5 ways companies are making gorgeous clothes that are the opposite of fast fashion.
True
Savers

It's easy to get a little carried away when shopping — after all, so many new clothes are so cheap these days.

Most of us are at least a little guilty of taking advantage. In the United States, we are buying five times more clothing than we did in the 1980s.

And we all know how much the '80s had going on. GIF via Kool-Aid Koolers.


I mean, if you could buy five shirts for the price of one, why wouldn't you? The world of fast fashion gives us more options to mix up our wardrobes whenever we feel like it. And if you're like me, more clothes means not having to do laundry as often.

Cheap new clothes — and more of them — can feel awesome in the moment. But our trend-of-the-moment shopping habits are actually doing damage in a number of ways. One of the problems: We are barely recycling any of our leftover clothes.

The average American throws away about 80 pounds of textile waste every year.

It's no question that number will continue to grow unless we start donating them (hello, thrift stores!) or buy less. As more information comes out about the harm fast fashion is causing to the planet, consumers and companies are starting to think twice.

People are beginning to see through the craze that is fast fashion and into a more thoughtful and eco-friendly approach.

Here are five unique ways products and materials are being reused to make clothing and accessories today:

1. Food ... that you can wear?

As if coffee wasn't already the best, now it can be worn.

I can't even fathom the number of times I've dumped out coffee grounds after making a cup of joe. When you multiply that times the millions and millions of people who make coffee every day, that's a lot of coffee grounds going to waste.

Singtex, a company from Taiwan, is turning those wasted grounds into fabric for clothes. They use an innovative technology named S.Café that incorporates coffee grounds into fibers to help control odors and protect fabrics from ultraviolet rays.

Image via How Can I Recycle This/Flickr.

It's official: Coffee has superpowers.

You know what else does? Coconut. Coconut is known for a lot of uses, such as milk, oil, and suntan lotion. The company Cocona has found another way to use it: by turning coconut shells into yarns and fibers.

The threads they create through activated carbon from coconut shells provide a lightweight and comfortable product that can stand the test of time in a variety of products.

Image via Cocona.

Other foods are being used to create clothes, too, like sour milk and wine. A sour milk dress! Can you imagine? Maybe someday we'll all be wearing food. Can you turn Cheetos into yarn?

2. You can now take your airplane seat everywhere you go.

When Southwest Airlines decided to redesign their cabins in 2014, that meant getting rid of 80,000 leather seats.

Looptworks, a company from Portland, Oregon, knew they could put those seats to good use. They teamed up with Southwest to turn their old leather seat covers into fashionable products like purses and duffle bags. And fashionable they are.

Image via Looptworks, used with permission.

Even better is the process of making them. The Baltimore Sun reports that the company is working with Garten Services, a nonprofit that trains and employs adults with disabilities, to deconstruct and clean the seats before turning them into bags.

3. Dumpster fashion is the new black.

Artist and environmental advocate Nancy Judd is turning heads with her business Recycle Runway. Whether she's creating clothes from old Barack Obama campaign flyers, aluminum cans, crime scene tape, or even the vinyl top of a convertible, Nancy's designs always have one thing in common: They're pure garbage.

This is made of CRUSHED GLASS. Images by Nancy Judd, used with permission.

A cassette and video tape coat, helloooo!

Epic dress made of aluminum cans. I'm obsessed.

She says she got into "dumpster couture" when she realized that art and fashion could be used to raise the public's environmental consciousness. And she's stuck to that idea over the years, using all of her creations to educate about conservation.

She told The Wall Street Journal that she once spent 400 hours unspooling cassettes and crocheting the crinkled tape into a fake-fur coat — taking a very literal approach to the term slow fashion.


4. Your clothes could come from the big blue sea.

A massive project is underway in the Mediterranean, and you may see people wearing it someday.

It's called "Upcycling the Oceans" and is an undertaking by the group Ecoalf. Their goal? To transform the plastic debris found in the Mediterranean into thread to make fabric.

They're seeing a lot of success, having already collected 39 tons of garbage since September 2015.

They hope to show that not only is cleaning the oceans possible, but the materials collected can be recycled into pellets, thread, fabric, and other products.

Image via Ecoalf.

5. Using only what large manufactures leave behind.

Advancements in technology have made fast fashion the norm: large scale production at ridiculously fast speeds. That model, while bringing in huge profits, comes with a whole host of problems. One of them that often gets overlooked is all the material wasted in production.

The average garment factory wastes up to 40% of its perfectly usable materials. Cambodia-based company tonlé is holding them accountable — and creating a smart business out of it.

Tonlé takes the scraps that manufactures don't use and turns them into beautiful products. About 90% of their materials come from big garment factories, and 10% are made from local and sustainable suppliers.

By doing what the large manufactures won't, they are helping to offset the huge global impact fast fashion has on the planet while showing what true sustainability means.

Is fast fashion on its way out? Probably not. But it's neat to see people creating — and demanding — fashion that's a little gentler on the planet.

Not everyone can whip up a dress from coffee grounds or turn their old Paula Abdul cassette tapes into an outfit. But these creative approaches to fashion are a great way to get people to think outside of the mass-produced clothing racks, and about how to reuse things they already own.

