Sustainable Fashion: Recycle, Reuse & Repurpose

By T. Arrayales | July 2016

Recycle, Reuse & Repurpose Fashion

The idea of recycling, reusing and repurposing fashion isn’t a new one - but it wasn’t until recently that the once-taboos of shopping at thrift stores became trendy. Today, some of the biggest e-commerce sites are based on reselling second-hand items, such as The Real Real and Vaunte, or apps like Poshmark & Depop, which make it easier to participate and get some great deals on brand name items. 

At first it was the discounts and access to luxury items that attracted people to second hand shopping. As we see a shift towards consciousness; people care more and more about their impact on the planet. This shift is pushing more brands to become transparent on their processes. With organizations like the Green Peace publishing the current Detox report and documentaries such as, "The True Cost" it makes sense both brands and consumers are paying attention.

Moving towards this lifestyle isn’t easy and changing the way people consume fashion is a behavior that has been set for years. People can't get discouraged and need to remember that every small step they take is making an impact. So, here are some simple ways to incorporate recycling, reusing, and repurposing into your lifestyle.

1. Recycle

Know the item you are looking to purchase (brand, name & size) and head to your favorite fashion influencers' Instagram or Pinterest to get inspired. Once you have the information you can start the search. Head to all the online consignment shops to see if any carry that item. If not, check out the second hand apps or make a trip to your local thrift shops. Remember to keep an open mind. Maybe you wont find that exact item but you will find something similar.

Inside Tip: For online shops, make sure you sign up to their email list, as they have weekly discounts. Make a list of all the thrift shops nearby and note when they get new arrivals, that way you’re able to get first dibs on the new items.


2. Reuse

Seems obvious but start with looking in your own closet. Many people forget what they own or have purchased in the past.  Try to see each piece in a new light, perhaps pairing it with new accessories you have. If all fails, think of other ways to utilize the clothes, such as the fabric. For example, you can make cleaning rags into re-usable produce bags. 

Inside Tip: Hold a swap party with your friends. Take those items that you no longer love & let someone else give them love. In turn, you can find new pieces for your look.


3. Repurpose

Repurposing brings a new life to something that's used and doesn't contribute to the 11 million tons of textiles waste in the US. Buying recycled or reused means you don’t always find the garment you love in multiple sizes, so it’s key to look beyond the garment. Think of all the ways you can alter it to make it the item of your dreams.  This also works for the items you currently own, perhaps make those old pair of jeans into cool denim shorts or those midi skirts into mini skirts. 

Inside Tip: Everyone should have a good tailor! Specially for more drastic changes to the item.