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What’s upcycled fashion and why is it considered it to be ‘sustainable’?

What’s upcycled fashion and why is it considered it to be ‘sustainable’?


Nowadays it’s pretty frequent to hear about the term “to upcycle” and its relevance in the fashion industry. However, this concept continues to be confused and misinterpreted with recycling and therefore, underestimated in it positive environmental impact. This article answeres the questions, “What’s upcycled fashion and how does it differ from recycled fashion?” “Why is it important and relevant to buy upcycled clothing?” and “Where can you buy upcycled clothes?

Let’s begin our journey together and discover upcycled fashion!


recycle - upcycle -join appcycled!

What’s upcycled fashion and how does it differ from recycled fashion?

While both processes aim to improve sustainability and help the environment, upcycling and recycling have two very different meanings.

Upcycling occurs when discarded objects or materials are reused to create a product of higher quality or value than the original. Upcycling gives products a second life, revitalizing the object and giving it a value greater than it had in its previous life. This process of "reinvention" is even more valuable when the discarded elements given a second life are somehow unique.

Recycling happens when waste undergoes a chemical process and is transformed into reusable material. When a material is recycled, it returns to production and transforms into a completely different element. Although recycling can happen multiple times, usually with each cycle, the product experiences a loss in quality, "downgrading."

Unlike recycling, upcycling doesn't require transforming the material to reuse it.

Today, upcycling is often the only way to reuse many fashion products. Unfortunately, most of our garments cannot be recycled because they are composed of various materials. Not only are fabrics a mix, but there are also other components like labels, buttons, zippers, making it challenging to separate the different materials for recycling. Upcycling, however, doesn't face these difficulties.

So, What’s upcycled fashion?

The term originated in 1994 and was initially applied to Product Design but quickly gained traction in the fashion industry.

In 1997, Orsola de Castro, also known as the queen of upcycling, founded From Somewhere, a brand that offers clothes made with tailoring techniques using scraps from major brands.

Upcycling is one of the most obvious methods to address the overproduction of the industry, and over the years, more designers and brands have understood the value of reuse to minimize environmental impact and pollution.

Re-use,Re-duce, re-cycle


Why is it important and relevant to buy upcycled clothing?

Upcycling helps achieve two of the 3 Rs of recycling: REDUCE and REUSE. Buying upcycled clothing helps reduce the amount of material destined for landfills and allows us to reuse clothes that would otherwise be discarded.

This ensures that clothes have a second life without the need for additional "degradation" processes, as would happen with recycling.

Where to buy Upcycled Clothes?

At this point, one might wonder, "Where can I buy upcycled clothes?" This is where the challenge arises: the market for these products is developing, and while more brands and independent designers are moving in this direction, many products still lack sufficient visibility.

This is where Appcycled comes in, our platform gives voice and space to upcycled fashion designers. Our goal is to simplify the upcycling process, helping creatives find more material to use and providing customers with a shop to discover unique, fashionable, and sustainable pieces from independent designers.