Upcycling – What is it and why is it important within the fashion world
In Portuguese, the term upcycling means “reuse on top” and emerged within the scope of circular economy practices, whose aim is to educate consumers to enjoy their material goods to the limit of their capabilities.
Upcycling is a philosophy and a way of being in life that all people should adopt in the face of recurring natural disasters that are observed on our planet and the evident shortage of natural resources.
Main advantages of upcycling:
- Promotes a conscious consumption and a sense of environmental responsibility;
- Reduces excessive consumption and waste of material goods;
- Decreases pollution;
- Reduces the consumption of new raw materials;
- Reduces the use of water and the consumption of natural energies;
- Reduces the emission of greenhouse gases;
- Extends the life of material goods already produced;
- Boosts the circular economy.
Regarding the fashion industry, we know that it is considered the second most polluting industry in the world and that it has generated very serious problems for the environment and human beings, especially since the increase of fast-fashion consumption and the consequent increase of waste.
This way, upcycling arises in the fashion world through the need to educate its consumers to adopt a responsible attitude.
Upcycling can be applied in the fashion industry by reinventing a piece of clothing, reselling, renting or repairing a piece of clothing that at some point ceased to be of interest to its first consumer. And, it is important to point that in the fashion world, upcycling is not restricted to clothes, and may include the rental or reinvention of accessories such as bags, shoes or jewellery.
This way, we can conclude by stating that upcycling is a new form of fashion consumption, which goes hand in hand with other sustainability movements in fashion, such as eco fashion and slow fashion, and which aims to maximize the use and the life of garments that already exist.