Fashion,  Philanthropy

Environmentally Conscious Fashion: Upcycling

By Alyssa Cimino | UNSW FABSOC

When we think about climate change and environmental pollution, we tend to think of large industrial plants burning fossil fuels and smog generated from coal mines. Fashion would probably be the last thing to come to mind when considering what damages our environment – yet, fashion does have a significant impact on our Earth. In fact, its the second largest polluter in the world, after the oil industry (Sweeny 2015). A large reason why fashion causes so much damage to the environment can be put down to the culture of fast fashion. With trends coming and going super quickly, there’s no wonder why approximately 1 in 6 people have thrown out garments that they’ve only worn once (Spring 2017).

Thankfully, environmentally conscious fashion has been more accessible than ever ensuring that you can still be fashionable whilst ensuring that what you wear has minimal negative effects on the environment. Whilst there are numerous brands who produce environmentally conscious fashion (stay tuned for the second part of this series!), one of the easiest ways to build an eco-friendly wardrobe is to get creative!

Don't throw your old clothes out, upcycle them!

There has never been a more perfect time to transform your old clothes and refresh your wardrobe! Instead of spending more money on new clothes during quarantine, go through your closet and see if you can find some old basics that can be reworked. No matter what your aesthetic is, YouTube has so many videos to get you started!

One of the FABSOC team’s favourite style inspirations is Ashley a.k.a bestdressed on YouTube. If you’re ever running out of creativity or you’re unsure how to rework your clothes, Ashley has several videos transforming old, thrifted clothing items into on-trend pieces. Check out her Thrift Flip series here!

Rachspeed is another Youtuber who has a tonne of easy DIY videos and tutorials on how to upcycle your clothes. She also has heaps of styling and outfit videos to provide you with all the fashion inspiration you need. Take a look at one of her recent videos here!

Happily Dressed and Chris Cabalona are both smaller YouTubers, however don’t let that detract from their serious skills when it comes to DIYs and reworking old clothes. From adding little details with embroidering to making statement patchworked denim jeans, their tutorials are on-trend and can be applied to just about any aesthetic!

'But what if sewing isn't my thing?' We hear you!

If you’re not sure how to sew or don’t have access to a sewing machine, don’t stress! There’s just as many tutorials online that require no sewing and can still give your old clothes a fresh, new look. Fashion blogger Nava Rose (who we also featured in our Fashion Tiktoker’s blog here!) has a no-sew mini series and so many affordable DIY’s that use basics and staples from your closet. Check out one of her no-sew, upcycling videos below.  

Tie dye is also one of the latest trends and can transform your sweater from boring to effortlessly cool. All you’ll need is a white piece of clothing, some dye and a few household essentials. If you’ve got a matching white sweatsuit set, you could also tie dye the pants as Toni Sevdalis does in her video – it’s a super affordable and easy way to upcycle your clothes!

Need more inspiration?

If you’re after some more ideas on how you can upcycle your old clothes, there are so many Tiktok creators who have mini tutorials that can transform your wardrobe. A simple search of #rework, #thrifted or #upcycle will produce countless videos from creators all over the world that are bound to leave you inspired!

Like Tiktok, you’ll find heaps of inspiration on Instagram by browsing through #reworkedvintage and #upcycle. You’ll even be able to find brands that rework clothes selling fabric patterns which allow you to recreate their styles with your own clothes. Check out Next Level Vintage for more! 

If you want to create a mood board of all the reworked looks you want to try, Pinterest is the way to go! Simply create a Pinterest board which allows you to save all the upcycled looks you love from every social media platform. This makes it super easy for you to save any tutorials that you want to try for later and Pinterest will even suggest ideas for you based on what you’ve pinned!

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