Why is Upcycling Important in Fashion?


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Reviewed by Godfrey Ogbo

Why is Upcycling Important in Fashion? The textile industry is one of the world’s largest industrial sectors that significantly impacts global ecosystems. Hence, the importance of upcycling is emphasized. The groundbreaking practice of upcycling gives old clothes a new purpose by adding new features or embellishments.   

Recently, many have been discussing the possibility that this is the solution to problems in the fashion industry. Now, you may wonder, “Why is upcycling important in fashion.” 

In this article, we look at the sustainable fashion trend of upcycling and discuss its potential to revolutionize the apparel business.

Upcycling in Fashion

Why is Upcycling Important in Fashion?

“Upcycling” refers to the process of using previously used materials. Upcycled clothes are manufactured from fabrics that you would otherwise throw away. This includes deadstock, which refers to surplus garments and materials, and deadstock from textile companies. 

Fashion brands can transform these materials into high-quality fashion pieces using this method. The fashion industry has a serious problem with textile waste, and upcycling can assist in solving this problem. 

Upcycling clothing is an environmentally responsible method since it extends the useful life of existing materials, lessens trash production, and eliminates the need for fresh supplies. 

Upcycled garments aid in developing a circular economy by preventing unwanted textiles from ending up in landfills and encouraging innovative repurposing of post-consumer materials. 

The Difference Between Upcycling And Recycling

Before answering the question, “Why is upcycling important in fashion?” We must clarify the difference between recycling and upcycling. 

It’s common for people to use both of these terms interchangeably wrongly. However, knowing the difference between upcycling and recycling is essential. 

Recycling entails dismantling items into several parts so you can repurpose them. You can accomplish this mechanically by shredding cotton and reweaving the resulting fibers into a used cotton fabric. 

Newspapers, publications, cardboard, and office paper are all recyclable paper products. Not only can you recycle various metals from tin, aluminum, and steel cans, but you can also recycle some plastics and glass from bottles and containers. 

You can also recycle chemically by melting PET plastic bottles or fishing nets and respinning the resulting polyester or nylon fibers. The new product is almost unrecognizable from the recycled components you made. For example, you can turn plastic bottles into carpets or upholstery.

The goal of upcycling is to improve upon the original product by reusing or repurposing already existing components. You can do this by cutting off the dress’s skirt and adding sleeves to make a stylish jacket. 

Upcycling clothes can be helpful in many ways, including fixing minor defects, but it’s much more than that. 

Upcycling isn’t limited to making things better by fixing them up; it also includes giving previously used items a new use. You may construct a visor for your face, a pot for your plants, a watering can, string lights, and even a bird feeder from an old plastic bottle.

The final product can (and usually does) look very different from the source material. It’s possible to give previously used items another use. 

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For example, you have probably seen someone make a dinner dress from a curtain on YouTube. This is why most people want to know more about the question “Why is upcycling important in fashion.”

Upcycling takes trash and makes something new out of it in its existing form, while recycling entails destroying waste to make new stuff. 

When you upcycle something, it still looks like what it used to, so you can tell what it was and what you turned it into. While recycling has its uses, upcycling allows for much more artistic freedom in the final product and can use a much wider range of processes and resources.

Why is Upcycling Important in Fashion

Upcycling clothing is one method people try to be “green,” it’s become so popular that it’s a whole new market. However, it also addresses critical problems in the fashion industry by lessening its adverse effects on the environment and society. So why is upcycling important? Let’s take a look at it.

1. Waste Minimization

The amount of fabric discarded due to the fashion industry’s activities is staggering. The world recycles only 1% of its clothing trash, meaning people send most old garments and pairs of shoes to landfills or incinerators. 

This is highly detrimental to the environment, however, we can mitigate this by upcycling. By giving previously used items a new purpose, upcycling keeps textile waste and deadstock fabrics out of landfills, and it is one of the most important answers to “Why is upcycling important in fashion.”

2. Material Conservation

Do you know how much water brands use to produce one pair of jeans? About 700 gallons. Unbelievable right? Therefore, when you reuse garments, you reduce water usage. 

For example, earrings made from bamboo are a good example of how a retail fashion firm may reduce tree harvesting by switching to recycled bamboo. 

When you upcycle an item of clothing, you reduce the need for new fabric, reducing air and water pollution. The cultivation and manufacture of raw materials severely impact the environment, including deforestation, microplastic pollution, soil deterioration, water usage, and water pollution. 

While using sustainable fabrics can help with this problem, using less raw materials when making clothes is always a good idea. Upcycling saves precious resources like water and energy that you would utilize to manufacture brand-new clothing.

3. Benefits the Environment

While you may be asking, “Why is upcycling important in fashion?” It is essential to remember that it also benefits the environment. Upcycling is a great way for the fashion industry to combat pollution, one of its main concerns. 

What many people need to realize is that the manufacturing of some clothing fabrics requires the use of harmful chemicals that can cause soil degradation and air pollution. 

Using pesticides and fertilizers in raw materials results in significant pollution, especially when it comes to cotton.

Additionally, the process of washing, bleaching, dying, and treating fabrics is an essential aspect of the fashion business. This process requires the use of chemicals, which byproducts are highly hazardous. 

There is a danger that these chemicals will pollute our air, water, and soil. Therefore, businesses can help create a cleaner, safer environment by investing in upcycling programs. 

