Fashion is usually associated with waste. Fast fashion brands make garments that last for a season which later end up thrown away, fashionistas buy and accumulate more clothes than they could ever wear in their lives. But some fashion brands out there are aware of this situation and are doing their best to help the environment while creating beautiful, fashionable pieces from old clothing.
While recycling clothes means breaking down old fabrics and then reusing them, upcycling is a process that uses whole pieces of existing garments in order to create new ones. Taking old, worn-out materials, it is possible to create brand new fashionable pieces without harming the environment as much as new clothes made from scratch. Some of the benefits of wearing upcycled pieces include the use of fewer raw materials, less water usage, fewer chemicals, and fewer carbon emissions.
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According to the UN, the fashion industry is responsible for a higher carbon emission than aerial and marine transport combined, which is why some brands have decided to take action. A few brands that embrace the concept of upcycling are British slow fashion brand Fanfare, Reformation, Urban Outfitters with the Urban Renewal line, ASOS with the Reclaimed Vintage line, and The R Collective. Besides, a pioneer of ethical fashion brands is Patagonia – this outdoor wear brand started using recycled plastic bottles to make their clothes back in 1993.