What is Upcycled Clothing?

In this blog post we are looking at what is upcycled clothing? You may have heard phrases such as fast fashion. This has become a huge problem for the environment. Clothing is getting cheaper to buy and fashion trends are moving very quickly. This makes the average consumer throw away their current clothes and buys the next best thing. Obviously, this means there is a huge amount of clothing going to landfill. Clothing materials such as polyester can take many years to break down. Another problem with certain clothing materials, one example is cotton, uses lots of water in order to manufacture a single shirt. In addition to this, you can find more information here.

What is Upcycled Clothing? – What does it mean to upcycle clothing?

Upcycle clothing means any piece of clothing which is going to be remade or refashioned into either a new type of clothing or made into a new version of the same type of clothing. For example, someone might make some patchwork denim into a pair of jeans or you could also upcycle a shirt into some summery shorts. As we always say, with upycling anything is possible.

Here are a few examples of upcycled clothing:

These amazing hats made from unused shirts and overstock fabrics.

Here are some fabulous scrunchies from fabric offcuts.

Shorts made from an old tablecloth.

There are many options when it comes to what is upcycled clothing. Aswell as the creations you can see above, it’s not just clothing that can be upcycled. There are many upcycler’s out there who design and create lots of different accessories aswell as clothing. In addition to upcycled clothing, jewellery making is a very popular hobby and countless materials have been used to make jewellery.

Jewellery and Accessories

When it comes to the advantages of what is upcycled clothing, jewellery and accessories forms a big part of the effort to becoming more environmentally friendly. This is because jewellery making is much more versatile than fashion design and dressmaking. For example, for clothing, it’s highly likely you will require some fabric. However, with jewellery there are countless materials which can be utilised. Both jewellery and accessories such as bags can be created with loads of different materials and techniques. Some examples are forming cutlery into bracelets or handbags made from inner tubes of a tyre.

What is the difference between recycling and upcycling?

As you can see from our post, upcycling vs recycling. There are a few subtle differences between the two terms. However, both are trying to work to improve the environmental state of the planet. The main difference between recycling and upcycling is that upcycling usually creates a product of higher value. In contrast to this, recycling usually creates many small products of lower value. Recycling is more similar to downcycling with respect of breaking down materials in order to create low value products. See our post on benefits of upcycling for more information about downcycling. We truly believe upcycling can become as popular as recycling currently is and there are so many amazing benefits to upcycling.

What is Upcycled Clothing? – How do you upcycle kids clothes?

As we always say here with upcycling, literally anything is possible. You can make kids clothing out of adults clothing, you can use other materials to make clothing and you can use old kids clothing to make something else. When it comes to upcycling clothing, the possibilities are endless. What is upcycle clothing? And kids clothing in particular. Here are a few examples:

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Here is an upcycled tablecloth into a skirt from Vanessa Vancour.

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Upcycled T-shirt by Kelly Hogaboom

Why Is Upcycling So Popular?

Upcycling has became very popular in the last few years. This has been for many reasons. The biggest reason is the increase in the popularity of improving the environment and upcycling is a huge advocate for this. It’s obvious that we as humans are using too many of the planets finite resources and upcycling can help reduce this. Upcycling is a great way to stop this by throwing less things away. This will stop as many things going to landfill.

However, this isn’t the only the reason why upcycling has became so popular. For example, as we mentioned earlier in, what is upcycled clothing? We can see that upcycling clothes is a great way to save money. By upcycling clothing instead of buying new all the time lots of money can be saved. On average, t-shirt prices at a typical high street retailer could cost around ten or fifteen pounds. If you love your fashion or have children you will be able to save a lot from the process of upcycling.

Another fantastic reason why upcycling is so popular is because it’s so fun! Upcycling creates such a sense of a achievement when completing a project you just cannot beat. For this reason, upcyclers keep on coming back for more! In addition to this, upcycling is a totally different hobby to most which usually involve a screen. Whether that’s a TV screen, computer screen or mobile phone, upcycling is one of the hobbies which requires none. This is another reason upcycling is so great!

How do you reuse old clothes?

There isn’t just one method for how to reuse old clothes and make them into what is upcycled clothing. Due to the endless possibilites of making upcycled clothing you will find hundreds of youtube tutorials on how to upcycle old clothes. On the other hand, you could always just make it up.

When it comes to what is upcycled clothing and reusing old clothes, an example of reusing old clothes is to make mens shirts into cushion covers. Remember that just because you are upcycling old clothes doesn’t mean you need to reporduce clothes. There are loads of options on turning your old clothes into something other than more clothes. Upcycling is an art as much as anything else so not everything needs a specific way of doing things. All upcycled products are unique to the person who made it. However, if you are stuck on what to do or need some inspiration, head over to the forum and more specifically the clothing and accessories forum for more info.


If you are a beginner please check out the forum and ask a question, Iā€™m sure many people can help out with queries you may have. Hopefully you will have a better idea of what kind of project you want to start with and which forum to post on if you get stuck. Meanwhile if you are a more experienced upcycler then I hope you have gained some inspiration to work on a new area of upcycling or an idea for your next project and also help answer some forum questions if you have the time.

Please head on over to the forum to ask questions and also see our other blog posts on everything upcycling.

Furthermore, check out our instagram page @UpcyclerLife to see inspiring projects and #upcyclerlife for a chance of a feature.


2 thoughts on “What is Upcycled Clothing?”

  1. This is totally my passion. And I am excited to see what else we can all recycle and upcycle to make this world better.

  2. We couldn’t agree more! After creating this forum and seeing what many upcyclers have to offer, there really is no limit to what we can make use of and reuse šŸ™‚

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