Top Upcycling Clothing Fashion Brands & Online Boutiques
From Designer To Vintage & Handmade Upcycled Clothes
Shopping and wearing upcycled clothing brands is a great way to improve your style and CO2 footprint in the current global fashion context.
According to the BBC, over 92 million tons of textiles are wasted every year as massive amounts of clothes end up in landfills, polluting the planet in the process.
Despite the stigma attached to the word ‘upcycled,’ upcycled clothes are re-made garments by reusing and repurposing materials from old, worn out, and damaged clothes.
These materials are then transformed by brands working with upcycled clothing into new garments you can buy at discounted prices from upcycled clothing wholesale sites.
Also referred to as repurposed clothing, reused clothing, and recycled garments, upcycled clothing is an innovative and affordable option in the contemporary fashion landscape.
Speaking of upcycling, most people confuse the products of upcycled clothing brands with upcycled clothing brands.
However, there is a difference between the two:
- Recycling clothing labels break down old garments into materials that can be reused to create brand new apparel.
- Upcycled clothing brands use the whole discarded garment to fix, improve, and give the ‘same garment’ a new life.
There are many benefits to purchasing and wearing clothes from upcycled clothing brands.
Less water usage and landfill waste, fewer chemicals and carbon emissions, and the uniqueness of each style as a bonus!
Driven by a deep sustainability and style uniqueness creed, these are the 10 best upcycled clothing brands, designers, stores, and websites in 2022.
Best Women’s Upcycled Clothing
Amour Vert stocks discounted clothes made from natural fibers such as hemp, ethical wool, certified organic cotton, and other sustainable materials.
Ninety-seven percent of Amour Vert’s pieces are made in small batch quantities within a few miles of the brand’s San Francisco office.
While some of their sustainable clothing is a little more on the pricey side (keep an eye on their special offers and sales), they do have a great collection of organic cotton tees that are more affordable.
Best Affordable Upcycled Clothing
Nowadays, a history-making store for vintage clothing, Beyond Retro has become a touristic spot of East London.
Launched in an old and disused dairy factory in East London, Beyond Retro has grown to have shops in Soho, Brick Lane, Dalston, Brighton, and abroad, in Sweden.
With an enchanting and unexpected in-shop experience, Beyond Retro’s online offerings are just as dreamy.
Best Upcycled Vintage Clothing
Like most big-name high street brands, Urban Outfitters also has a relatively poor track record regarding past manufacturing practices.
To deal with the brand’s fast fashion facet, the label has introduced its very own upcycled program comprised of a dedicated team called Urban Renewal.
The team sorts through deadstock and surplus materials that generally end up in landfills and turn them into recycled clothing materials.
In return, Urban Outfitters pieces are created in limited numbers, so if you’re looking for that original feel at a price that won’t break the bank, check out the Urban Renewal range by Urban Outfitters.
Wolf & Badger
Best Upcycled Clothing Online Boutique
Whether it’s over a pair of sweatpants or a knit dress, these Matrix-inspired vegan leather trenches and coats will have you look put together, even if just out of bed.
Leather trenches are very VOU right now, worn by worldwide celebs anywhere, anytime, from red carpet events to neighborhood walks and streetwear parades.
Best Upcycled Boho Clothing
Launched by a group of creatives from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (that believe in the existence of happiness), Farm Rio is an apparel brand that Anthropologie carries on its official website.
More than a recycled clothing brand, Farm Rio has been a leader of sustainable practices, fostering cultural movements since 1997.
The brand supports the local culture, heritage, craftsmanship and fights to keep them alive.
For each piece sold via the official website, the company plants a tree in the Amazon Rainforest.
Best Upcycled Denim Clothing
In those days, a necessity, upcycled denim was a stylish trend fighting against fast fashion as more people prioritized quality over quantity.
Specialists in clothing items from eco-friendly fabrics and organic materials, the label uses circular fashion to create superb clothing for women, often confused with Eileen Fisher and Mara Hoffman.
Best Upcycled Designer Clothing
Collina Strada is an upcycled clothing label from New York City that aims to embody humor and youth while pursuing sustainable, transparent manufacturing for a cleaner, safer future.
Loud and expressive on the outside, the brand has a rare ability to look inward, season after season, with a goal that remains the same: to encourage self-reflection and kindness through upcycled clothing.
The label is loved and supported by an extensive cast of artists, LGBTQ+ activists, musicians, and creatives of all ages.
