As we move onto adopting sustainable fashion, behind the glitz and glam of the fashion world, lies one major issue that needs to be addressed, our fashion consumption pattern. With the covid-19 pandemic wrecking havoc across sectors, the fashion industry faced a wild number of challenges.
This has led to a need of restructuring all our processes, right from manufacturing to consumption. The conversation has changed from the freewheeling kind about fashion weeks and fads, to meaningful dialogue over sustainability and the perils of mass-production.
As of now, the winds of fashion seems to be moving towards conscious consumerism and a growing phenomenon – upcycling. We got in touch with Jyotsna Chaman, Co-Founder, Vaaya to explain how upcycling is the trend of the moment. Here’s what she had to say.
What is upcycling?
Contrary to popular beliefs, upcycling and recycling cannot be used interchangeably. While recycling refers to the process where an old product is used to make new ones, upcycling is a much deeper process – the creative use of an item previously considered as waste, to create an entirely new product that can be used further.
From the perspective of designers, one may see a piece of cloth that screams ‘fashion’, but maybe insufficient in itself to create the kind of clothes that can be used. Here is where upcycling comes into the picture as it is a much greener and ethical trend than recycling or second-hand clothing.
Upcycling is the go-to option for designers and other top-notch brands that are on the lookout for sustainable solutions to reduce their impact on the planet.
As we progress into a more consumer-aware scenario, many famous labels and fashion brands are adopting this solution for a simple reason. Not only is it sustainable, but it also adds value to garment waste and churns out high-quality fashion pieces.
Upcycling is not a new concept. In 2018, major fashion brands faced the fire for their heavy contribution to waste production. In fact, in the same year, the fashion industry recorded a total waste of 4% globally, a number staggeringly close to the waste outputs of major industries like cement and livestock.
One way fashion brands are now trying to reduce their waste output is by practicing upcycling and moving along the path of sustainability. In India, upcycling has been a part of desi Indian households since forever.
Even today, upcycling is a way of life of people in rural India, where access to fashion or even raw material is often bound by budgetary constraints. Most Indian women are masters in the art of creatively, often reusing clothes to minimize waste.
Even though the term has originated in India, the trend has been up and about in the country for a long time.
How can you upcycle?
Upcycling, also known as creative reuse, is the process of transforming by-products, waste materials, useless, or unwanted products into new materials or products perceived to be of greater quality, such as artistic value or environmental value. So look around, repurpose, refurbish and redesign.
Considering that the fashion world’s way ahead is paved by reinventing the past, one thing is clear- upcycling is here to stay. Tell us what are your views on upcycling in the comment section below.