Eco-Friendly, Upcycled Clothes


There are a lot of people dealing with upcycled fabrics and clothes. In fact, quite of few of these places have found a home on Etsy and other similar sites that put customers in touch with small craftsmen. There is a large market out there for clothing that is made out of recycled fabrics. They are quickly becoming one of the most popular overall fashions in the country and they are also lowering in price as demand grows. If you are interested in buying yourself some recycled clothes, you may find yourself being a little picky at times. After all, you don’t know who was wearing those old clothes last, and that can have a tendency to freak some people out. The best way to avoid worrying about something like this is to simply buy from a reputable dealer or a reputable clothing creator.

Zasra Shop at Etsy

There are a lot of great shops on Etsy that let you buy upcycled clothes, but the stuff being sold at the Zasra shop in the Etsy marketplace is taking it to another level. A lot of people simply make stuff that “looks” like clothes out of older clothes. They feel like they can bring in customers no matter what the clothes look like since the fabrics are upcycled and that’s what customers “really” want. Zasra doesn’t take this tact. This store actually provides you with clothing that will be something that you’d be proud to wear for more than just environmental reasons. The selection here is great and you’ll like what you see.

Anita Spero Design Shop at Etsy

Also on Etsy, you will find the Anita Spero Design shop to be a high-class operation with a lot of great upcycled clothes. The clothes here are stylish and they can be worn for any occasion from formal events to lounging around at home. This shop really makes it easy to shop with an environmentally-friendly mindset.

Newspaper Earrings

stack of newspapers

I recently had an anniversary with my wife (only two years, hold your applause), and I wanted to get her some interesting stuff to mark the occasion. She’s big into recycled clothes and jewelry and stuff like that, so I figured one of the things I’d get here would be recycled paper earrings. They looked cool and kind of funky like her, so I figured I’d give it a shot. I’m glad I did, and so is she. This is a great way to reuse something old and make something really neat out of it.

For one thing, who the hell knew that you could even do this in the first place? I never even thought that you could ever use newspaper to make earrings. I mean, I’m no crafty son of a gun or anything, but I consider myself to be a fairly worldly type of person and I had never even thought that it was possible to do something like this. Upon further inspection of the process, I felt a little embarrassed that I was so thoroughly impressed by this whole thing, but I stand by my amazement. It’s a good idea, and good ideas deserve an appropriate level of amazement to mark the occasion.

So, here’s the background. The company that makes these Recycled Newspaper Earrings is a co-op in Cambodia. They work to put kids in school and keep them off the streets. The newspaper you’re wearing was actually something that they found on a street in Cambodia. They use a water-based varnish on the paper to keep it in the ball shape– but it’s water-based so it doesn’t agitate your skin or anything. I thought it was pretty great that they were not only helping to keep Cambodia clean but that they were also working to help kids get an education that they wouldn’t have access to otherwise. No matter how you slice it, this is a cool little piece of kitsch that actually looks cool.

Scrappy (Not Crappy) Scarves

different color scarves

Yeah, I thought it said crappy at first. I thought, what a horrible marketing schema to use… but man I was wrong. Upon further inspection, these things are actually pretty interesting, and by “these things” I mean Scrappy Scarves by the Scrappy Scarves company. They’re a Canadian company, which I’ve been glad to find since I know a bunch of people reading this blog are from Canada, and I’m sure you want to know about goods being made in your country. So here it is the Scrappy Scarf.

The name is sort of a double-edged sword. On the one hand, there is the fact that it’s made out of old scrap cloth. On the other hand, they’re built to last. Scrappy, as it were. The great thing about these scarves is that you will literally have a one-of-a-kind scarf that will never be found elegantly draped around the neck of another person. This is something that I personally look for in just about anything I ever buy. I mean, if I’m going to be spending money on something, why on Earth would I want something that looks identical to thousands of other things? Especially when it comes to clothes, this kind of automatic individualism is a really great thing to have as an extra feature.

The quality is nothing to shake a stick at, either. Too many people seem to have it in their heads that an article of clothing made out of recycled clothes will just fall apart around them. Not so with this product. In fact, they seem to overcompensate for the old fabric by making sure to reinforce the joints of fabric to make sure that the whole thing holds together nicely. It doesn’t detract from how attractive these scarves are, and they will go with just about any type of outfit you can think of. Whether you like to dress a little funky or super-straight, you’ll be able to get a scarf that looks great with what you’re wearing. All that for a pretty decently reasonable price when compared to other types of “artisan” green clothes out there.

