Fast fashion is problematic ethically and environmentally for many reasons, leading to many conscious shoppers to turn toward thrift stores and second-hand apparel sites such as Depop. The fashion industry is one of the biggest polluters and water-wasters in the world, especially since the materials most clothing is made of are non-biodegradable. This means whatever clothes a store or company could not sell and clothes that are thrown away are most likely still sitting in a landfill. According to Vogue Business, the fashion industry was responsible for 2.1 billion metric tons of CO2 emissions in 2018, which is 4 percent of the global greenhouse gas emissions. While turning to thrift stores is a great alternative for shopping, a lesser-known environmental issue with the fashion industry is our society’s need for overconsumption.
Today, trends are constantly changing and pressure is increasing on our image and fashion choices. This drives people to buy more and more clothing. The demand for new clothing pushes the fashion industry to continue producing new products. Thrifting and secondhand shopping allow you to buy clothing that was already made, but there are other options as well when you are in the mood for a new piece or outfit. Trends changing and the fear of being seen in the same outfit twice lead to overconsumption, but if you take a look in your closet, you might be able to use what is already in there and some imagination to create new pieces. With a little creativity, you can revamp the clothing you already own. Repurposing and reimagining your older clothing can help you save money and the planet. Read on for a few ideas on how to revamp your clothing!
Why buy a new canvas from Michaels when you can paint on denim or canvas sneakers. If you have any jeans you find yourself never reaching for, try painting along the legs. You can get creative with polka dots or stripes, or painting butterflies, flowers, cartoon characters or anything else you come up with! If you have white Converse that have seen better days, paint something such as flowers to cover the stains.
If you’ve been looking for a new hobby for the summer, embroidering is the perfect calming activity. If you have any old T-shirts, you can embroider designs into the cloth. You can even imitate the popular shirts at stores like PacSun, where the corner of the T-shirt has small designs or script words. You can even embroider your jeans with flowers and stems along the pockets and belt area of the jeans.
Experienced crafters can repurpose any old clothing by upcycling. If you have clothing that is made of sturdy materials, repurposing it into something new with a little bit of sewing is a great option. People have turned old shirts into tote bags and blankets, but the possibilities are endless.
For those who have clothing they no longer want to wear at all and love to garden, composting is another fun way to repurpose old clothes. If the clothing is made from all-natural materials, the cloth can be composted. Once you have your dirt, pot and a few worms, you’ll be good to go!
Bleach can be used to change up an old shirt or some old denim. If you have jeans you’d like to make more interesting, one leg can be bleached to create a white and blue design. A spiral bleach design can be added to any graphic tee by scrunching the shirt and adding rubber bands — just like how you tie-dye clothes — then pouring lines of bleach on the shirt. Just be sure to wear gloves, bleach the clothing outdoors and pay attention to any other safety precautions as well.
There are many more ways to repurpose old clothing, but these are just a few simple ideas. Revamping old clothes is one fun and easy way to reduce your carbon footprint. So get some of your friends together, pick out old clothes from your closet, grab some supplies and get creative!