These sustainable upcycled fashion brands use recycled textiles, that would otherwise go to landfill. Textile waste is a huge problem in the fashion industry. It’s nice to make clothing from organic cotton and hemp, but it’s also good to create clothing from the huge waste generated by those who make clothing from synthetic fabrics, otherwise it just goes to landfill. The Environmental Protection Agency says that millions of tons of textile waste are generated each year, with around 15% of all fabric intended for clothing ending up on the cutting room floor.
Although not biodegradable, fashion items made from recycled materials help to prevent landfill waste. The only issue is that when laundering them, tiny non-biodegradable fibres can wash into our seas, as they are released from clothes in the machine. To stop this, simply get yourself a little Guppyfriend. This is a cheap bag that you pop in the machine, and it collects the fibres. When full, just peel out the ball of fibres and pop in the bin. One bag will last you years. And help to stop the estimated 1 million tons of micro fibres being discharged into waste water each year.
- Hide the Label (London) is a sustainable fashion brand started by siblings. They combine vivid prints with recycled (and plant-derived) fibres for timeless styles with effortless silhouettes. This beautiful dress is made from recycled polyester, and can be worn in many ways: with a cosy knit and tights, or with sandals in summer. It has a side splits and a centre back zip, which makes it super easy to wear.
- Blonde Gone Rogue is a sustainable fashion brand from Bulgaria, which makes stunning urban clothing for women, made from organic or recycled fabrics. This brand from a Milan fashion graduate, who wanted to do something about the large rolls of fabric that are thrown away, in the fashion industry. Everything is produced in a small town in beautiful Bulgaria, in a friendly working environment.
- Before July is a ‘slow fashion’ brand to move away from throwaway fashion. Designer Elisa Jaycott creates one or two collections yearly, featuring unique statement pieces, mostly made from end-of-roll fabrics that would otherwise go to landfill.
Why is there so much textile waste? Because we live in an age of ‘fast fashion’. The slow fashion movement is gaining traction, just as with slow food and slow flowers. People are increasingly wishing to ditch fashion that is made not-to-last in countries with poor welfare standards. And switch to fashion brands that use recycled materials. Slow fashion is about choosing items carefully to mix-and-match and to suit your style, figure and complexion. The Oxford Dictionary defines ‘fast fashion’ as ‘inexpensive clothing produced rapidly by mass-market retailers, in response to the latest trends’. Greenpeace lists 9 reasons to quit fast fashion:
- It’s the world’s 2nd biggest polluter, after the oil industry
- The average UK shopper buys 68 items per year
- A truck of clothing is burned or sent to landfill, each second
- Nearly 70 barrels of oil is used yearly, to make polyester
- Polyester takes 200 years to decompose
- Polyester microfibres are released, each time an item is washed
- It takes 10,000-20,000 kilos of water, to produce a kilo of cotton
- Fabric production creates 20% of world water pollution
- Growing cotton produces 18% of pesticides & 25% of insecticides each year