After all, clothes are way more fun when they're unique — and Earth-friendly.

Pexels
True
Amazon

Shopping sustainably is increasingly important given the severity of the climate crisis, but sometimes it's hard to know where to turn. Thankfully, Amazon is making it a little easier to browse thousands of products that have one or more of 19 sustainability certifications that help preserve the natural world.

The online retailer recently announced Climate Pledge Friendly, a program to make it easier for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products. To determine the sustainability of a product, the program partnered with third-party certifications, including governmental agencies, nonprofits, and independent labs.

With a selection of items spanning grocery, household, fashion, beauty, and personal electronics, you'll be able to shop more sustainably not just for the holiday season, but throughout the year for your essentials, as well.

You can browse all of the Climate Pledge Friendly products here, labeled with an icon and which certification(s) they meet. To get you on your way to shopping more sustainably, we've rounded up eight of our favorite Climate Pledge Friendly-products that will make great gifts all year long.

Amazon

Jack Wolfskin Women's North York Coat

Give the gift of warmth and style with this coat, available in a variety of colors. Sustainability is built into all Jack Wolfskin products and each item comes with a code that lets you trace back to its origins and understand how it was made.

Bluesign: Bluesign products are responsibly manufactured by using safer chemicals and fewer resources, including less energy, in production.


Amazon

Amazon All-new Echo Dot (4th Gen)

For the tech-obsessed. This Alexa smart speaker, which comes in a sleek, compact design, lets you voice control your entertainment and your smart home as well as connect with others.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.


Amazon

Burt's Bees Family Jammies Matching Holiday Organic Cotton Pajamas

Get into the holiday spirit with these fun matching PJs for the whole family. Perfect for pictures that even Fido can get in on.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

Naturistick 5-Pack Lip Balm Gift Set

With 100% natural ingredients that are gentle on ultra-sensitive lips, this gift is a great gift for the whole family.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.


Amazon

Arus Women's GOTS Certified Organic Cotton Hooded Full Length Turkish Bathrobe

For those who love to lounge around, this full-length organic cotton bathrobe is the way to go. Available in five different colors, it has comfortable cuffed sleeves, a hood, pockets, and adjustable belt.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

L'Occitane Extra-Gentle Vegetable Based Soap

This luxe soap, made with moisturizing shea butter and scented with verbena, is perfect for the self-care obsessed.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.

Amazon

Goodthreads Men's Sweater-Knit Fleece Long-Sleeve Bomber

For the fashionable men in your life, this fashion-forward knit bomber is an excellent choice. The sweater material keeps it cozy and warm, while the bomber jacket-cut, zip front, and rib-trim neck make it look elevated.

Recycled Claim Standard 100: Products with this certification use materials made from at least 95% recycled content.

Amazon

All-new Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote

Make it even easier to access your favorite movies and shows this holiday season. The new Fire TV Stick lets you use your voice to search across apps. Plus it controls the power and volume on your TV, so you'll never need to leave the couch! Except for snacks.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.

Images via Canva and Unsplash

If there's one thing that everyone can agree on, it's that being in a pandemic sucks.

However, we seem to be on different pages as to what sucks most about it. Many of us are struggling with being separated from our friends and loved ones for so long. Some of us have lost friends and family to the virus, while others are dealing with ongoing health effects of their own illness. Millions are struggling with job loss and financial stress due to businesses being closed. Parents are drowning, dealing with their kids' online schooling and lack of in-person social interactions on top of their own work logistics. Most of us hate wearing masks (even if we do so diligently), and the vast majority of us are just tired of having to think about and deal with everything the pandemic entails.

Much has been made of the mental health impact of the pandemic, which is a good thing. We need to have more open conversations about mental health in general, and with everything so upside down, it's more important now than ever. However, it feels like pandemic mental health conversations have been dominated by people who want to justify anti-lockdown arguments. "We can't let the cure be worse than the disease," people say. Kids' mental health is cited as a reason to open schools, the mental health challenges of financial despair as a reason to keep businesses open, and the mental health impact of social isolation as a reason to ditch social distancing measures.

It's not that those mental health challenges aren't real. They most definitely are. But when we focus exclusively on the mental health impact of lockdowns, we miss the fact that there are also significant mental health struggles on the other side of those arguments.

Keep Reading Show less
True

If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.

Keep Reading Show less
True
Gates Foundation

Once upon a time, a scientist named Dr. Andrew Wakefield published in the medical journal The Lancet that he had discovered a link between autism and vaccines.

After years of controversy and making parents mistrust vaccines, along with collecting $674,000 from lawyers who would benefit from suing vaccine makers, it was discovered he had made the whole thing up. The Lancet publicly apologized and reported that further investigation led to the discovery that he had fabricated everything.

Keep Reading Show less
via Budweiser

Budweiser beer, and its low-calorie counterpart, Bud Light, have created some of the most memorable Super Bowl commercials of the past 37 years.

There were the Clydesdales playing football and the poor lost puppy who found its way home because of the helpful horses. Then there were the funny frogs who repeated the brand name, "Bud," "Weis," "Er."

We can't forget the "Wassup?!" ad that premiered in December 1999, spawning the most obnoxious catchphrase of the new millennium.

Keep Reading Show less