Often, people look at damaged clothes and their first initial response is to throw them away. However, this does not always have to be the case. There exists a method called upcycling clothes, which involves taking old, worn out, or damaged clothing materials and rather than disposing of them, transforming them into entirely new pieces. Upcycled garments have also been referred to as repurposed clothing, recycled clothing, or reused clothing, and all terms lead to the same innovative creations.
Learning how to upcycle your clothes allows you to introduce new fashion statements, as well as benefits the environment in the process. Upcycled clothing uses less raw materials, which ultimately cuts down on waste. In 2015, the fashion industry was responsible for 92 million tons of waste in landfills, which is a ridiculous amount. This has often been attributed to the term “fast-fashion”, which refers to inexpensive clothing getting massively produced, rapidly entering markets, and then quickly being disposed of as the items come out of style. The demand for clothing this produces is damaging to the environment, as it contributes largely to landfill waste productions. Fortunately, this waste can be greatly reduced with methods such as upcycling clothing. By using less raw materials, and discarding less waste to landfills, leads to cleaner air and reduction in water pollution as well as greenhouse gas emission. As a result, both fashion industries benefit by eliminating their need for new or raw materials, AND the environment flourishes with less damage being done to its climate and resources.
Not only are there environmental benefits to this fashion method, but it is actually very easy to do and can be accomplished simply in your own home! The following are some of the many ways YOU can get involved in upcycling your clothes.
- Bleaching the clothing. This can change the colours of the clothes and add new designs to the items. This will also cover up any dirt or spills that you may have previously had! To watch a DIY Bleach Jean Video, visit here.
- Transforming an oversized T-Shirt into a dress: This can be done by cutting up the shirt and sewing it back together or using hot glue or fabric glue to put it back as one. To watch a tutorial on how to make an oversized t-shirt into a fitted dress, visit here.
- Creating the “raw” crop – This can be created by shortening your T-shirt at the bottom simply with the use of scissors, or a sewing machine if accessible. Visit here.
Watch this tutorial to see how to best crop your T-shirt:
- Upcycling the Denim Jacket – This includes re-designing the front or back of the jean jacket using different fabric paint colours. You can paint on your favourite logos, shapes, or create funky designs, and let that innovation shine!
Watch this video to get a better idea of how to make a DIY out of a jean jacket.
Use your own creativity to revamp your own wardrobe in ways you didn’t know you could, all while saving money, helping the environment, and strutting in style!