I still get birthday money from my Dad. I’m 53. I used to just put the check in the bank and add it to our resources to pay bills etc., but, you know, screw that. It’s for me! This is what I bought last August.
Geez I need a trim. Stat.
It’s from Picnicwear-an upcycle business that uses old terry cloth towels to make clothes, hats, bags, and other cool things. I’ve been eyeing it for a while and made the purchase when I got the birthday check. It’s one of a kind. I love it. I am counting the days until Summer. Again.
Look at the inside!
Upcycling is taking something already in existence, like old towels from the 1950s, and using them to create something new, like my hat. As with resale, you don’t use any new raw materials for upcycling. The materials are already there and—unlike resale— someone has reassembled them into a new product. It is a great way to purchase unique items while leaving the environment unscathed. Just like resale!
Dani Des Roches is the founder of Picnicwear. She writes on her website why she started her business.
My first hat was made as an "isolation creation" in the early days of the pandemic having a couple of vintage towels remain unsold from my vintage shop. I have always been inspired by the garments made by women in the 60s and 70s from towels they bought at department stores like Sears, but I really wanted to think outside the box in terms of what I made with those materials! As a textile nerd, what keeps me inspired is the textures and richness of the towels I source - they were all hand-loomed and each one is incredibly unique. Just laying out the pattern pieces and determining what portions of the textile to highlight gives me such satisfaction. Having worked in the fast fashion world for a decade, designing new product was something I had to do quickly and often. It has been a welcome challenge to learn to approach things slowly and with more intention. Creating fewer designs producing fewer items all together.
PRODUCING FEWER ITEMS ALL TOGETHER... Was I separated from this woman at birth? Was she my conjoined twin?
Talk about the opposite of fast fashion. She is conscious of the amount of items she produces. The items she makes are from materials already out there that inspire her. She recognizes the beauty in her materials, the history of her materials. She decides which materials to use and how to use them. It is art!
There are many other upcycled fashion sites out there and I encourage you to explore. We actually had a great sweatshirt on Second Serve, that was an upcycled creation by Zero Waste Daniel. It was hot pink with a huge monstera leaf on it, and now enjoyed by Anna in Virginia. I love it when our customers model their purchases!
The idea that Zero Waste Daniel created some fashion from inspirational materials lying around is great. That someone bought it instead of buying something new in a store is also great. That someone then donated it to resale and another person bought it, well, that's awesome-est. It can be done people! We can live this way!
(This is me when I think about upcycled fashion on resale sites)
So If you're not saving your birthday money for resale, shop upcycled! Here are some other online stores with upcycled products:
Check out these awesome pants!
I'll leave you to it.