11 Upcycled Fashion Brands Making Dreamy Recycled & Deadstock Clothing
Upcycling is a sustainable way to create new clothing from pre-existing materials. Deadstock fabrics are unused materials that would have otherwise been thrown away, but are instead repurposed into new garments. These practices not only reduce waste, but also create unique and one-of-a-kind pieces.
- Christy Dawn – uses deadstock fabrics to create vintage-inspired dresses and separates.
- Tonlé – creates zero-waste clothing from upcycled fabrics and materials.
- Reformation – uses deadstock and sustainable materials to create trendy and stylish clothing.
- Girlfriend Collective – creates activewear from recycled water bottles and upcycled fishing nets.
- Pangaia – uses innovative materials such as seaweed fiber and recycled plastic bottles to create sustainable clothing.
- Zero Waste Daniel – creates unique pieces from upcycled fabrics and materials.
- Eileen Fisher Renew – repurposes Eileen Fisher clothing into new designs.
- Patagonia Worn Wear – repairs and resells used Patagonia clothing to reduce waste.
- For Days – creates basics from upcycled materials and offers a recycling program for old garments.
- Amour Vert – uses sustainable materials and upcycled fabrics to create timeless clothing.
- The Renewal Workshop – partners with brands to repair and upcycle their unsold and returned clothing.
These upcycled clothing brands are leading the way in sustainable fashion and proving that eco-friendly clothing can be both stylish and innovative.
Some Recycled Clothing Companies We Really (Pre)Love
Here are 11 recycled clothing companies that are making a difference in the fashion industry:
Paneros is a TENCEL clothing brand that specializes in creating some of the best recycled fashion. The brand offers women’s recycled shirts, dresses, bottoms, sweaters, and suits that blend deadstock and natural fibers. Paneros uses luxury deadstock fabrics that account for all synthetic fabrics used. These fabrics are sometimes combined with virgin natural fabrics like cotton, linen, and TENCEL™ lyocell. All fabrics are OEKO-TEX-certified and naturally dyed (if at all). The boho upcycled clothing features a 100% upcycled silk iconic Hawaiian shirt. The women’s upcycled clothes begin in LA, for deadstock sourcing, dyeing, and designing. From there, it moves to a WRAP-certified factory in Indonesia for sewing. Paneros handcrafts in small batches—60 pieces or fewer—so everything is limited edition. Scraps that are too small to become anything else become scrunchies. They ship in 100% recycled polyethylene mailers, with a dual adhesive strip for reuse. Tissue paper and hang tags are also recycled. Sizes range XS-XL (US 2-12). They’re 1% for the Planet members and also donate to social justice organizations like the ACLU—10% of profits in past years.
Rentrayage is a female-founded reworked fashion boutique that blends everyday basics with unique, one-of-a-kind elements. The brand makes clothes from mostly or entirely upcycled vintage fabrics and deadstock garments, whether they be old button-down shirts, graphic tees, lace, denim, or accessories. Reclaimed materials are always the first choice, but they’ll sometimes supplement with fully traceable virgin cotton, linen, silk, or wool when necessary. Garments are handmade in Brooklyn and elsewhere in New York. All employees are paid living wages and any third-party partner brands are vetted for fair manufacturing methods. Handmade upcycled clothing aside, they recycle their own fabric scraps with FABSCRAP and offer a garment take-back program. Sizes 0-10 are available, and Rentrayage sources from minority-owned businesses when possible.
3. Broken Ghost Clothing
Broken Ghost Clothing makes upcycled women’s clothing “OF the world, FOR the world”. Using unwanted garments collected from thrift stores, each piece is cobbled together from many different fabrics. Smaller offcuts are used for decoration and finishing elements on other pieces. Jana is the sole crafter behind the upcycled bohemian clothing. She takes slow fashion seriously which is why she makes everything herself and limits herself to a certain number of creations at a time. As an upcycled fashion Etsy brand, all orders are shipped carbon-neutral. Most upcycled clothes come in XS-XL, with additional plus-sizes up to 3X (US sizes 2-24).
4. Green Market Vintage
Green Market Vintage is an upcycled fashion brand that started by making simple vintage button bracelets. The brand expanded into the realm of repurposed clothes and vintage pieces—with thousands of cult rave-review followers. This handmade upcycled clothing is crafted using vintage garment bases, embellished with scrap fabric cuttings. Cheryl makes everything herself out of her California home. XS-XL size categories in addition to plus-sized offerings.
RE/DONE is a USA upcycled fashion store that reinvents Levi’s jeans. By partnering with Levi’s Jeans, the brand offers all manner of upcycled denim clothing: jeans, shorts, and denim jackets. By taking vintage Levi’s apart at the seams, and mix-and-matching various pairs together, they create distinct denim in limited quantities. Note that not all RE/DONE’s clothing is upcycled. Their non-recycled “ready-to-wear” clothing is made from new fabric.
