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Eco Fashion: Turning Pollution into Products

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at St. Andrews chapter.

Plastic consumption has been a concern for a few decades now, and most of us are aware of the problem fast fashion poses for us and the environment. Turning plastic waste into clothes could be the ultimate game-changer when it comes to solving these issues. Sustainable brands, from traditional to new, are looking towards adopting ways to become sustainable amidst an increase in climate change concerns. As well as giving rise to numerous fashion trends every season, the fast-fashion industry has also raised the amount of plastic waste in oceans,  ultimately damaging the ecosystem. 

Brands are now rapidly innovating ways of turning pollution into products. Some are switching to recycled fibres, whilst 70 brands (including H&M, Banana Republic, Old Navy and Gap) are aiming to increase their share of use of recycled polyester to 45% by 2025.

Here is a list of 5 ethical brands that recycle their fashion waste by indulging in a circular model. 


Patagonia is a company committed to the circular economy. The brand has a ‘Worn Wear’ program, wherein they accept clothes in good condition in exchange for credit towards purchases in Patagonia’s stores and online. Furthermore, Patagonia’s founder Yvon Chouinard recently surprised the world with a great news for the environment. Having rejected his ownership of the company, Chouinard and his family have given the brand to a fond dedicated to helping the environment.

Levi Strauss

The infamous jeans bran, beloved by modern-day celebrities and 90s famous sweethearts alike, is also edging towards eco-fashion. The brand is now creating products that are 100% recyclable and has launched educational initiatives to help customers expand garment life. Their Blue Jeans Go Green program is a testament to this. 

Urban Outfitters

Urban Outfitters is a well-known fashion brand among Gen Z and, probably to your surprise, it is a company that focused on sustainability even before they launched on the internet. The brand upcycles and remakes clothing, and also sells a dedicated line of recycled clothing.

Reborn Closet

Reborn Closet is a female-founded brand that has a new take on upcycled clothing. Their ‘Threads Reimagined’ program allows customers to transform their old clothes into newly developed products. Customers can send in their old clothes and, within 2-3 weeks, receive a completely new product, like a bandana, pillowcase or quilt, made out of their old clothes.


Arielle is an upcycled clothing store which aims to create ‘clothes that are canvas for you to be you’. The brand has multiple lines of clothes in different silhouettes, flattering and muted colours, made from upcycled cotton and recycled polyester (typically rPET, made from consumer plastic water bottles). 

Clothes-recycling companies like these are helping reduce the negative impact of fast fashion by becoming conscious of their practices, and their effects on our environment. Since upcycled clothing is also compostable, it is high-time brands take steps towards ensuring they are creating eco-fashion lines that encourage low carbon footprints and plastic-free living. 

Syna Singh

St. Andrews '24

Syna Singh is a third year at St Andrews majoring in Financial Economics and Management. She is originally from India but has lived her whole life in sunny Dubai. Photography, traveling, tennis and blogging are some of her interests. In addition to that, she hates being unproductive but also loves binge-watching true crime series, kdramas, rom-coms and of course, The Office!