What Is Upcycling Fashion? Why Should Fashion Brands Consider It?

What Is Upcycling Fashion? Why Should Fashion Brands Consider It?

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The world is going through a severe environmental crisis, and the fashion industry is adding to the problem. Many fashion products are too highly consumable, and their production contributes to major environmental issues. As a result, fashion is one of the most polluting industries globally. 

But, these days, people are more conscious about the environment and its protection. Worldwide, garment workers face challenging working conditions and low wages. People are turning towards sustainable fashion options as they are concerned about the waste generated by the fashion industry. A few brands have shifted their production and design practices to incorporate eco-friendly components.

Upcycling fashion is one such process to help save the planet. Fashion brands like upcycling for several reasons. Taking textile scraps that are completely irregular in the shade are stitched together to create a new flat textile, from which any garment could be made. This is a detailed blog on what upcycling fashion is, how it helps the environment and why fashion brands should consider upcycling.

What is upcycling fashion?

In simple words, upcycling means giving new life to anything that is not usable anymore. Over twenty billion pounds of textiles are thrown away in the US every year. When factories are producing fashion, everything gets laid out on something called the marker. So the different pattern pieces have to go in different directions to have different sizes and shapes. The industry tries to lay everything out so that there is as little waste as possible. However, all the leftovers are taken and thrown away, which adds up to millions and tons of scrap material wasted regularly. This is precisely where upcycling comes into play. It reduces the waste in landfills and oceans and saves natural resources. Also, it eliminates the need for using new and raw materials. Upcycling means paving the way for sustainable living.

Upcycling fashion means taking clothing or accessories that are torn, stained, or damaged and converting them into wearable products. Upcycling of clothes is often done using pre-consumer waste and post-consumer waste. 

Pre-consumer waste is pieces of clothing that are left behind while manufacturing. It is also known as deadstock. Post-consumer waste is pieces worn by people and has reached the end of its life.

Upcycled clothing is becoming famous in the fashion industry and is typically referred to as repurposed clothing. But there is a massive difference between upcycling and recycling of clothing.

What is the difference between upcycling and recycling clothing?

What is the difference between upcycling and recycling clothing?

Upcycling clothing uses the same material and fabric and makes a wearable piece out of it. It does not use any other resources.

Recycling clothing includes breaking down the fabric and creating an entirely new piece of clothing. It uses different resources such as chemicals to break down the fabric.

Therefore, upcycling fashion is more environmentally friendly than recycling.

But why should fashion brands be worried about it?

Why should fashion brands consider upcycling?

  • According to a survey, the fashion industry contributes around 10% of carbon emissions. Upcycling fashion ensures minimal use of natural resources, leading to fewer carbon footprints.
  • Upcycling clothing utilizes the same fabric and creates an item of new clothing, which means brands can save initial costs of raw materials. It also reduces manufacturing costs.
  • Upcycling fashion means the brand is creating unique items while saving the planet. It attracts immense love and respect from the customers.
  • Repairing clothing items requires extraordinary skills. It showcases the craftsmanship of designers.
  • One of the best benefits of upcycling fashion is, it boosts the economy of local manufacturers and businesses. From waste management companies to fashion retailers, it helps everyone in the cycle.

Upcycling fashion brands in India to take inspiration

Upcycling fashion brands in India to take inspiration


Refash is a leading upcycling fashion platform. They promote and retail products made out of post-industrial, pre-consumer, and post-consumer waste. They are based out of Mumbai and retail upcycled items like clothing, bags, jewelry, and other accessories.

Bombay Closet Cleanse 

Bombay Closet Cleanse is on a mission to ensure that circular fashion becomes a trending lifestyle. They create upcycled clothes, organize thrift pop-up stores, collaborate with like-minded brands, and donate clothing to those in need. They collect items from donors and resellers worldwide and turn them into meaningful and wearable clothes. They are one of the affordable upcycled fashion brands.


Doodlage upcycles factory waste into clothing and accessories. They also convert waste into soft furnishing, paper, and stationery items. Their products are ethically produced and are shipped plastic-free.


LataSita is a design studio based in Kolkata. They collect fabric from diverse sources and turn them into designer clothing. They mostly upcycle sarees into meaningful apparel.

Use Me Works

Use Me Work is a group of women based in Delhi who support and empower each other. Each member is trained in hand art. Their collection includes home decor, party decor, festive decor, stationery, masks, scrunchies, wallets, laptop bags, and sleeves. All their products are top quality and affordable.

These are some upcycling fashion brands to take inspiration from.

The main objective of upcycling fashion is to reduce waste. Being a part of positive change and leading by example does not have to look less cool. Someone can be edgy, fashion-forward, and stylish and basically don anything they want from fashion and still manage to do it ethically. Upcycling becomes a huge part of that process. By upcycling, fashion brands help reduce the amount of non-biodegradable and toxic materials thrown away in landfills and oceans. Upcycling also helps in reducing the amount of carbon released into the atmosphere when producing new materials, thus helping to fight climate change. And there is no reason why fashion brands should not consider it.

If your fashion brand needs help with sourcing material, you can contact Fashinza.


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