As consumers we tend to have different perceptions of what shopping sustainably means, this is why at ALMAZ we focus on the *more* (learn more here). When it comes to fashion many consumers view thrifting as the easier solution to combatting the unethical treatment of workers, worsening climate change, and the all-around reduction of the waste tied to clothes production. And although, this is *more* sustainable, sometimes we skip a couple of key steps that should be considered and approached first: reduce overall consumption by repurposing and reusing what we already have in our closets!
The key, as it turns out, actually lies in first stepping into your own wardrobe and upcycling what’s there. Upcycling is the process of boosting the quality of the original piece through restyling and customization. It is a fantastic way to reduce the excess of clothes in circulation by creatively reusing. Although this sounds no different than recycling (or even thrifting, extending the life of something we own has a direct impact on energy and water conservation.
Upcycling cuts down on resources needed to create clothing materials, effectively reducing the waste produced, protecting wildlife habitats, and decreasing both air and water pollution. Let’s say, you’ve decided to give the idea a try. You’re probably left with the question: where do I start? Uniquely customizing old pieces for the first time feels intimidating, especially for those of us that don’t consider ourselves to be particularly creatively inclined. The good news is that, contrary to popular belief, there’s much more to upcycling than cutting and sewing.
When it comes to adding your own touch to your items, whether it be to personalize or an upgrade to the aesthetic, the possibilities are vast. Use your own strengths here, if you find yourself more comfortable with a paintbrush in hand, rather than a needle, adding acrylic accents to your clothing might be the perfect place to start. You can choose to free hand your design or use the help of a stencil to add small details to the backs of pockets, jean-jackets, or across the front of plain tops. This is a great way to cover up small stains or stressed areas.
If you’re looking to revamp a piece completely, you’ll find that cutting the item for a full transformation will give it a completely new look. Layered looks are back in so, you might consider opening a previously closed abaya to layer over a skirt or dress for a kimono-inspired look. Or trimming a abaya or dress to turn it into a new top.
The options really are endless when it comes to upcycling. Taking the concept a step further, adding simple and elegant trims to the edges of your abaya, tops, and even your hijabs, may offer the perfect touch when it comes to transforming a piece from casual, to fit for your next special occasion. If you’ve had any experience with tie-dye as a child, you’ll know that adding splashes of color to otherwise plain pieces is a rather fun way to add an expressive, bold touch of originality.
Maybe you’ve decided to try a new color scheme, one inspired by the season. Rather than venturing out to put together an entirely new wardrobe and giving your former favorites away, accent them yourself with dye right at home. But if you’re aiming for more subtle, but equivalently authentic additions, simple embroidery offers exactly that. Unless you’re shooting for more intricate designs, the skill doesn’t require prior experience. If you feel like embroidery might be more your speed, here are some simple but lovely designs to get started with. And if those are still intimidating, iron-on patches offer one of the most fun, inexpensive, and easy methods to uniquely transforming not only t-shirts and jackets, but even totes, hoodies, and just about everything else.
Do you think you’ll give one of these a try? Obviously at some point the life of an item ends like all things, once there – consider thrifting your replacement rather than going for something new; check out the ALMAZ Closet for your Hijab Worthy Wearables.