Upcycled Clothes from Preloved and Ekologic
Nov 10
My friend Shannon is amazing. He has started sewing again, and he haunts thrift stores for cool clothing. He doesn't want the clothing to wear, necessarily. He wants to take it apart.

That's right. If you sew, you know how hard it is to find cool fabric. And it's so expensive! Shannon has addressed this by taking apart thrifted pieces and reconstructing them. (Some inspiration includes this and this.) He is making some incredible stuff! I went over to his sewing room a few weeks ago to "help". I'm excellent with a seam ripper (that's my skill level) and spent several happy hours taking apart a leather skirt. The waistband from that skirt might end up on a leather turtleneck as the neckband.

We all don't have Shannon's skill, though. If you're like me, and you want cool clothes while still being good to the environment, the options are somewhat limited. I find that buying used clothing as much as possible combined with good clothing that lasts is my best option. Recently, however, there's something new (to me) to add to that mix. It's an idea that Shannon has already tapped into: There are companies out there making new clothes out of old pieces. Here's a start at a list of those making good use of salvaged clothing and end lots (and I'd love to add to this list, so send on what you know!).

Preloved: Yesterday Shannon sent me this video about the Preloved process. Today I ordered a shirt. The prices are really good, and if the quality stands up I will be buying more. This shop has been around for years and there's probably more like them out there, right? Please send links if you know of any.

Ekologic: I discovered this NY based company at Art in the Pearl this year. Their clothes are made from recycled cashmere! (See Pics above.) I bought a skirt in September and noted that their website wasn't so great. Guess what? It's improved since Labor Day. Check it out and buy some gorgeous cashmere clothes - all from salvage.

Denim Salvage is located in Oregon City and uses recycled and new denim to make new jeans. They offer free fitting services plus they make alterations. I have not tried out their product as I don't wear jeans (Or drink beer. I know: So un-American). If you go, let us know about this biz and their offerings.

Let's not forget about Looptworks, a PDX company that uses excess materials from the manufacturing process to make limited edition clothing, luggage, accessories, wallets, you name it. All materials they use were on their way to the landfill until Looptworks diverted them. I would love to see more companies partnering with Looptworks for corporate gifts and promotions.

OK, here's the deal. Very few of us are Shannon. I have neither talent nor inclination to make my own clothing. But! We still have companies like Preloved out there to keep our eco-cred intact. You know what you need to do, right? Shop salvaged. Shop guilt-free.
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