The Importance of Upcycling

Stateless (NYC)

Stateless (NYC)

Amelia Ernzer, Reporter

Upcycling is taking one product and turning it into something of higher value. This technique has been seen time and time again, specifically in fashion. But why do people do this when new pieces are on the market daily? Continue reading to learn about the importance of upcycling in today’s fashion industry.

Why do people upcycle? Upcycling allows people to repurpose items others see as trash and make it into something new. This technique encourages designers to recycle and reuse out-of-date or second-hand clothing pieces. Reusing clothing pieces keeps waste out of our communities’ landfills and keeps harmful materials out of our soil, such as polyester and plastic. According to, the average American throws out 81.5 pounds of clothing per year. However, as a community, everyone can work together by doing their part and including upcycling into their daily routine. 


Why is upcycling needed in today’s society? Recently there has been a surge in the fast fashion industry and a significant decrease in sustainable shopping. Fast fashion is the mass production of clothing at a low cost; typically, these pieces only account for what’s trending. That said, these low costs cost our environment a much greater price. These pieces are usually produced in factories that release harmful admissions and overwork their employees. And on top of that, the clothing pieces these factories make go out of style quickly, making them more likely to end up in landfills. However, consumers can stop the factories from contributing to fast fashion if they shop sustainably and upcycle their waste. 

How can upcycling be done? Upcycling in fashion can be done in many ways. Some are as simple as dying a shirt with a stain, cropping a pair of shorts, or even going as far as making a dress out of a skirt you got thrifting. Recycling pieces can be done without sewing, cutting, or dying but through how you style the piece as well. Use creativity to make something you no longer like or second-hand into something you’re proud of and will wear.

Upcycling goes beyond just purchasing new clothes; it benefits our communities and our planet. Reusing and recycling waste allows the average consumer to do their part in helping save our environment by actively using creativity and shopping sustainably.