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 Upcycled fashion is a great way to shop consciously.

Upcycled is not usually considered synonymous with stylishness. When we think upcycled we might imagine jeans made into a handbag or neck ties made into a skirtt. Clever, crafty, and cute? Yes! Stylish and catwalk ready? Not really. Despite the fact that upcycled usually makes one think ‘craft’ rather than ‘catwalk’ there are a surprising number of incredibly stylish ways that upcycled materials are being used in fashion circles. A fact I recently proved (or at least I hope I provided the proof… you be the judge) in my eco style column in Nature & Health magazine. If the article below don’t provide enough of an incentive to shop upcycled then hopefully these ten reasons will.

  • Upcycled items save on virgin resources. Every time you buy something that was made ‘new’ your purchase requires the growth or extraction of natural resources. Upcycling uses items that already exist to repurpose into something with a new use and lease in life.
  • Upcycling saves water and energy. It is estimated that it takes 2700 litres of water and around twenty times its own weight in carbon emissions to make a cotton t-shirt. When you buy something upcycled fashion you reduce (or in some cases completely avoid) this resource usage.
  • You are living out your recycling ‘R’ words. The hierarchy of waste usually goes ‘reduce, reuse, recycle, refuse, respect and replenish‘.
    When you think consciously about purchasing and choose to buy upcycled you are reducing the need for ‘new’ resources, refusing the need to be a part of resource depleting production practices, respecting the planet with your weighted purchasing decision, reusing and recycling items, and replenishing your closet contents mindfully.
  • Upcycled items are conversation starters. Even if your item is upcycled so well that no-one would guess what it was in a former life you will likely get compliments on it at some point. When you do you have the opportunity to tell the story of your item and it’s exciting former life to the person who spoke to you about it. A fun way to talk sustainability and fashion without sounding like a preachy environmentalist.
  • When you purchase an upcycled item you are supporting designers that are purposely designing to make the World a better (and more stylish) place. You can wear your item with pride knowing that the person who made it possible is likely doing a happy dance that you supported their ethical/ social / eco venture.

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This article appeared in the February 2017 issue of Nature & Health, Australia’s original and best natural health magazine, www.natureandhealth.com.au. If you are interested in healthy living and an active natural lifestyle be sure to check this awesome mag out.

What is your favourite upcycled brand? Perhaps you do your own upcycling? Please share or brag below.