What is upcycling?
Upcycling is the practice of taking old, broken, or otherwise useless items and turning them into something of value. It could be something of artistic value or functional value. The practice of upcycling is a great way to repurpose items and create something new, or to rehabilitate a particular item.
Why is upcycling important?
Upcycling is important because it means less waste. When we reuse items in new, creative ways, we don’t have to buy as many new things. We also make sure we are getting the most use out of something before we dispose of it, which reduces the need for more items.
Why upcycle clothes?
It is no secret that the fast fashion industry is a major polluter. Aside from the environmental impact, the fast fashion industry relies on cheap labor and cheap materials to churn out items as quickly and as cost-effectively as possible. Cost-effective, that is, for the company and not the laborers and garment workers who produce the materials or make the garments. While there are alternatives to fast fashion, like buying second-hand or from sustainable brands, what do you do with clothes that are unwearable or are too far past their prime?
What are some ways to upcycle clothes?
For clothes with stains or holes– embroider over the stains or holes or other spots that need fixing for an artistic touch. You can use fabric from one garment to patch another. For jeans, or garments with thicker material, you can paint over stains or discoloration.
For more ideas on how to upcycle old jeans check out this article from Levi’s Jeans, and this video describing ways to upcycle jeans.
For clothes that you simply can’t salvage– cut up old t-shirts or sweatshirts and make beeswax food wraps by ironing beeswax into the fabric. You can re purpose old clothes and savemoney on new food wraps. T-shirt rugs or tote bags are also popular options for t-shirts or other garments you have no use for anymore.
There is a wide variety of uses we can get out of garments we think are no longer wearable or usable. Upcycling is a great way to save money, save the environment, and learn a new skill. All that being said, we know that for some people putting time, energy, and money into projects like the ones listed above, is not feasible and that is ok. Do what you are able even if it is nothing at the moment. Hopefully, you can share some of these ideas with people who do have the resources to upcycle their clothes or remember them in the future when you are able to do them.
Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed here by Impakter.com columnists are their own, not those of Impakter.com. — Featured Photo: Upcycled jeans that have been turned into bags. Source: Bicanski on Pixino.