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20200908 Upcycling stock photo
Fashion brands are adopting upcycling, a way to transform offcuts of fabric into quality garments. Image: Rawpixel.com / Shutterstock via AFP Relaxnews.

Upcycling has been a buzzword in the fashion industry for several months now. This trend, also known as creative reuse, is greener and more ethical than secondhand clothing. Here is what you should know about a technique that may soon be making its impact on your wardrobe.

Just like history, fashion eternally repeats itself, but designers and top brands are continually on the lookout for sustainable solutions to reduce their collections’ impact on the planet.

Many ready-to-wear labels and store chains are developing this solution. Upcycling offers added value to garment waste and unused items and transforms them to high-quality pieces.

This technique goes beyond traditional recycling because it entails a virtuous circle that allows the fashion industry to generate less waste, to produce less and, therefore, to limit its impact on the environment.

From Marine Serre to Banana Moon

Several brands have already adopted upcycling, however, it generally applies to one part of their collections. In September 2019, Marine Serre’s “Marée Noire” (Oil Slick) collection comprised several upcycled pieces. To create the pieces, the French designer used leftover stocks of fabric and gave them a high-end second life.

Banana Moon also chose to transform its fabric offcuts into a swimwear collection for its Summer 2020 collection, while Gant recently presented a capsule collection of shirts upcycled from fabric leftovers from previous collections.

Upcycling also encompasses the use of vintage garments, which are either taken apart and re-stitched together in new ways —such as LA brand Re/Done does with jeans — or are taken as whole pieces and reworked into more contemporary designs featuring customization, along the lines of ASOS Reclaimed Vintage or reworked by the wearers themselves.

Upcycling is not just a buzzword to know in the realm of fashion right now, it also represents the future of the industry. CC


Upcycling sustain fashion industry through face mask donation efforts 

Creative ways to upcycle your tin cans 

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