10 Coolest Upcycling Brands To Have On Your Radar

Style and sustainability go hand in hand with these.

As more and more brands adopt social and environmentally-responsible practices in their production cycles, sustainability has proven to be much more than just a buzzword: it has become key for the future of fashion. One of the most famous sayings when it comes to sustainable fashion states that “the most sustainable pieces of clothing are those that already exist” – and along with thrifting, upcycling falls right into that category.

Upcycling is the process of repurposing “old” products as “brand-new” pieces and can be done using a variety of materials, from clothes and deadstock textiles (leftover fabrics of other brands) to tapestry and reworked components. The practice has been adopted by big labels such as Alexander McQueen and Marine Serre, and smaller brands and designers have also been creating unique, eye-catching upcycled collections. To celebrate Earth Day, V selected 10 of our favorites:

DOS Swim

Via Dos Swim.

Founded in 2019 by Shay Johnson and Paula Hess, former Opening Ceremony producer and designer, respectively, DOS focuses on unique swim and beachwear creations that have the least impact possible on the planet. Many of the designs are made from repurposed materials, such as the Playa Hat, a one-of-a-kind bucket hat made from ‘70s vintage towels, and the Souvenir wrap top, which is made of vintage scarves. Learn more on DosSwim.com

Girl of the Earth 

Via Girl of the Earth.

With the promising tagline, “you’re not shopping— you’re recycling,” this New York City-based brand creates “few-of-a-kind” pieces made of vintage textile remains that date back from 1930 to 1989, now translated into fashionable pieces for the 2020s. “I grew up in downtown Manhattan to nutty antique-dealer parents, so I’ve inherited and cultivated relationships with vintage suppliers, flea market owners, eccentric grandmas, and just plain hoarders, who I buy gorgeous old fabric remnants from,” founder Ruby Sinclair explains on the website. Shop it at GirlOfTheEarth.com.

Christy Dawn

Via Christy Dawn.

Los Angeles-based brand Christy Dawn has gathered a significant following with its tranquil, cottagecore vibes and the commitment to “honor Mother Earth.” The highlights are its delicate, flowy dresses made using deadstock fabric, and the brand also offers an organic cotton line. Shop at ChristyDawn.com.

Lara Intimates 

Via Lara Intimates.

For UK-based lingerie brand Lara Intimates, it’s not important to just be sustainable, but to be inclusive as well: its distinct designs are offered in a wide variety of sizes and are made using reclaimed deadstock fabric and responsibly sourced rings, hooks, closures, and strapping. Shop at LaraIntimates.com.


Via JJVintage/Instagram.

If you’ve seen a patched Nike crop top while scrolling Instagram, it was most likely a JJVintage creation: the NYC-based brand, created by Jasmine James, makes exclusive tops, tanks, and dresses out of upcycled fabric and scraps – including the signature sportswear-inspired pieces. Each item is handmade and many are one-of-a-kind. Learn more on ShopJJVintage.com.

Selina Sanders

Via Selina Sanders.

After working as a fashion designer for over a decade, Selina Sanders felt the urgent need to offer more environmentally responsible options. Her namesake brand has become known for its delicate blouses made of upcycled vintage tea towels, but the one-of-a-kind creations can also include linens, curtains, blankets, and quilts. Learn more on SelinaSanders.com.

Seks 5th Avenue

Via Seks 5th Avenue.

“We turn trash into trash,” reads Seks 5th Avenue’s slogan. The playful rip off of the famed luxury department store (yes, it’s meant to be read as “sex”) already gives a taste of what it has come for: created by Abel Ljoka, the label repurposes deadstock into explosive, subversive designs that take inspiration from ‘90s icons like the Rugrats’ doll Cynthia to BDSM references. Learn more on Seks5thAvenue.com

Psychic Outlaw

Via Psychic Outlaw/Instagram.

Wish you could always feel comfortably snuggled under your favorite quilt blanket? Then Austin-based Psychic Outlaw’s creations might interest you. The brand was launched in 2019 by Rebecca Wright and specializes in creative quilt coats and jackets and bandana dresses made of vintage upcycled textiles that can be commissioned using materials sourced by customers. Shop at PsychicOutlaw.com


Via Pentimento.

The colorful shirts of Pentimento are made using a variety of pre-existing textiles, from deadstock fabrics to blankets and curtains, along with vintage buttons and accessories. A special line also features alternative rock song titles applied by hand to vintage sweatshirts. Shop at Pentimento.shop.

3 Women

Via 3 Women.

California-based 3 Women specializes in custom-tailored, made-to-measure designs using curated vintage fabric, resulting in truly one-of-a-kind pieces. Customers are encouraged to participate in the creation by helping select the fabric that will be used – which can sometimes come from unexpected sources, such as the Hikari Jumpsuit, made from rare rice sacks from the 1940s. Shop at 3WomenCo.com

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