As awareness of environmental issues continues to rise, more and more of us are looking for ways to reduce our impact on the planet.
When it comes to fashion, how and where you shop can make a big difference, not only in terms of the amount of clothing you buy, but what it’s made from too.
By choosing garments made from materials that would otherwise have been thrown away, you’re cutting down on the amount of waste going to landfill and the resources needed for production.
Nowadays you’re spoilt for choice in terms of upcycling brands, with everything from coats to underwear on offer. Here are five brands championing the use of recycled materials in the fashion industry…
1. The Upcycle Movement
Irish Designer, Lynn Haughton founded this award-winning community organisation in 2012 to promote and inspire the rethinking of what we consider as waste.
Lynn spent some time living on a lake activity centre in Ireland and also living in Australia and became aware of the huge volume of wetsuits that get sent to landfill each year. These can not be recycled and do not biodegrade so, to save them from landfill, the Irish woman set about seeing what else could be done with the material.
PANGAIA, the American brand that specialises in basics, last year unveiled a range of puffer jackets filled with wild flower petals. It’s an intriguing alternative to traditional duck or goose down, which has been found to involve cruelty, with some animals being plucked alive or even killed for their feathers.
Called Flwrdwn, PANGAIA’s filling is created using flowers from areas that contribute to habitat restoration, along with a biopolymer, meaning it’s fully biodegradable but as warm as other down or synthetic puffer coats.
Customers have responded enthusiastically to the capsule collection of black and white outerwear – one of the jackets has sold out online.
3. A Different Ball Game
Just launched in the UK, A Different Ball Game uses yarn derived from waste plastic found in oceans to create its products.
"Every year, more than 8 million tons of plastic ends up in our oceans," says founder Linda Ball. "We wanted to not only reduce the amount of plastic that goes into our oceans but do something with the plastic that is already in there.
"One day we had an idea, which was to collect the plastic from our oceans and upcycle it and turn it into high quality garments and that is what we have done."
The brand has launched with a limited range, including a coat, football shirt, and baseball caps, with plans to introduce hoodies in future.
Berlin-based Anekdot creates premium lingerie and underwear from pre-consumer waste, which means leftover textiles that would have otherwise been thrown away.
The brand hunts down surplus fabric from a variety of sources – it may be the result of production miscalculations or a closing down factory – taking inspiration from the materials to handcraft unique pieces that are always limited edition.
An independent British business, which began when its founders participated in a local beach clean-up, Batoko makes swimsuits from 100% recycled plastic waste. Many of the colourful cozzies feature marine mammal and wildlife designs, intended to celebrate the wonders of the natural world.
It’s not just niche, independent brands championing the use of sustainable materials. Adidas has been working with environmental innovators Parley for the Oceans since 2015, on shoes and apparel made with at least 75% recycled ocean plastic.
Adidas has committed to using only recycled polyester by 2024 and has recently unveiled the prototype of its first fully recyclable trainer, slated for release next year.