What is Upcycling Clothes

What Is Upcycling Clothes?

Upcycling clothes is the process of taking old clothing and repurposing it into new clothing. Clothing that is stained, no longer fits, torn or damaged are great clothes to upcycle.

What Is the Difference Between Upcycling and Recycling Clothing

A garment is upcycled by reusing the same fabric in a new way. Recycling involves breaking down the fabric of a garment or any product and re-processing it into fabric or material that will be used in clothing.

Which is Better?

To make clothes reusable, recycling still consumes quite a bit of resources and can involve using harmful chemicals. Upcycling clothes consumes much fewer resources and is more environmentally friendly. So upcycling is better and a more sustainable fashion practice.

Why Upcycle clothes?

There are over 100 billion garments produced each year, and most of these garments end up in landfills after only a few wearing’s. Upcycling clothes is an excellent way to reduce garment waste and cut down on the impact fast fashion has on the planet.

Benefits of Upcycling Include:

1. Good for the Environment 

The energy required to upcycle clothing is much less than that required to recycle it which is good for the planet. It prevents unnecessary waste from going into landfills. Reusing clothing reduces manufacturing costs and preserves natural resources. Clothes that are cut and sewn are much better for the environment than those that are broken down and recycled.

2. Appeals to Sustainable Consumers

Those who care about the environment buy clothes from brands that are sustainable. Upcycling, however, is a much more sustainable practice than simply buying clothing from a store. 

3. Encourages Change In The Fashion Industry

Sustainable fashion consumers are becoming more interested in upcycling. As a result, sustainable clothing designers must carefully consider the life-cycle of their garments and use upcycled materials in their collections.

Where Can I Buy Upcycled Clothing

Buying upcycled clothing is a great option if you lack the time or creativity to upcycle your own clothing. Upcycled clothing is available from a number of clothing brands.

Best Upcycled Clothing Websites List

Sustainable clothing brands are finally embracing creating clothing lines using upcycled clothes. 

Here are 7 upcycling fashion brands leading the charge:

1. Re/Done

Re/Done sells vintage denim jeans that have been upcycled. Re/Done creates sustainable products and preserves history and character of their fashion pieces through original stitching and design.


2. Zero Waste Daniel

Zero Waste Daniel was founded by Daniel Silverstein, a New York designer. He creates clothing entirely from scrap material. This unique collection of upcycled clothes features a patchwork aesthetic and is truly original.


3. Preloved 

Preloved, a Toronto-based upcycled clothing brand, is located in Canada. They create casual wear from deadstock materials. The brand also makes unique fashion pieces from upcycled vintage fabrics or secondhand clothes.


4. Girls of the Earth

Girls of the Earth womenswear line is upcycled, made using real vintage fabric. The fabrics for the clothes come primarily from vintage suppliers, flea market owners, eccentric grandmas, and even just hoarders. 


5. Tonari

Tonari offers unique upcycled and reworked clothing. Tonari clothes are ethically and sustainably manufactured clothing, featuring fitted and loose designs providing freedom for gender expression.


6. Aisling Duffy 

Aisling Duffy clothing collections use upcycled, deadstock and vintage fabrics. Materials used in the collection like beads, lace, thread and sequins are sourced from secondhand stores or factory deadstock.


7. Almost on Time 

Kayla Sade’s long-term design project is called Almost On Time. The website showcases the evolution of her work as she experiments with upcycling of pre-loved garments, second-hand, and sustainable materials.  Kayla designs each piece and her small team of seamstresses sews each garment by hand. 


How to Get Started Upcycling Clothes?

Upcycling old clothes is easy even if you don’t have amazing sewing skills. 

Breathe new life into your wardrobe and achieve some truly awesome results with basic sewing, creativity, and these 4 simple steps.

Step 1: Collect all the sewing materials you need

Common Sewing Items Include:

  • Sewing Machine or thread and needle
  • Measuring Tape
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Fabric Glue

Step 2: Pick Some Old Clothes to Upcycle

Examples of Old Clothes To Upcycle

  • Shirts That No Longer Fit
  • Jeans with Holes in Them
  • Old Shirts
  • Old Jumpers

Step 3: Watch Some Video Tutorials

The best place to look for tutorials on upcycling clothing and upcycling ideas is YouTube videos. There are many tutorials on “no-sew upcycling” or “minimal sewing upcycling” if you hate sewing. 

Step 4: Commence Upcycling Project

Now that you have all the basic equipment you need and have reviewed tutorials and ideas, decide on a simple project that goes well with the old clothing you have that you would like to upcycle.

Is selling upcycled clothing Legal?

You have the right to buy, upcycle and resell  legally acquired clothing. But you cannot sell the items as new. You also cannot mislead your buyers  into thinking that you are associated or endorsed by the maker of the clothing item you have upcycled.


Upcycling clothing is becoming very popular and the clothes are as trendy as many of the fast fashion brands you should avoid. You can buy upcycled clothes from some of the clothing brands mentioned above if you’re not creative or great at sewing!