23.8 billion pounds of clothes and shoes are thrown into the garbage each year in the United States. This is equivalent to ~ 73 pounds per person. (E Cline, The Conscious Closet 2019)
Americans are purchasing fast fashion at an increasing rate, and second hand dealers are overwhelmed by an influx of inferior goods.
MobileWebsite Under Construction
If you wish to view this page, please source a desktop computer
they only sell an estimated 20-25 percent of donated goods.
WHEN YOU DROP OFF YOUR USED CLOTHING AT VARIOUS CHARITIES,
THE REST IS SOLD TO TEXTILE RECYCLERS OR EXPORTED OVERSEAS
DID YOU KNOW?
Clothing can be easily cycled back into your closet through minor changes
The most sustainable garments are already hanging in YOUR CLOSET.
Finding problems with your clothes? You can fix them!
THRIFT SHOPS provide a bevy of low cost materials for creative inspiration. Look for your favorite colors, fabrics, and details. Then turn your finds into one of a kind pieces!
Use what you already own
Make smart, long term purchases
Shop your local thrift shops
Swap clothes with friends and family
Support brands that are doing good by the environment and paying their garment workers a living wage
HOW TO THINK IN REVERSE
Learning to look for potential
You have more power to alter your clothing than you might think! Whether you have a scrappy Do-It-Yourself attitude or you get on a first name basis with your local tailor, your clothing can absolutely be refashioned into your new favorite pieces. Whether shopping your closet or your favorite thrift stores, it's worth the ask: What changes would make this garment wearable for me? How can I make this uniquely my own?
Things you have the power to change: fit, silhouette, hem length, practicality, detailing (and sometimes color!)
Your only limits are between the seam lines
Heavy beaded trim weighs down the hem of this feather lightweight dress
Ladder Trim Blouse
This oversized blouse was taken in through a creative addition of ladder trim. Excess trim was also added to the front chest as Dadaistic cut out decoration
Beige dress dyed and bifurcated into a jumpsuit
Unsightly (and uncomfortable!) elements can be easily removed with a seam ripper
As a size 12 dress, this garment is a snore, but the drape of the beaded halter looks too good to give away
Knit hem unravelled into a fringe crop top
Arguably the most talked about part of any dress
One advantage of buying thrift shopped dresses is that many of them have floor length hems. By shortening the hem to a modern length, the extra fabric can be used for other projects including pockets.
Textile art and decoration
Pin Woven Pants
Silhouette was altered by pin weaving extra fabric to box out the shape of the pant
Visibly Mended Sweater Dress
Visible mending makes this dress a showstopper. Additionally, excess fabric from a removed pocket lengthened the hem ~2"
Dip dyed Dress
The symmetrical water marks on this dress were made by strategic dip dyeing into coffee
Playing with color
Every garment dyes differently depending upon its fiber content and current dye color/saturation. Natural fibers like cotton, silk, and wool take the dye more readily than synthetics like polyester, spandex, and nylon. Brands like Rit and Dylon work well with varying results on natural and synthetics alike. However, weighing the environmental impacts of these dyes is a personal choice each re-fashioner must make.
Dyeing at home is subjectively fun. Whether playing with tie-dye or aiming for an even, flat color, the practice of color theory on fiber can be a delightful craft. While disposal of your dye provides an environmental problem, it's important not to take the weight of environmental guilt upon the shoulders of the individual rather than a flawed production system. This is a personal choice of weighing pros and cons.
Dye practices in the global fashion industry contribute to its standing as the number two most polluting industry behind oil.
Alternatively, natural dyeing is on the rise in sustainable crafty communities. However, the process is more technical and expensive than synthetic dyeing. The rules of natural dyeing value the scientific method and specific chemical recipes in contrast to the ease of Rit basic color theory. If you are interested in natural dyeing, I recommend you take a class to get started. It is an undertaking! On the other hand, natural dye stuff could possibly be gathered from your backyard. It could be your new favorite creative process!
It's much easier to take a garment in than to let it out
When sourcing secondhand, the odds of finding the perfect fit are slim. But don't lose hope! Going larger and having the garments taken in is a fairly simple process.
Reshaping the shoulders after removing 80s shoulder pads
Paperbag Tie Dress
Taken in from a size 12 to a size 4
Slouchy boyfriend jeans turned boxy mid rise
This requires a great fabric match or some serious design thinking
Most garments these days aren't made to be altered. This means the standard measly 3/8" seam allowance won't give you a lot of wiggle room for expansion. Instead, gussets, panels, and waistbands can be disguised into your clothing for an intentional design that looks original.
Warning: This requires a bit more creativity!
Hem extended ~6"
from hoochie to professional
When buyers remorse has you regretting justifying that smaller size