Recycling isn’t only a practice done at home, in school, or at offices. Recycling is also done in the fashion industry, which leaves tons of piles of fabrics and swatches each waking day. Thankfully, we have several creative designers and artists that put value to these supposedly valueless pieces. When it comes to recycling in the fashion industry, we’re taught of three different methods namely, recycling, upcycling, and downcycling. Recycling is done when a textile is being turned into another item that’s not necessarily similar to its original state. Upcycling is usually done when these materials are created into something more beautiful and useful. Finally, downcycling is the process of turning these wastes into a valuable material, but something that’s not much of a benefit like swatches or fabrics used to stuff in car seats. Regardless of the method used, these all simply use the wastes as resources instead of surplus.
The need for clothing recycling happens at the very doorway of each textile manufacturing companies and designer headquarters. Let’s not skip the fact that roughly 2 million tons of clothing in the UK alone are being purchased per year while the average person in Sweden has about 15 kilos of clothing. Sadly, 50% of this clothing ends in dumping sites. Apart from that, the average lifespan of clothes is only 3 years while the average turnover of new trends and apparels in the market is roughly 3-4 times a year as clothing designers showcase collections for each season. Added to that is the non-practice of recycling in clothing as a consumer, specifically fashion junkies, tend to discard or throw clothing that are only worn once. We should all keep in mind that textiles are highly recyclable. They can be shredded, melted, and re-spun to be made it into a new piece. Certainly, these options need creativity, and if you don’t have such skill, no need to throw those apparels yet. You can either give them to poor families or donate them to charity. You can also convert them into rags used for polishing or wiping tables and furniture. Looking for plumper pillow? Shred old clothing and stuff them into the pillow.
Undeniably, it is far easier to leave unused clothing to dumping sites, but we should all be aware of the harm that this practice can bring to our environment. Wool emits methane during its decomposition stage, a chemical known for its contributions to global warming while certain fabrics like polyesters don’t break down easily in a certain period of time. Dumping sites have been taking up huge space in our planet while all the man-made and natural activities in landfills cause air, land, and water pollution in numerous ways. Experts noted that if recycling, upcycling, and downcycling of clothing will not double or triple, there may be 45% growth of wastes in 2020. The OECD (Organization for Economic and Co-operation Development) has been doing its best to cut down garment wastes as much as possible as well as turn these rubbishes into resources for something more beautiful in the years to come. It is also in this same goal that creative designers are encouraging other fashion designers and names in the industry to promote and practice eco-fashion.
On the one hand, if you have been searching for world class fashion labels that make use of recycled garment wastes, make sure to check out Nudie Jeans. Renowned for its non-stop production of denims and apparels that speak highly of individualism and character, Nudie Jeans makes use of recycled materials like pre and post consumer wastes. Because the pieces are created in rich and highly intensive methods used in denim culture, the label is most sought after for the soul that it exudes as well as the vast choices that consumers of various lifestyles can pick. Aside from that, Nudie Jeans denims are also long lasting because they turn worn out jeans into new fibers that are made possible with their collaboration with ISKO, a premier in denim manufacturing. Certain fabrics and components are added to the new product before creating them into jeans, resulting in tough, pure indigo denims that are durable, yet soft to the touch. Although the entire process sounds quite breezy, it may not always be the scenario when the company runs out of steady resource of good quality of jeans. In order to reach such goal, Nudie Jeans have a so-called Reuse, Reduce, and Recycle stop that accepts old worn out jeans of their customers and provide discounts to newly bought denims from Nudie Jeans. The said scheme was first developed by Petagonia in 2005, which has since become a trend in some brands including H&M and Marks and Spencer. Undeniably, this method is cumbersome because the company has to take out all buttons, rivets, and the likes before the clothing can be processed. Despite all these, companies like Nudie Jeans are commendable in their feat to minimize textile wastes.