By reducing the demand for new raw materials, upcycling makes it possible to employ fewer of these chemicals in the manufacturing process. By using this method, we can reduce air pollution, garbage disposal rates, and water contamination.

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4. Lowers the Carbon Footprint of The Fashion Industry

The fashion industry contributes significantly to carbon dioxide emission levels, accounting for 8 and 10% of all CO2 emissions. When you upcycle, you put less waste into landfills since you’re using things already in circulation. 

By repurposing already produced goods, upcycling helps cut down on the energy and resources needed to make new raw materials and the emissions caused. 

In addition, it frequently involves regional production, which reduces the carbon footprint associated with shipping in comparison to global apparel manufacturing.

5. It Encourages Creativity

Creating something useful out of garbage requires a lot of creative thinking. Everyone working in this waste management system should use their imagination and creativity. Using recycled fabrics opens up new design possibilities for fashion brands and gives stores more material to sell. 

This is another essential benefit and one of the most important answers to “Why is upcycling important in fashion.” 

Upcycling encourages designers to try out unconventional materials, methods, and styles and encourages exploration and fresh ideas in the fashion business.

6. Promotes a Circular Economy

Upcycling’s impact on creating a sustainable economy is another notable benefit. The economic theory behind this concept is to stretch the utilization of natural resources as long as possible. 

Upcycling is in line with this idea because it helps to reduce waste by keeping materials in circulation and wearing clothes for longer. 

The fashion industry can move toward a more sustainable, circular form of production by adopting upcycling. 

It also reduces the demand for fast fashion, notorious for its wasteful and exploitative activities. Thus, these activities promote a more responsible and ethical model of consumption.

7. Supports Local Businesses

Another major answer to the question, “Why is upcycling important in fashion?” is that it helps local businesses grow. You can give back to the community by patronizing one of the many upcycled clothing enterprises established by solopreneurs or small teams. Upcycling helps sustain regional economies, which is one of its significant advantages. 

Several sectors of the economy benefit from upcycling, including manufacturers, sustainable waste management service providers, and local retailers. Brands can also benefit from this in their efforts to form new alliances and connections. 

Using this method of waste disposal will help ensure the continued existence and growth of such businesses. It also reduces reliance on global supply chains that produce potentially hazardous byproducts.

8. Reduces Cost of Production

As a fashion business owner, you may also wonder why upcycling is essential in fashion. Well, when running a business, upcycling is a great way to cut down on production costs. So, let’s say you use silk to produce clothes. 

Do you know that you can use the remaining scraps to make scrunchies? This process helps you transform unwanted materials into valuable products. Instead of having brand-new materials created, shops can just repurpose existing ones. 

Ultimately, this results in business cost savings and lower customer prices. In addition to helping the environment, upcycling can cut costs for businesses in the areas of materials and labor used in production. It can also lead to larger profit margins, a nice bonus. 

9. Educates and Promotes Social Change

We can teach the next generation through upcycling, which is why it’s crucial so they don’t have to question things like “Why is upcycling important in fashion.”

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Many people need to be made aware of how much of an impact the fashion business has on the environment. Thus, upcycling is a wonderful method of equipping them to bring about positive change. 

Furthermore, promoting more sustainable buying habits helps build a more ethical and well-informed consumer base. 

Understanding the importance of materials helps people make better decisions that benefit the planet and its inhabitants. Upcycling has the potential to drastically alter how people think about and treat fashion and the waste that comes from it.

How To Promote Upcycling in Fashion

If you are not asking the question about “why is upcycling important in fashion” but also want to know how to upcycle your clothes and how to promote upcycling, then this is for you. You can do a lot to get started in the upcycling industry. These include:

1. Make DIY Upcycled Clothing 

Don’t throw away good clothes without first considering whether or not you can upcycle them into something you can use. You can create anything if you’re good with a needle and thread or a sewing machine. 

For instance, you can turn that t-shirt you are tired of wearing into a tote bag,  your jeans into a beautiful jacket, and make a  new dress from a combination of vintage fabrics. 

Using a sewing machine, embroidery, dyeing, or even a variety of fabrics and materials, you can turn an old t-shirt or other clothing into a unique patchwork.

2. Patronise Upcycling Brands

Another reason why people ask questions about “Why is upcycling important in fashion?” is because they want to know if upcycling brands are worth patronizing. 

Brands like Fanfare Label that provide this service are worth looking into. Just send them your favorite pair of old jeans, and they’ll make you something truly unique. 

Furthermore, you can support the upcycling fashion movement by purchasing items from one of the numerous upcycled clothing brands. 

Fanfare is also an excellent location for eco-friendly bohemian wear and innovative streetwear made from vintage fabrics. 

Additionally, Patagonia’s Worn Wear program collects used Patagonia clothing from customers and recycles it into new products for the Patagonia Recrafted Collection. 

Watch more on why upcycling is important in the fashion industry: 


So, “Why is upcycling important in fashion.” Upcycling is becoming more popular as a viable answer to the problems caused by rapid fashion as worries about the fashion industry’s environmental effects increase. 

Upcycling could become a significant element of the fashion industry in the future, even if it doesn’t completely replace conventional production processes.

We hope this article has answered your question on “Why is upcycling important in fashion.”

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