Recycled and Upcycled Clothing Brands To Know in 2020
Upcycled clothing is the method of taking old, worn out or damaged materials and transforming them into brand new pieces. Also referred to as repurposed clothing, reused clothing and recycled clothing, upcyled garments are becoming increasingly popular in the contemporary fashion industry.
The key difference between upcycled clothing and recycled clothing is that whereas upcycled clothing brands use whole pieces of existing garments to create something new, with recycling, materials must be broken down before they can be reused.
There are many environmental benefits to wearing upcycled pieces. Upcycled clothing uses significantly fewer raw materials, reducing the harmful impacts of fashion production.
Less water usage, fewer chemicals and carbon emissions and avoiding contributing to landfill, upcycled clothing exists in stark contrast to the likes of one-season pieces from fast fashion brands.
Top recycled and upcycled clothing brands
Beyond Retro is a vintage retailer. Its buyers search through thousands of vintage pieces but only one out of a thousand pieces make it to the shop floor. The brand produced a creative solution for the other 999 pieces that don’t make the cut, launching an upcycled Label made only from secondhand fabrics.
Taking the pieces that didn’t make the cut and sorting them into huge piles of fabrics, the company then redesigns the pieces based on fashion forecasts, upcycling them for seasons to come. Another key feature is the affordable price point, which makes it easier for conscious consumers to shop ethically.
This list would not be complete without one of the founding fathers of ethical fashion – Patagonia. Patagonia has been paving the way forward in the ethical fashion space since 1973. The outdoor wear brand started using recycled plastic bottles to make their garments back in 1993.
Patagonia uses this recycled plastic to create fleeces, shorts, and jackets in their Re\\\collection. The brand also operates its own recycling scheme – if you own an item of Patagonia clothing that can’t be repaired, you can return it to one of their shops to be recycled and reused. This style of recycled clothing saving tonnes of textiles from landfill and makes the fabric’s average lifetime much longer.
Fanfare is a British fashion brand pioneering sustainability in the industry, led by Founder and designer Esther Knight. Slow fashion movement is in this brand DNA. In contrast to fast-fashion houses, the brand launches one collection throughout the year. Besides this, the brand promotes prolonging the life of used clothes by redesigning them into new pieces.
Fanfare sources distinctive vintage pieces – mainly denim and outerwear and upcycles them into lavish designs. Using embroidery and embellishment from offcuts and production waste, the design team creates one-of-a-kind pieces.
The /id/ brand was born from facing a conflict between sustainable lifestyle values & an inability to express yourself through plain yet ethical clothes. The power mother-daughter duo, Katevan and Anna, have teamed up and created a sustainable fashion brand which enables women to express themselves through bold and unique statement pieces.
Each piece of the brand is made of the highest quality deadstock fabrics (surplus fabrics that were not sold by the textile mills and left in storage) sourced from all across Europe. /id/ is focused on creating unique pieces with small-batch production that are handcrafted by a small team of creative women in Tbilisi.
RubyMoon makes some of the most beautiful activewear pieces. Its gym and sustainable swimwear are created from used fishing nets and plastic bottles taken from the ocean. By turning polluting waste into their beautiful garments, they have reduced their carbon footprint by 42%.
The brand is dedicated to a circular economy. It re-claims swimwear and other stretch fabrics to re-use in their upcycled clothing line. RubyMoon also has its own take-back scheme. So, if you have any used swimwear pieces, send them in to receive a discount on your next purchase.
Founded by the New York designer Daniel Silverstein Zero Waste Daniel crafts clothing from 100% scrap material. With distinctive patchwork finishes, Daniel creates both basics and one-of-a-kind pieces.
Re/Done is a vintage brand which focuses mainly on denim. It takes vintage denim apart at the seams and repurposes it into new jeans. Every pair is made in Downtown Los Angeles using water-conserving methods without the use of harsh chemicals.
Re/Done also make sure to keep the original stitching in place where possible. This preserves the years of history and stories stored in every pair of jeans. Each piece is limited in number as they are handpicked and hand cut, giving you a distinctly one of a kind pair of jeans with a new life.
Ecoalf started in 2009 with a view of paving the way for a new generation of fabrics – recycled fabrics. Ecoalf have started many projects to clean up the Oceans from plastic. The number of plastics polluting the oceans is breathtaking, and they’re in a really poor state. So it’s great to see a fashion brand tackling this head on. They actively collect junk from the ocean and recycle them, turning them into timeless designs for us to wear. W
There are also plenty of other brands doing great things when it comes to re-using materials in their clothing production.
Antiform is an English brand based in Bristol. The brand takes reclaimed materials and mix them with traditional heritage crafts. Started in 2007 by Founder Lizzie Harrison the brand uses local expertise where possible from the materials to the workmanship. Antiform focuses mainly on knitwear and produces fresh designs that can be worn throughout the year.
Like some of the other big name high street brands, Urban Outfitters doesn’t have a good track record for their production practices. That’s why it is interesting to find that they have introduced their very own upcycled range.Using their team of resources they find surplus materials or deadstock – products that companies make but aren’t able to sell.
The fate of deadstock and surplus materials normally ends up in landfills, but the team at Urban Renewal revamp them. Because of that, each piece is created in very limited numbers, so if you’re looking for that original feel at a price that won’t break the bank, check out the Urban Renewal range by Urban Outfitters. Side note – the regular Urban Outfitters line is far from perfect.
Another big brand catching on to the upcycled clothing scene is ASOS. ASOS has been making moves making their clothes more ethical as seen by their ASOS Eco Edit range. But they have taken it a step further with their ASOS Reclaimed line.
The sourcing team their scours the globe to find authentic vintage clothing and rework and update them into modern designs for the 21st century. One of the great things about this line is that is actually affordable for both men and women.