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Upcycled clothing: art on clothes

Upcycled clothing demand is increasing and that is very good news. This type of clothes are a great way to reduce the environmental fashion impact. In this post we will talk deeply about it and discover together some ethical brands that upcycle clothes.

What means upcycled clothing?

Upcycling clothing is the practice of creating new pieces from old or damaged materials giving a new life and extending the time they are being used. It is a great activity to do it at home if you know how to cut and sew textiles and it is also an opportunity to expand your creativity. But in case you don’t know how to do it, there are fashion entrepreneurs and even brands that do beautiful work upcycling clothes. There’s nothing better than supporting responsible and conscious fashion.

Differences between upclycled and recycled clothing

The main difference between upcycled clothing and recycled clothing is that to upcycle clothes you use the whole pieces of existing garments to create new ones. In the opposite, to recycle you need to brake down the materials before they can be reused. And it is important to know that upcycling is more efficient than recycling because it consumes less resource.

Benefits of wearing upcycled clothing

The fashion industry is the second largest polluter in the world after the oil industry. And as long as the costumer has access to cheap clothes, the planet suffers the cost. So it is very important to know new practices and ways of consuming fashion as long as they are sustainable like upcycled clothing. Let’s see some numbers for a better understanding:

  • We are buying more clothes than ever. Now we consume about 80 billion new garments every year. In particular, this is a 400% more than the amount it was consumed 20 years ago. And the average lifetime of a garment today is of 3 years.
  • Every single second the equivalent of one garbage truck of textils is burning or throwing to a landfill. Most of the garments are made of synthetic fibers (like polyester) that are plastic fibers. Furthermore they’re non-biodegradable and can take up to 200 years to decompose.
  • What if I tell you that it requires 10,000 litres of water to manufacture a single pair of jeans? Or that it takes 20,000 liters of water to produce just 1kg of cotton? The fashion industry is responsible for 20% of the total waste of water globally. This is the equivalent of the amount of water that 5 million people need to survive.
  • The apparel industry emits 10% of the global carbon emissions. That’s more emissions than international flights and maritime shipping combined. And this is due the energy used during its production, manufacturing and transportation of all the million pieces each year.

So, when you use upcycled clothing you are:

  • Extending the garments time of being used.
  • Avoiding that clothes end in landfills.
  • Avoiding the whole production process of a new garment.
  • Saving money because it is cheaper than new clothes.
  • Defining your personal style.

Where can I buy upcycled clothing?

Where to buy upcycling clothing depends on where you live. Something very easy and common to do is to search on google “Upcycled clothing” + where you live or even on Instagram. That is the better way to find and discover what you are looking for. But here I will share with you some brands and entrepreneurs I found online and they are worth to be shared.

Fanfare Label – UK

Fanfare is a circular clothing brand from UK that offers sustainable fashion: ethically made, recycled, upcycled, sustainable eco dyed, organic cotton material, and more. They ship worldwide and offer something very interesting. You can give them your old pair of jeans and for a less amount of money, they repair and upcycle them following your preferences (pattern, writing, any paint). This is also cool when you have many jeans and you get bored of the basics so you can redesign them with the Fanfare design team and give your jean another opportunity and extend its life.

Anekdote – Germany

Anekdote is an upcycle brand. They produce minimalist and versatile lingerie and swimwear that don’t cost the earth because they source their superb materials from production leftovers, off-cuts, deadstock and vintage trimmings turning them in new pieces ready to be wear. In addition, they are currently using certified recycled nylons made in Italy and saving resources (water and carbon emissions). They ship worldwide and their products are limited editions and can hardly be reproduced.

Christy Dawn – US

Christy Dawn is very clear about sustainability. The clothing brand uses the excess fabric left behind by other fashion companies and sews a limited number of pieces for each look. The talented dressmakers use techniques that take more time but produce higher quality product. And it’s all about timeless style: they design pieces with classic silhouettes that serve as staples for decades to come.


I think that everyone should wear whatever they want. But it is worthy to try on new sustainable things and ways of wearing clothes. There’s a whole world out there full of ethical brands that offer quality clothes and take care of the planet and their workers and that is pure gold.

Did you know about upcycled clothing? Tell me in comments if you have any question!

If you liked this post then I recommend you to read Fashion sharing: What you need to know.

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