TODAY'S GREEN MANTRA: Upcycling my own textiles or supporting businesses that do is one of many ways to step forward into a greener future.

Day 47 / 365

Upcycling is one of the greenest ways to bring anything new into existence as it utilises items already created to convert what's old and on its way to the landfill and give it a new lease of life in a completely unique and creative way.

Americans alone send 10.5 million tons of clothing to landfills each year, just to give you a visual, blue whales, which are the largest animal ever to have been known to live on earth, weigh about 200 tons - so the USA alone they're throwing away 52,500 blue whales of clothing per year. 

Just to reiterate the nuttyness of this reality (and the near extinction of these magical beings) there are only 2,000 of those 200 ton blue whales left in the world. So one country on this planet is throwing out 26 x the combined weight of all the blue whales on this planet. And that's only the USA - that number doesn't include the rest of the fast fashion fanatics of the first world.

Long-sucky-story-short, we have plenty of textiles already in existence for us to create with. Textiles which were likely made with  manufactured synthetic textiles (which also include polyester, spandex, and rayon) and takeup to 200 years to breakdown once we've tossed them (yippie, your entire discarded wardrobe might outlive you!) which is why it is so important that we find ways of upcycling these fabrics and bringing its future forward and tackling the tip of our textile troubles. 

There are thousands of ways to upcyle your old textiles, just type in 'upcycle + (whatever you're thinking of getting rid of)' into Pinterest's search and you'll discover more clever ideas then you'll know what to do with. 

I recently upcycled an old dress from a masquerade ball I went to years back which was all grass stained, and too white to wear to anyones wedding. I couldn't bare to throw it out, so I dip dyed the bottom of it to make it as good as new again (and appropriate colour for weddings), then used the excess dye to tye dye my husfriend's slightly stained old dress shirt and BOOM, we had two brand spanking new outfits which cost neither us nor the planet anything more than was already taken in the original production of those two garments.

If you're not up for crafty ventures, or you've not got the time, there are plenty of brands committed to the cause, here are a few of my favourite brands using upcycled materials and sustainable fair trade processes to create their collections, including my own creations:


The only thing I buy new for my collection of clutches, makeup bags and totes are YYK organic zippers on occasion (when I can't find discarded zippers to upcycle) and I buy the embroidery thread for the tassles new sometimes as well (usually I get it second hand on ebay ... your parents selling off your old friendship bracelet business). 

Everything else is created using textiles already in existence which I find at market stalls, charity shops, deadstock piles at fabric stores, and more often than not, discarded piles of torn up fabric on the side of the street. 

I am able to utilize torn or stained textiles that were no longer useful or ideal in our world of perfection and able to trim off, dye or hide their less than desirable features so their beauty shines on though. 

Where To Get Your Hands On One? ONLINE or one of my stockists La Manufacture Onirique (Paris), The Tiny Finch (San Antonio), Mana Culture (Austin).

These completely unique scarves are created by a fair trade felting group in the Kathmandu Valley of Nepal who create their collections by fusing scrap wool fibres with pieces of upcycled vintage silk saris. It's a fusion of old with new in their combination of contemporary design and ancient handicraft techniques creating one-of-a-kind piece of socially responsible wearable art. To top it off, the proceeds from sales of these scarves you're supporting a fair trade and socially responsible country which hires women in a country where work of this variety is providing them with liberation from lives of isolation. The company also supports Our Home Women's Hostel in Kathmandu, providing housing, education, and training young widows and other single girls in Nepal. It also supports READ which provides women with education to learn to read, gain skills to earn and living, and helps them access critical health information. 

Where To Get Your Hands On One? On Fair-Trade Design's Website HERE 

Made traditionally, these shoes are truly unique, one-of-a-kind in fact as each pair of shoe is created by hand from upcycled antique kilim rugs by artisans working in a long-established fair trade atelier in Istanbul.

Where To Get Your Hands On A Pair? Their Website HERE

[Re] Made in France and [re] Worked by Hand, Wylde is a creative collection vintage pieces upcycled with contemporary additions creating beautiful and unique pieces which span just about every style and age of late.
Where to get your hands on these creations? La Manufacture Onirique or ONLINE.

There are so many great vintage jeans out there already, but often the fit is a little off or out of date, which is why RE/DONE is one of my favourite concepts in the world of jeans. They take Levi’s vintage denim apart at the seams and repurposes the fabric into new modern-fitting jeans "restor[ing] individuality to the luxury fashion space, a movement to keep heritage brands relevant, and a movement to create sustainable fashion." 
Where To Get Your Hands On A Pair? Check Out Their Website HERE. Quantities are limited and pairs are one-of-a-kind so you'd best sign up for their newsletter to get early access to new styles.

This Canadian family owned business makes handmade underwear for women and men using upcycled materials to create "colourful, comfortable, original and above all, unique" knickers. 
Where To Get Your Hands On A Pair? CLICK HERE

sources: The Atlantic, National Geographic
photos: 1. 2. 3. 6. = Shane Woodward - others belong to the brands