6. Fanfare Label
Fanfare Label is a UK upcycled fashion brand that uses unwanted industry offcuts to create unique, limited runs. The brand creates garments that are made to last and to be cherished. All materials are sourced locally in the UK, and the brand works with a small team of seamstresses to create each piece. All garments are made in limited quantities, ensuring that each piece is unique.
RubyMoon is a sustainable swimwear brand that creates swimwear out of recycled materials, including recycled polyester and recycled nylon. The brand also uses recycled cotton and recycled wool in some of its clothing. RubyMoon is a member of 1% for the Planet, and donates a portion of its profits to microfinance projects that support women entrepreneurs in developing countries.
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What Upcycled Fashion Means & Why It’s Worth Buying
Upcycled fashion is a type of sustainable fashion that involves repurposing discarded textiles into new clothing items. This can include anything from fabric scraps and upholstery to deadstock clothing and even carpeting. Upcycling involves taking something that would otherwise be thrown away and transforming it into a new and useful item.
The concept of upcycling is closely related to the circular economy, which aims to reduce waste by keeping resources in use for as long as possible. By upcycling clothing, we can divert textile waste from landfills and incinerators, which is a significant problem in the fashion industry.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, textiles have one of the lowest recycling rates of any reusable material. This means that the vast majority of clothing ends up in landfills, where it can take hundreds of years to decompose. In the United States alone, the average person throws away 70 pounds of textile waste per year.
Upcycling is an important solution to this problem because it gives new life to discarded textiles. By creating new clothing items from old ones, we can reduce the demand for new materials and minimize the amount of waste that ends up in landfills.
In addition to its environmental benefits, upcycled fashion can also be a stylish and unique addition to your wardrobe. Upcycling can involve anything from subtle repairs and patchwork to total reinvention of a garment. This means that upcycled clothing can be one-of-a-kind pieces that reflect your personal style and values.
Buying upcycled clothing is also a way to support sustainable fashion brands and promote change in the industry. Many upcycling companies are working to shift fashion towards a more circular and sustainable model, and by supporting these brands, consumers can help drive this change forward.
Overall, upcycled fashion is a smart and sustainable choice for anyone looking to reduce their environmental impact and support a more circular economy. By giving new life to discarded textiles, we can help minimize waste and create a more sustainable future for fashion.
How We Selected The Top Upcycled Fashion Designers
When it comes to supporting slow fashion, the best way to do so is by promoting upcycled clothing brands. However, selecting the best upcycled fashion designers requires a careful and thorough process. In this section, we will discuss the criteria that were used to choose the top upcycled fashion designers.
The best upcycled clothes are made from natural and sustainable fabrics. Recycled cotton, denim, hemp fabric, and linen are some of the materials that keep waste materials out of landfills and can be composted at the end of their second life. On the other hand, recycled synthetic fabrics do not have a green end-of-life, but they are abundant and can be recycled indefinitely. The process of recycling synthetic fabrics requires 90% less water, 85% less energy, and produces 90% fewer CO2 emissions than their virgin counterparts. To prevent microplastics from entering waterways, it is recommended to use a Guppyfriend bag when wearing and washing recycled synthetics. The certifications that were considered for this criterion include Global Recycle Standard (GRS), OEKO-TEX®, and Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS).
Supply Chain and Labor Practices
Upcycling materials is a sustainable practice that cuts out one of the biggest sources of worker abuse in the fashion industry – farming and raw material procurement. However, fair pay, safe working conditions, and proper treatment of workers are still important. Transparency is key to ensuring that upcycling is ethical. Third-party certifications such as Fair trade and Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production (WRAP) were considered in this criterion to ensure that the workers involved in upcycling the materials are treated fairly.
Green Business Practices
In addition to upcycling materials, the top upcycled fashion designers also implement green business practices such as using recycled/recyclable packaging, repair programs, water and energy conservation methods (closed-loop manufacturing), avoidance of harsh chemicals, carbon offset programs, and small, local supply chains.
Limited availability of deadstock clothing and materials makes it challenging to accommodate all genders and body sizes. However, body positivity, cultural representation, and inclusive size range are still important. The top upcycled fashion designers were selected based on their efforts to provide clothing that accommodates all genders and bodies.
Community and Charitable Giving
The top upcycled fashion designers were also selected based on their efforts to give back to the community through charitable donations, employee volunteer days, or raising awareness for environmental and social causes.
Final Thoughts On Recycled Upcycled Fashion
Upcycling clothes is one of the best ways to stop fast fashion and support slow fashion. It is also a way to repurpose old clothes and reduce waste. The top upcycled fashion designers were selected based on their commitment to sustainable and ethical fashion practices. By supporting these designers, we can all contribute to the future of sustainable fashion and the circular economy.