Reduce, reuse, recycle. The three Rs have been making their way into the fashion world with new force in recent years, and we’d like to share a couple of brands that are using recycled materials to keep waste to a minimum while creating beautifully unique products. From high-fashion looks to eco-conscious denim to upcycled handbags made from airplane seats, these designers will inspire you in more ways than one.
1. tonlé: We wrote about this Cambodia-based game-changer last month, but they are quickly expanding their zero-waste brand made entirely from textile scraps, creating a manufacturing chain that’s efficient and sustainable.
2. Titania Inglis: This designer is all about the edgy and minimalist fashions, but also gets her materials from sustainable sources like dead wool stock from New York’s garment factories. She also creates clothing that can be worn in multiple ways to maximize each piece and minimize the need to fill up your closet with things you don’t wear that often.
3. Matt & Nat: Good luck getting anyone to believe that the luxe handbags and wallets in this line are vegan and that their linings are made of 100% recycled bottles. When ethical accessory purveyor Matt & Nat isn’t celebrating their coworkers’ birthdays with vegan cupcakes and encouraging their customers to upcycle, they’re sourcing sustainable design materials like cork and rubber.
4. Study NY: Brooklyn designer Tara St. James of Study NY strives for no-waste production and incorporates recycled materials into her designs.
5. Carrie Parry: Using environmentally responsible materials and recycled fabrics, Carry Parry’s designs are feminine, preppy and classic. She won an award in 2011 for her ethical fashion efforts. We love this pair of polka-dot ikat-printed blouses so much that we’ll take ’em both.
6. Patagonia: Big brands have a lot of social capital, and we love seeing them use it for good. Patagonia’s Common Threads Partnership helps reduce environmental impact in a variety of ways. They first make clothes that are intended to last a long, long time — they even have a blog called Worn Wear that shares stories about adventuring in their gear (often over decades and even generations). They will repair clothes and buy back your gently used clothes. Once a piece of clothing is totally spent, they’ll recycle it to make new fabric. They have drop-off stations in every store.
7. Looptworks: Looptworks identifies salvage opportunities and then recycles materials into stylish new products. Their collections are always unique, like Project Luv Seat, which repurposed 43 acres of leather from Southwest Airlines seats into a one-of-a-kind bag collection.
8. G-Star Raw Jeans: Pharrell is collaborating with G-Star Raw to curate a line of denim made from recycled plastic salvaged from the ocean. The plastic bits are woven into a hybrid cotton-plastic material called Bionic Yarn. From that, they create some pretty rad jeans for both ladies and gents.
What other brands incorporate recycled materials into their process? Let us know in the comments.