Upcycling: The sustainable fashion trend we love!

We all want to do our bit for sustainability. Now the growing trend of upcycling makes sustainability uber stylish and super easy too!

And now that trend has taken a step into the essential world of sunglasses, when Arise Collective joined forces with WWF-Australia to help protect and conserve Australia’s marine wildlife.

The result? A pair of fashionable, sustainable sunglasses was made, and one of the last commercial gill nets was removed from the Northern Great Barrier Reef.

Roughly just 20% of the world’s clothing is collected for reusing or recycling and more than 8 million tonnes of plastic, including harmful fishing nets, end up in our oceans every year.

What is upcycling?

Upcycling is all about reusing things to create an updated product. So old, unused materials or items get repurposed into something better than before. It’s a little like recycling. However, recycling is transforming a used product into a new version of the same thing. For example, recycling junk mail into paper to use for printing. Recycling can happen over and over again until the material is no longer usable. Upcycling is using different products to make something new and even better. For example, upcycling clothes into shopping bags!

Why should you upcycle?

  1. Reduce waste. Roughly 35% of materials in the supply chain end up as waste according to the Global Fashion Agenda and the Boston Consulting Group.
  2. Reduce your environmental footprint. According to the Global Fashion Agenda and the Boston Consulting Group, only 20% of the world’s clothing is collected for reuse or recycling.
  3. Create one-of-a-kind products by upcycling things yourself or buying them from companies who create things from recycled materials.
  4. Upcycling can save you money! At its most basic form, when you upcycle something yourself you can actually save money.
  5. Encourage businesses to continue to upcycle and adopt sustainable fashion measures.

WWF upcycled sunglasses

Upcycling fashion

Upcycling in fashion and creating ethical, sustainable clothing is becoming more of the norm lately. As younger generations lead the charge in demanding eco-friendly fashion and environmental first initiatives from brands, we can expect to see more recycled fashion in the future.

Some famous brands leading the charge in the fashion space include:

  • Patagonia. The outdoor clothing brand leads the sustainable fashion world having started using recycled plastic bottles to make their garments back in 1993!
  • Urban Outfitters. Have a sub-clothing line that revamps deadstock materials that typically end up in landfill into unique clothing pieces.
  • WWF-Australia x Arise Collective. The conservation organisation and eyewear brand joined forces to create upcycled sunglasses – Reef Cycle. They upcycled old fishing nets from the Great Barrier Reef and cut, melted and moulded them into sustainable sunglasses. Available only at Vision Direct Australia, you can discover more about Reef Cycle here now.

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