Kelsey Rumburg
3 min readAug 20, 2021


Fashion Designers Embrace The Upcycle Movement

The upcycling movement has gripped the world. Countries worldwide have come together to join the upcycling and repurposing era. The fashion industry is no different. They have found a great way to create sustainable fashion lines. It looks like it could become the “new normal” way that clothing is produced. Not only now but in the future as well.

Here it is, the summer of 2021. Miu Miu Has announced that it is launching a completely new upcycled collection. The dresses will be created from antique clothing that has been meticulously picked from vintage stores all across the globe.

Of course, this is not the first time that repurposing old material has been used in the fashion industry. In 2017, Gabriela Hearst admitted to using deadstock and repurposing it for a new line of clothing. Upcycling was not as popular then and they were afraid it was going to get negative press. It’s a fact that, in this certain collection of 2017, about 60% were upcycled pieces.

One of the most advertised pieces of the spring/summer of 2021 from Balenciaga is the “shaggy coat.” It is completely made from old shoelace fur.

With the tough restrictions due to covid, popular designers have decided to use old material they had in their Studios instead of trying to ship new fabric from different locations around the globe. So, in a way, the pandemic has encouraged a super trend in society — repurposing.

People of all walks of life had to try to create a more sustainable environment. Not only did families at home do more to save money during the lay-offs and lockdowns but businesses did too. Now we are getting to see the way that leading Industries have changed and are now conducting business. With fashion designers, it has ignited a whole new dimension in their creative process.

JW Anderson is a designer whose line is exclusively made in Britain. Some of his new pieces are made completely out of leftover trims and fabrics from previous seasons. Their people have made a comment to Vogue that the idea came from the lockdown during the pandemic. The good news is that they believe that more of their future clothing lines we’ll also come from upcycling. So, like many, they are focussing on continuing this type of production.

While the pandemic was not ideal for anyone and changed the only sense of normalcy we had in societies, all over the world, there is an undeniable positive to it as well. Businesses suffered a great deal. In the fashion industry, clothing was not released and it could not be shipped because of the necessary restrictions to health and safety. This opened the eyes of designers. Many saw an unprecedented amount of excess inventory. This really forced them to discover new options in materials. With billions and billions of dollars of unsold merchandise, they faced a dilemma. Usually, these items would be burned or thrown away. However, because of society and its always increasing desire to end wasteful practices, they decided it was better to address the matter in a far less wasteful way.

In practicing this during the lockdown, they realized just how cost-effective the entire mentality of sustainability could be. The profit margin of all businesses suffered in one way or another. But, we are all getting to a point of understanding that we are faced with a new standard. One that embraces sustainability.



Kelsey Rumburg

As an adventurous farm girl, I am a creator on a mission to build a better economy. I question our idea of trash and look for new ways to use our resources!