Lifestyle & Culture

Upcycled Fashions: How To Become A Sustainable Fashionista

Want to make a difference just with what you wear? Josie Small talks about sustainable fashion and how you can contribute to minimising landfill.

First Things First: What IS Sustainable Fashion?

According to Sustainable Fashion Matterz, for a person to be contributing to helping create more fashionably sustainable clothing choices, consumers should be thinking about what they buy, is it worth being bought, and if it can be repurposed. Many sustainable fashion items are made of environmentally friendly material, such as vegan materials, hemp, and non-biodegradable fibres.

Many stores, both physical and online, sell what is deemed as ‘Fast Fashion’. According to fashion blogger, Audrey Stanton, Fast Fashion is perceived to be cheap and trendy clothing that draws inspiration from either the catwalk or celebrity culture. These garments are then mass-produced and sold at major department stores. The reason why it is deemed ‘fast’ is due to the amount of time that it takes for the inspiration to be drawn from the catwalk or celebrities and into retail stores. In full, Fast Fashion allows for accessibly trend duplication, rapid production flows, mixed in with low-quality materials that allow the public to have fashionable clothing at a low cost.

While you may be able to dress like Kim K or wear your favourite pieces at a very inexpensive price, Fast Fashion also leads to environmental issues, as due to the quick turnover found in Fast Fashion, many people will impulsively buy clothes in a heat of the moment, and then they may only wear the clothes once or not at all. According to Stanton, about approximately 11 million tonnes of clothes in the US alone are thrown away, which increases the carbon footprint of the country rapidly. On top of this, due to the garments being manufactured at such a fast rate, it leads to manufacturers using toxic chemicals, dangerous colourings, and synthetic fabrics that aren’t durable, are bad for the environment, and can even react with an individual’s skin upon wearing the garment.

Thankfully, in most recent years, Slow or Sustainable Fashion has come into play. While these clothing pieces may not be as inexpensive as some of the Fast Fashion pieces, here are some tips and tricks that you can use in order to slowly make an environmental change when it comes to choosing where to shop or even recreating looks with clothes you already have.

Op Shops

These are fantastic for finding some hidden gems, and what makes it even better is that it won’t cost you an arm and a leg to buy these preloved goodies! Op Shop finds are also good for repurposing and a PERFECT way to keep your mind busy throughout quarantine. Not too nifty with sewing? All you would really need is some sharpened scissors to repurpose old pants into some cute shorts. Not only are you able to purchase goods from there, but you can also donate some of your old clothes in order for other people to have the opportunity to do the same. Win-win!

Cream on Vintage

While it isn’t quite possible at the moment to visit an Op Shop, there are some other alternatives. Cream on Vintage is one of Newcastle’s uncovered treasures, consisting of various retro and timeless pieces that have been upcycled. Each garment tells a different story and has its own little quirky characteristics. These items have been hand-picked and there is nothing identical in the stores. While it is a little more costly in comparison to your local Salvos, they offer a unique experience unlike any other. The Cream on Hunter store is located on Darby St, Cooks Hill.

Sobelle Living

Since its opening in 2016, Sobelle Living not only provides some cool threads, they also supply homewares, jewellery, and kids and women’ clothing. Ideally, it is very different from your average gift shop, and also not only allows people to support a local business, but it also helps make a significant difference to the environment. Sobelle Living is located in Elder Street in Lambton, NSW.


Still not convinced? Well did you know that H&M has recently brought out a sustainable women’s fashion line? For H&M’s 2019 Fall Collection, they had used recycled materials and/or materials that have less impact on the environment in order to create a very wearable line of clothing for women. This shift in the business model of H&M shows that they want to also help save the environment whilst also creating popular clothes from pre-loved materials. On top of this, H&M are online as well for your ease and convenience. Go figure!


Feature Image by Alice Kjoller, Yak Media Designer

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