Shopping for Eco-Friendly Clothing and Accessories

rack of clothing
Here are some tips for shopping green, eco-friendly, and responsible for clothing and accessories:
Select basic clothing and accessories made from organic cotton and wool. Look for fabrics like hemp and linen which come from naturally pest-resistant plants. Check with the manufacturer or retailer to determine how mush post-treatment was done to the fabrics. Bamboo has been grouped into the natural textile category with hemp, organic cotton and linen however a recent Wall Street Journal article indicates that bamboo is actually less “eco” and “sustainable” than it seems. The bamboo used in textiles has been heavy manipulated — they actually use the same process that recycles wood scraps into viscose or rayon (the journalist hints that bamboo fabric is actually rayon). Actually, the FTC sued some of the bamboo-clothing manufacturers in 2009 for false labeling.
Seek out wildcrafted silk. Naturally harvested silk is much more humane than the standard process. Poor silkworms…
Avoid synthetics all together like polyester and nylon. They don’t breathe and are made from non-renewable sources.
When possible, select unbleached clothing with low-impact dyes. Many clothing and accessory companies are starting to introduce more natural processing. Some companies to check out our Live Life Organics, Recycleatee, Kasper Organics, 3 Clothing Company.
Avoid fabrics treated with stain guards, water repellents, and anti-wrinkle agents.
Take your clothing to a greener cleaner for wet cleaning or CO2 cleaning.
Select vintage leather, recycled materials, faux leather, and cloth handbags.
Choose high-quality, long-lasting leather items if you wanted to choose leather. Avoid leather made from skins of endangered species (or all species if you’re dressing vegan). Try to avoid PVC accessories although the faux leather products available are often made from this material.
Do your research to find out which retailers use sweatshop labor and stop shopping there. Maybe even let them know why. Companies try to keep this information private so it is difficult to find out if they use sweatshop labor or not. Do keep in mind that even clothing “Made in the U.S.A” may not guarantee that workers were paid at least minimum wage in decent conditions. The U.S. Department of Labor found that 67% of garment factories in Los Angeles and 63% in New York violate wage and overtime laws. 98% of garment factories in Los Angeles have workplace health and safety problems serious enough to lead to severe injuries or death.
Select jewelry made from conflict-free, recycled, and sustainable materials.
And…  always bring your cotton tote to carry your purchases.
(Sources: Green Guide, Wall Street Journal, Vegan Peace)

Reusable Pillowcase Tote

two white pillows

Reusable bags are great, but
sometimes when we are trying to watch our pennies we end up opting
for the bags at the stores that aren’t exactly on the eco-friendly
side. A nice remedy for this is to make your own eco-friendly
reusable bag. One easy way to do this is by recycling one of your old
pillowcases or finding a super cheap single organic pillowcase.
Creative Kismet has supplied a pattern online in order to show
everyone how to do just this. Please go to Creative Kismet’s
website in order to properly follow these instructions due to the fact that
they have pictures to go along with the set by step instructions.
Good luck all!

Here is what you will need:

Cutting mat or nice large space to work on
Scissors (rotary cutter optional)
Thrifted pillowcase (any size), washed and ironed
Sewing machine, thread, pins and sewing needles(optional)
Hot iron
About one hour of time and some good music

1. Turn pillowcase inside-out and fold
in half long-ways.

2. Cut a 3-4 inch strip off of one
side. Save the long strip for the straps.

3. Open and lay flat. Pin together the open sides. You will be
sewing this together in the following manner, leaving a 6 inch (15cm)
gap in the center.

4. Cut a 2-inch square (a) off
of all four corners (b) making sure to measure from the folded edge
and seam, not the rough edge.

5. Following these instructions, you are going to square off each corner (c).

6. When all four corners are
sewn, flip the bag right side out through the open gap and sew the
gap closed (hand or machine– I used my machine for this). Now you
will have a completely sewn shut, empty pillowcase with squared-off

7. Now the fun (and kinda hard to
explain) part… Fold the pillowcase into itself by stuffing the just
sewn together gap-end into the bottom of the
opposite end. The sewn together gap-end will be the
inside bottom of your bag(d) and the squared-off corners will meet
together on each side(e).

8. Once all the corners meet(f), iron and then sew around the top
edge. Now you are ready for the straps

9. Cut off the big hemmed end
off of the remaining strip. Fold the strip in half long-ways and cut
again. These will be your two straps. They should be 12-16inches long

10. With the right sides facing in, sew
together the short ends of each strap, leaving one long side open.

11. Trim the corners(g) and turn
right-side out.

12. Following the picture above, fold
the ends towards the inside so that the raw edges are tucked
inside(h-j). Once it is straight and flat(k), press with an iron and
sew together(l-m).

13. Lastly, sew one strap to each side of your bag with big
criss-cross squares(n) and you are done!!!