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A Global Guide To Upcycling And Recycling Your Clothes


Inevitably, there will be pieces in our wardrobe that we no longer wear – whether it’s because they no longer fit, or they’ve become worn down over the years. But fear not. While textile recycling is still quite rare, there are initiatives which are leading the way. A clever designer like the New York-based Emily Nam can turn your old pants into a dress, where the UK-based company Kimai can recycle the gold and stones from one piece of jewellery into another. Then there are labels like Eileen Fisher and COS, which will accept and resell gently used styles – some will even offer a credit off your next purchase when you donate. Explore these options below.

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Your Eileen Fisher clothing never needs to be thrown out. Since 2009, the company has taken back over 1.9 million pieces of their own clothing to resell through their Renew platform.

Since 2021, Eva Joan has been refreshing old garments with creative, funky embellishments at their downtown New York shop.

Designer Priya Ahluwalia launched an app in partnership with Microsoft in 2021 that enables members of the public to donate their used clothes in exchange for store credits for her brand’s e-commerce site.

This retail space specialises in turning one’s waste into futuristic fashion, by breathing new life into pre-loved clothing.

First launched in 2013, H&M’s Garment Collecting programme aims to keep used clothing in circulation for longer. Simply hand in your old clothes, by any brand and in any condition, and receive a thank you voucher to use towards your next purchase. The Swedish retailer works with I:CO to organise your clothes for resale, reuse and recycling.

This personal consultation service for upcycling garments encourages collaboration between its community of customers and designers, who must meet Reture’s criteria, based on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, before signing up.

The founders of Swedish Stockings, Linn Frisinger and Nadja Forsberg, have launched a recycling club aimed at cleaning up the hosiery industry. Simply send in your old tights and stockings and receive a 10 percent discount on your next purchase from the brand.

Ship bags of unwanted clothing off to Thrift+ and the online platform will catalogue and sell it for you in exchange for charity donations, Farfetch credit or both.

Launched in 2022, Balenciaga’s Re-Sell program gives its pieces a second life. Currently available in the US, UK, Italy, France and Singapore, you can book a collection or in-store drop-off for your items. Once sold, you can cash out or receive a store credit worth 20 per cent more.

All jewellery deserves to be worn, says London-based brand Kimai, which redesigns old pieces, by recycling the metal and using existing stones, into new treasures for its clients.

London-based designer Helen Kirkum not only provides a bespoke footwear upcycling service on her website, but she also offers a Sneaker Sculpture Workshop where participants can learn to create their own.

London-based ELV Denim now offers made-to-measure and bespoke services to further advance their waste-free production strategy, while enticing customers to buy less and better.

The American intimates brand Knickey’s recycling program will accept used undergarments and turn them into new materials such as insulation. Those who donate get 15 percent off their next purchase.

Upparel is Australia’s premiere textile collector from individuals and businesses alike. A certified B-Corp, it has diverted over 1 million kilograms of textiles from landfills.

After collecting textiles from schools, residential buildings, offices, and more in the TriState area, WeCycle then either recycles or repurposes them.

Revive your garments with Sydney’s Cullachange, which will dye your clothes a fresh new colour.



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