Fashion for the Planet : Upcycling

Upcycling is a new movement on the rise in fashion design where designers acquire previously used pieces or fabrics and update them to fit styles of today. Many designers see upcycling as a way to help the environment while catering to the popular demand for vintage style clothing and accessories. Many businesses have been started based on this design trend. Sites like and are examples of these. also features a number of sites that host individuals selling their own upcycled pieces.

Many people have taken to upcycling clothing because of its affordability.

Used fabrics, old items, thrifted items, can all be turned into new trendy additions to ones wardrobe, with a little DIY and an even lesser amount of cash. This is the beauty of upcycling in the more individual sense.

Others love the trend for environmental reasons, seeing upcycling as a great way to preserve our planet’s resources

Designer and creator of Vancouver’s Eco Fashion Week, Myriam Laroche, shares her sentiment for more environmentally conscious trends in fashion.

“Responsible fashion is about the treatment of people and the earth during the entire garment-making process,” said Laroche.

‘Responsible fashion’ seems to be very necessary since according to the Fair Companies blog, more than 20 million textiles are thrown away in the U.S. each year.

“It’s a shame [upcycled clothing] styles haven’t gotten even more attention given the fact that secondhand clothing is one of the greenest fabrics,” said blogger Kirsten Dirksten of Fair Companies, a site that advocates upcycling, “when you use old clothing as a source material, there is no waste involved in manufacture. Instead you are recovering what otherwise might end up in landfills.”

Though upcycling may seem like a small, possibly insignificant act toward environmental health, as it gains popularity, it actually may make more of an impact than expected. According to Worn Again, a blog dedicated to upcycling in the UK, every ton of discarded textiles reused saves 20 tons of C02 from entering the atmosphere.  With statistics like these, as well as more and more designers becoming earth concious in their work, it is highly possible that the continuance of the upcycling trend can significantly decrease waste and its harsh environmental effects.

More information on upcycling is available at

or .