Best Upcycled Wool Clothing
One criticism towards upcycled clothing brands from young fashion lovers is clothes that look old, like just picked from grandmother’s closet.
A semifinalist of LVMH Prize, Rave Review is loved by young fashion buyers, as the label does more than just introduce them to a more accountable future.
Yes, the brand’s initiatives speak to a growing awareness across the fashion and luxury sector while reflecting the values of environmentally conscious fashion.
Above all of that, Rave Review’s upcycled clothes are what you’d call modern, mindful, thoughtful luxury fashion.
Best Handmade Upcycled Clothing
Established in 2018 by the ex-design director of Marni and the ex-fashion director of British Vogue, Colville’s collections are romantic, adventurous, bold, and uplifting.
Driven by an innovative and experienced team, Colville’s creation from recycled fabric expresses contemporary women’s feelings and values.
In some ways, Colville is the antithesis of fast fashion: the brand’s passion lies in designing clothes that have individuality and longevity that appeal to the wearer’s eye, imagination, conscience, and heart.
Best Upcycled Plus Size Clothing
Etsy is a global online store for designers and shoppers creating and selling sustainable fashion pieces from surplus fabric, vintage fabrics, textile waste, recycled materials, and deadstock fabric.
A universe of handmade clothing, accessories, and collections that can’t be found anywhere else, Etsy is the home of ethical fashion and the marketplace to check when you want something unique.
Moreover, Etsy is one of the best online stores right now and heaven for creators and individuals seeking to sell their own upcycled clothing pieces.
Upcycled Clothing FAQs
What Is Upcycling In Clothes?
In the realm of clothing and fashion, the word ‘upcycling’ describes a method of taking old, worn out, or damaged clothes (in some cases even antique textiles) and repurposing them into brand new garments.
The method was introduced by outdoor clothing, initially as lining or fabric scraps for internal padding.
The method was quickly adopted by the garment industry to ensure the preservation of natural materials and raw material reserves.
The process turns secondhand fabrics and discarded pieces of clothing into stylish, sustainable products that require less water usage, fewer chemicals, and generate far fewer carbon emissions.
Upcycled clothing exists in stark contrast to fast-fashion one-season pieces that end up in land waste.
Is Upcycling Clothing Sustainable?
Similar to recycled apparel, upcycled clothing is sustainable and eco-friendly.
Upcycling clothing is sustainable by reducing raw material and water consumption, reducing textile waste, and giving garments a new life.
What Brands Use Upcycling?
Many major clothing brands use upcycling as a manufacturing method.
However, some of the most popular upcycled clothing brands in the clothing industry right now are:
Is Selling Upcycled Clothing Legal?
Yes and no, and here’s where the problem arises from:
When you upcycle clothes, you alter the manufacturer’s warranty or product quality without the owner’s approval.
Moreover, you retain the branding, logos, and the brand’s name in the upcycling process.
Now, if you upcycled for personal use, that’s fine.
However, if you upcycle to resell, you’ll have to get the manufacturer’s permission.
The law is still grey in this area, as I know people selling upcycled garments on eBay, Etsy, and similar online clothing stores as “repaired clothes,” without any problems.
What Other Clothing Companies Are Upcycling Or Recycling?
More recently marketed as re-style-cling, these garments combine upcycled and recycled fashion.
The ideal approach in creating ethical clothing – a method employed even by prominent luxury fashion brands – is to create beautiful pieces from upcycled cotton and sustainable apparel from carbon neutral textiles.
Below are some of the best clothing brands that have mastered re-style-cling in 2022:
It’s not easy to be an environmental activist who loves the latest fashion trends.
First, you all know that ‘fast fashion‘ is destructive to the planet by creating cheap apparel from energy-intensive materials, by using toxic bleaches and dyes, and discarding tones of unused garments every day, clogging the planet with landfills.
Also known as eco-friendly clothing brands, these labels create new clothes from upcycled organic wool and cotton from broken garments, polyester from plastic bottles and fishing nets, and cellulose from discarded trees.
In making new clothes, recycling apparel brands use less-toxic dyes less water and reduce the overall carbon footprint.
Using upcycled materials is one of the most powerful ways to stay sustainable and trendy, especially in a fashion industry thirsty for change.
Now it’s your turn…
Which one of these upcycled clothing brands and online stores is your favorite and why?
Are there any other upcycled clothing brands you’ve tried and want to add to this list?
Comments below, please!