Textile recycling: 3 reuse options for fashion and fabrics

Clothing donations have long been a key part of our spring cleaning ritual, but textile recycling as a movement is just starting to take hold.

Average joes to fashionistas and even the fashion industry at large are jumping on board with companies offering coupons for clothing trade-ins and designers taking old pieces and making them new. In India and Japan, fashion designers are inventing and re-inventing recycling techniques to reinvigorate local fashion trends.

Other fashion brands have re-imagined the little black dress by dying and re-cutting vintage wear and celebrities are beginning to embrace red carpet ready clothing made from sustainable materials. From Emma Watson’s Met Gala dress made from recycled plastic to a host of eco-fashions worn on the Oscar’s red carpet this year, it has become apparent that upcycling textiles is most definitely “the trend.”

So to buy into the fad (and help the planet at the same time) here’s a step by step guide to textile recycling:

Assess “the situation”

The first thing you need to know is that textiles refer to much more than just clothes. The word “textiles” describes anything made of cloth or woven fabric, including:

And to begin the textile recycling process, start by assessing the condition of the fabric. This will help you determine what options are available to you. And here are your options:

1. Shred it

2. Donate, swap or sell it

3. Fix or transform it

More textile recycling

If threadcycling’s your thing, and it’s something you want to do more of, feel free to download the Recycle Coach app. If your city is a member of our network, we can connect you to local drop-off locations for all your used threads.