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Five Upcycled Fashion Labels on Instagram That You Need to Checkout NOW

English fashion designer Vivienne Westwood once said “Buy less. Choose well. Make it last.” Today, these iconic words are of the utmost importance as the fashion industry has reared its stylish yet pernicious head towards microtrends and fast fashion. 

The apparel and textile industry is one of the most destructive and pollutive on planet Earth. Each year, it generates an estimated 10 percent of global carbon emissions and uses 1.5 trillion liters of water. In addition, 60 percent of fabric fibers are now synthetic, which are derived from fossil fuels and will not decompose upon their inevitable arrival into landfills. 

So, how can we reduce our fashion footprint? 

According to Vogue writer Emily Chan, “Upcycling is the biggest trend in fashion right now.” Upcycling is transforming textile waste like deadstock fabrics and out-of-style pieces into completely new garments. By using upcycling methods, the planet is saved in a multitude of ways—it suffers from less air pollution, textile waste, microplastics, and even soil degradation. Designer fashion labels like Mui Mui are set to release collections of entirely upcycled pieces, but did you know there are brands that rely solely on upcycling? Her Campus has compiled 5 Instagram upcycled fashion labels you absolutely must keep an eye on  

 

Yvonne and Mitchel

First launched in 2017, Yvonne and Mitchel is a label on a mission to create “a high-fashion brand that is built on sustainability and recycled fabrics.” YM was established after Caylin Yvonne Willis and Jared Mitchel Armstrong met in college and bonded over a love of vintage and personal style. Today, YM’s Instagram is flooded with images of their one-of-a-kind pieces, including denim corsets and skirts, knits that are bursting at the seams with color, and even a custom swim line. Similarly to runway collections, YM releases featured pieces in what they call “Waves,” a form of storytelling that puts the garments on display by accommodating them with hair and makeup, as well as a suitable shoot location. The brand’s most recent Wave entitled “Summer Denim” is comprised entirely of reworked jeans. Additionally, Yvonne and Mitchel even has an Instagram page devoted solely to experimental pieces, aptly named experyments.

Béhen Studio

Béhen Studio is an upcycled fashion label that is eminently deserving of your awe and admiration. Derived from the Hindi word for “sister,” Béhen is dedicated to exploring the untold stories of women artisans. According to the brand’s website, its clothes are made ethically from female communities across the globe (primarily Lisbon and Portugal) in support of Syrian boys and girls’ education. 

Béhen is the sustainable dream of young fashion designer Joana Duarte. After receiving her Master’s of Fashion Design at Kingston University in London, Duarte launched Béhen in her pursuit to make wasteless garments and express her love for the families and communities she has met throughout her travels. The brand purchases antique textiles from small sellers at flea markets and antique shops, then reworks them into puffy-sleeved tops, copper pants that were once bed covers, and even colorfully marbled Levi’s jeans. 

 

Flore de Sermet

Conceived in France and developed in Berlin, Flore de Sermet is a slow-fashion label that “celebrates the beauty and sensuality of bodies freed from social restrictions.” Named after its founder, designer Flore de Sermet de Tournefort, the brand’s aesthetic is inspired by both nature and Renaissance paintings. Each Flore de Sermet piece is handcrafted in Brussels with textiles discovered in Southern France, Paris and Berlin. The label’s website offers a detailed description of what materials were used to make each unique piece, while its Instagram displays the garments in exquisitely-styled photographs. 

 

el/if

Upcycling workshop el/if is where scraps meet chic. With a simple scroll through the label’s Instagram feed, you can find bustier tops made from upcycled tights, reworked leather jackets, and beautifully revealing blazer and skirt sets. el/if garments have made it onto the bodies of Instagram influencers Simi and Haze Khadra, models Patricia Mansfield and Meadow Walker and musicians Yseult and Madison Beer. 

Made in the South of France, el/if pieces are one-of-a-kind and inspired by architecture, transparency, textures and the 90’s. 

 

Fyo͞ocher

Based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Fyo͞ocher is a size-inclusive apparel company aimed to reduce landfills. Fyo͞ocher garments are striking and diverse. On the label’s website you can find everything from bright green pants to even a Princess Diana jacket made from upholstery fabric originally intended for pillows (yes, it is a jacket covered with Princess Di’s. What fashion enthusiast wouldn’t want that?). Each garment is handmade in 1-3 weeks, and for products that Fyo͞ocher has enough material to make-to-order, you can choose from a full range of Canadian sizes (24-42). 

Fyo͞ocher owner Jamie Dawes told sustainable packaging brand noissue that clothes “are silent activists protecting your true values.” Dawes believes sustainability is the future of the fashion industry, and nowadays, it is pointless to start a brand if you do not uphold this standard. Fyo͞ocher’s materials are sourced from thrift stores as well as local manufacturers and small businesses. Dawes stated “We as consumers can change the industry with every purchase, however it's the people making the clothes that need to make the change first.” 

Although purchasing fast fashion comes with the immediate satisfaction of having a new wardrobe piece at our dispense, it comes with a high cost—a toll on our planet. The last few generations have grown up in the existential shadow of climate change and overconsumption. As yearly temperatures increase and landfills reach new heights, I urge you to consider Vivienne Westwood’s words and look to small, ethical businesses when trying to replenish your closet. If one-of-a-kind pieces are too expensive or avant-garde for your collection, you can still make an environmental impact in a few ways—such as upcycling your own garments and buying products that are stylish to you, not just whatever’s trendy. This way, they can be loved indefinitely and won’t be sitting in a landfill anytime soon.

Grace Poster is a junior International Business major at Hofstra University. She aspires to one day work as a buyer for one of her favorite fashion labels (yes, very Rachel Green-esque). When not writing for Her Campus, she can be found sipping a chai latte, enjoying the sun at a local beach, or online shopping, most likely all at once.
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