Since starting my sustainable and upcycled fashion business, I have realised that the majority of people don’t even know what upcycling is. I can now recognise the blank look on people’s faces, or the pause in conversation as they try to process what I have said. So I thought it was high time I wrote an article explaining what on Earth I am doing!

What is upcycling?!

Upcycling in fashion can have a few different interpretations, but I prefer to define it as the process of using preloved clothing and transforming it into something new. This process creates value in the garment again, improves its longevity and prevents it from ending up as textile waste in landfill.

An upcycled garment can be created in many different ways. Sometimes the process is complex, where the entire garment is taken apart, the fabric cut, redesigned and sewn into an entirely new piece of clothing. On the other hand, upcycling clothing can be relatively simple. Maybe there are holes, missing buttons or the garment doesn’t fit the way you like so you take up the hem or add some panels.

Whatever you do to add value and prolong the life of the garment is upcycling. It is irrelevant how much you change the garment, as long as it is an improvement on its previous state! Even if you possess very few sewing skills, you can upcycle your clothing in some way… or pay someone else to do it!

Upcycled fashion is sustainable fashion!

Upcycled fashion is another form of sustainability in the garment¬†industry. With the rise of fast fashion (the cheap clothing people buy and then don’t hesitate to dispose of because “it was only five bucks!”), we have seen a rise in the amount of clothing ending up in landfill. Even donating it to op-shops is not the best solution, as most of it is shipped off to developing nations, causing a whole new set of problems (which you can read about here).

black and red floral pencil skirt front
An example of upcycling: a skirt I created from a pair of pants

Upcycled or second hand clothing is by far the most sustainable fashion model that exists. We already have an abundance of perfectly good fabrics and clothing, so it makes no sense to always be buying brand new clothing!

You can check out my upcycled fashion range here!


Are you new to the concept of upcycling, or have you been doing it for years? Either way, I’d love to hear from you. Send me a message below!

Upcycled fashion explained

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