Didn’t know upcycled fashion existed, you’re about to get a wake-up call. Face it, we all love to shop new clothes. But rarely do we think about where our new clothes, shoes, and accessories come from or how they are made. Not many of us contemplate How Fast Fashion Affects The World before we decide to buy those skinny jeans to match that blouse we just bought at Macy’s. After reading this blog, my goal is for each and every reader to shop conscientiously and before you swipe, think upcycled fashion.
Without Upcycled Fashion, The Fashion Industry Might Just Kill You
We all know that the cars we drive, the fertilizers we use, and the energy we use to keep our homes cool during the summer can harm our environment. But I’m sure you weren’t aware that our shopping habits have the same impact! The clothing industry is the second largest polluter in the world, right after oil (insert shocked emoji here).
The fashion industry involves multiple supply chains of production, raw material, textile manufacture, clothing construction, shipping, use and then the disposal of the clothing. The carbon footprint of the fashion industry is massive. And I’m sure we all remember the Bangladesh Garment Factory Disaster in 2013, that left over 1000 people dead. By being aware, we can take a stand to upcycle our clothing and not support Brand Names that source their apparel from high-risk garment factories.
When We Utilize Upcycled Fashion, We Are Keeping Our Air Clean
While most of the clothing from our favorite stores includes cotton, it can take over 5,000 gallons of water to manufacture a pair of jeans and a t-shirt. The pesticides used on the cotton farms, the toxic dyes used and the waste created can all result in negatively impacting our environment. And can stay on your clothes and your children’s clothes for up to 5 washes.
Think about how hard it is for you to keep up with the newest trends. When we finally hop onto the current trend, it’s time for a new one. This is called fast fashion. In order for the clothing to reach the retail store from across the globe, loads of clothing travels in containers fueled by dirty fossil fuels. Let’s look at the numbers. Over 20 billion new clothing items are brought to Americans per year and only 2% of those clothes are being domestically manufactured.
Because of Upcycled Fashion, We Have More Money
It’s not uncommon for shoppers to wear an item once or twice before throwing it away for next week’s style. Often due to the poor quality of the clothes causing them to fall apart after several washes. Unfortunately, we’ve all had this happen to us. From the 2015 numbers, The U.S. apparel industry today is a $12 billion business and the average American family spends $1,700 on clothes annually, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. When we add upcycled clothing to our wardrobe, we can get more variety, better quality and throw away less. The biggest reward is that we will spend less. Isn’t that what we all want, to spend less? Well, when we upcycle our clothes, we can save more and travel or spend time with our family. Did you ever think that upcycled fashion could give you more time with your family?
With Upcycled Fashion, We Are More Creative
There are many ways to repurpose every article of clothing in our closet to keep up with the trends. Welcome to your new favorite term: “upcycle”. No, not recycle, UPCYCLE! This means that instead of recycling, you convert old or discarded materials into something useful and often beautiful. Take your drab t-shirts and turn it into a beautiful maxi dress! Hipcycle explained the difference between recycling as such:
“Plain and simple, upcycling makes a positive impact on the environment. When you upcycle clothes, you remove items from the global garbage stream. Upcycling instead of recycling is good too; recycling requires energy or water to break down materials. Upcycling only requires your own creativity and elbow grease.”
How do I start to upcycle fashion?” Take some time this weekend, grab a glass of wine, and go through your closet and your family’s closets. Use your creativity, or Pinterest, for some great ideas. There are a lot of DIY (Do It Yourself) Upcycle Fashion tutorials out there on YouTube as well. If you’re not so DIY savvy, check out your local thrift stores, like GoodWill, Plato’s Closet, consignment stores, or download the ThredUp and Letgo apps on your phone, Check out my favorite upcycled fashion projects I found on Pinterest!