Updated: Aug 15, 2021
We talked about upcycling before in Well Made World. If you missed that blog post, you should visit it for fun upcycling ideas! But let’s revisit what upcycling is.
Upcycling, like recycling, is the act of using used materials to create something else. However, what differs between the two is that up-cycling doesn’t require you to break down the waste material to create the new product—for example, making micro-plastics to develop a usable thread for sewing shoes is recycling. Instead, what up-cycling do is collecting chips packaging and stitching them together to create a bag.
“Recycling involves the destruction of waste to create something new, whereas upcycling takes waste and creates something new from it in its current state.”
Our previous blog shared how you can make your own upcycled items at home, but did you know that there are upcycling brands?
Yup, many brands have used upcycling to produce their items! Let’s check them out.
Swimwear for All
Dos Swim, first founded in 2019, is an up-and-coming swimwear brand for all. Shay Johnson and Paula Hess, founders of the brand, wanted to make swimsuits that fit right and celebrated bodies. “As a curvy woman, fit and shape, even color, was a limiting factor of the swimwear I could buy. For us, it was important to perfect the fit make you feel sexy and great wearing it, and also embrace diverse body types,” says Paula.
The brand also wants to produce the most negligible impact possible on nature. With this in mind, they have decided to repurpose materials. Playa Hat is one of the items that they repurposed from 70s Vintage Towels, all handmade! They also make sure that their materials are locally sourced. What's even more awesome, their website also provides transparency in the materials they use.
While the brand is only two years young, they’ve released a series of collections you should check out!
Eat Da Rich
A Celebration of Freaks
"EAT DA RICH is a non-conformist lifestyle brand based on 'one man's trash is another man's fashion line' sensibilities. Forever working with and inspired by fellow weirdos to create one of a kind wearables from vintage materials with contemporary applications."
— Grand Circus Magazine
Eat Da Rich was first founded in 2019 by Simone Else, who runs the company independently. She provides vintage fashion alternatives that focus on upcycling and homemade. You can find Eat Da Rich’s base in Detroit, Michigan, wholly dedicated to renovating, reusing, and repurposing material. Eat Da Rich is your one-stop shop for fashion sustainability!
If you visit their website, you’d see a diverse collection featuring accessories, clothes, and even home decor!
Girl Of The Earth
You’re not shopping — You’re recycling!
Ruby, the brand founder, has loved vintage fashion since a young age. In her blog entry for Girl of The Earth, she writes “Because I grew up in antique shops, what most people may find daunting about shopping vintage or secondhand comes naturally to me.”
Girl Of The Earth is a specially curated collection of clothing that is sustainably sound. Ruby’s goal with Girl Of The Earth is to have a zero impact brand—and that’s what she is doing! Ruby only sells upcycled items in Girl Of The Earth, made from “real vintage fabric remnants” from 1930-1999. Since every item is upcycled, each product is individually unique with limited stock.
Check out more on her website!
The Cleanest Line
We already featured Patagonia in another blog entry here in Well Made World, but Patagonia needs to be featured on this list too.
Patagonia is one of the brands that began the sustainability fashion train that we have today. Patagonia is the oldest brand founded on this list since 1973. Yvon Chouinard, an avid rock-climber, wanted to create a brand that leaves the most negligible impact possible on nature. Patagonia is all about eco-friendly, sustainability, and pro-benefit.
If you visit the website, Patagonia specializes in sportswear and outerwear. Patagonia also provides both the hardware and software for climbing and many other outdoor sports. The story began when Chouinard sold climbing equipment from the back of his car, which quickly became Chouinard Equipment. Not long after he debuted the brand, he realized that the equipment he sold damaged the environment: the pitons (used for rock climbing) hammered onto the rocks were chipping away at the structure, making it more vulnerable. Though good news soon follows when he found a better alternative to use. This decision was the first of many eco-sound alternatives Patagonia chooses in the future, our present.
Now, Patagonia has ventured into upcycling materials for its product line!
We do encourage you to up-cycle on your own, but you can also support these brands that are doing their most for the Earth. We hope this blog piques your interest to find out more and support these unique and authentic brands to lessen our footprint on Earth!