quality materials and construct their garments with care and attention to detail. When you buy upcycled clothing, you can be sure that you're getting a garment that was made with love—and that will last long enough for you to fall in love with it too.
Photo: Upcycled lab coat with natural dyed tote bag scraps.
The way we reuse materials in our manufacturing process as we are upcycling clothes is such a great creative outlet and a fun challenge. We see a story we want to tease out of each piece. That story inspires us to pick the right fabric leftover and create a new original story and unique pieces. You can see the love and care we put into our process as we upcycle clothes.
Support Local Businesses and Independent Designers
Lastly, by wearing upcycled clothing, you can feel good knowing that you're supporting local businesses and independent designers. When you purchase upcycled clothing from a small business or independent designer, you're directly supporting their livelihoods—and helping to keep the sustainable fashion movement alive and well.
If you're looking for a sustainable fashion option that's environmentally friendly and stylish, look no further than upcycled clothing. Upcycled clothing is made from existing materials that would otherwise be discarded, so it's a great way to reduce textile waste. Plus, we take the time to carefully select high-quality materials and construct our garments with care and attention to detail—so when you buy upcycled clothing, you're getting a garment that was made with love and that will last long enough for you to fall in love with it too. So why not give upcycling a try? Your wardrobe—and the planet—will thank you for it!