The 5 Hottest Upcycling Fashion Trends on Social

Wondering how to jump on upcycling fashion trends? We’ve got you covered with the hottest ones yet, and why you should be using them.
Upcycling fashion trends

In 30 seconds:

  • Upcycling fashion trends. What are they, and how can your brand use them for maximum engagement?
  • We’ve got a gift for you. Our latest fashion guide reveals everything you need to know to ace your fashion marketing.
  • Is upcycling the future of fashion? We delve into this question and more.

Upcycling fashion has become the new trend. It’s gone beyond cutting up your clothing at home, and even designers like Balenciaga have adopted the process. So if you’re a fashion brand, you need to be aware of how to jump on this in the right way and bring on a new set of sustainability-conscious customers. 

67% of consumers now pay attention to the environmental impacts of their clothing, and for younger demographics, this is even more important. 62% of Generation Z prefer to purchase from sustainable brands, and 60% of millennials are interested in certified sustainable clothing. 

What’s more? The future consumer generation (Gen Alpha) is set to be more conscious of ethical brands than ever. 81% of Gen Alpha parents say their children have influenced their actions or consumption decisions, making them more environmentally aware.

Unfortunately, studies show that Gen Z and millennials struggle to afford sustainable new garments, hence why fast fashion brands and preloved items through online merchants like Depop are still on their list of retailers. 

But the point is these generations are striving for a more ethical way forward. And green-washing really won’t wash with them. Brands in the fashion industry need to be forward-thinking in tackling sustainable fashion and helping with affordability. 

Upcycling is one way of doing this. It adds new life to old garments, and it can certainly freshen up your brand marketing. So what actually is it, and how can you get involved?

What is upcycling in fashion?

Upcycled clothing is created from raw materials that are typically discarded and end up in landfills. These waste materials may include unwanted clothing, excess textiles, scraps of fabric from textile factories, or surplus garments and fabrics that are referred to as deadstock

But upcycling has become a modern trend. During the pandemic, plenty of people started thinking creatively. It was a time when people were refreshing their wardrobes and rethinking how to help the planet. Sustainability was an important topic then, as emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases plunged 4.6% in 2020. We realised the benefits our planet was gaining whilst we humans were stuck inside. This led to people learning how to reuse their clothing in creative ways. 

On socials, people have been sharing their tips, ideas and processes on refreshing and reusing old clothes. So that’s why we’re taking you through the top upcycling fashion trends on these channels and what brands can learn from them. 

Before we get into the list, there’s something you should know.

Fashion marketing is shifting, and it’s crucial that brands understand its landscape. 

Creating the right content on the right channels is key. TikTok is a powerful place to start. 

That’s why we’ve put together The Advanced TikTok Fashion Guide. A complete report on what brands should be focusing on in socials and how to maximise your marketing efforts.

What are the 5 Hottest Upcycling Fashion Trends on Social?

We’ve done the research, so you don’t have to. These fashion trends on social are pushing the boundaries of sustainable fashion and showing just what you can do to be more ethical. Some are from brands, too, showing you don’t have to just be a consumer to make the trend work. Let’s get into it. 

1. Thrifty wedding dress designs

A wedding dress is usually a serious investment. But what if you could make yours perfect without the massive cost? That’s exactly what lots of TikTokers have decided to do, taking thrift shop clothing and turning it into the dress of their dreams. This particular creator made a wedding dress out of old clothing she found at a thrift store, and the video went pretty viral with over 2.6 million views. 

@reese.cycled sewing a wedding dress in a day bc i am too booked n busy 🥲 (are you proud of me for finally working on this @from.moonlight) #thrifted #sewingtiktok #upcycledfashion #weddingdress #diysewing ♬ original sound - kelsey reese

How can your brand use this?

Ok, you might not be able to reshape thrifted materials for a wedding dress like this creator, but if you’re a fashion brand that sells eveningwear, utilising waste material within your more refined looks could work. 

Another point to consider is how you can embrace thrifting. Keep an eye on socials for old brand stock that creators may be using and embrace their creativity. You could even go further and collaborate with the right influencers to show off how to reword older band designs. Just make sure they are aligned with your values and aesthetic, then let them do the creating. 

2. Luxury fashion, upcycled

If you’re a luxury fashion brand, Upcycling may feel slightly out of reach. Even the term has connotations of frayed edges and stuck-on patchwork. 

But upcycling has had a rebrand, and even top luxury brands should be adopting it. The Prada group announced their collection “Upcycled by Miu Miu” – a special collection of vintage dresses reworked and transformed by Miu Miu, carefully sourced from vintage clothing stores and markets worldwide. They collaborated with Levi’s, too, to create one-of-a-kind vintage jeans as part of the collection. This is the epitome of high-end thrifting.

How can your brand use this?

Upcycling doesn’t need to be “crafty”. It can be high-end, bespoke and exclusive. The rarity of these fashion items makes them even more valuable to the right customer. If you’re a luxury fashion brand, consider creating new upcycled collections and partnering with other brands to deliver them. 

3. T-Shirt upcycling hack

Social channels are full of clever upcycling ideas with T-shirts. They’re pretty versatile and easy to change up, so there are so many different creative ways to incorporate them. One creator did a “30 days of upcycling t-shirts” trend where she changed up a t-shirt every day for over a month. 

@boohoo T-SHIRT UPCYCLING HACK 💚 PSA: Don't throw away that old t-shirt you never wear. Follow our simple hack to revamp it into a new crop ⚡️ #fyp #stylinghacks #sustainablefashiontips ♬ original sound - boohoo

How can your brand use this?

Show off simple upcycling hacks to engage and encourage users. If you create simple upcycling hacks, you can drum up UGC (user-generated content) and get others to share the idea. If you want to really maximise engagement, collaborate with influencers on a branded hashtag challenge to get the message out there and watch the UGC skyrocket. 

4. Go long form

There were over 65 million views of videos with “upcycling” in the title during 2021. That makes YouTube a powerful place to showcase upcycling ideas, tips and tutorials. Creating longer videos to educate people on how they can prolong the lifecycle of their clothes is a great way to show off your knowledge and help promote ethical practices. 

How can your brand use this?

Young people especially want to see brands using both short-form and long-form content. Why? Because shorter videos lead them to longer, more in-depth videos. 59% of Gen Z use short-form video apps to discover things that they watch longer versions of. Creating longer, more in-depth educational videos can make your brand the authority on this subject. And authority sells. 

5. Changing one thing into another

You don’t have to change clothes into more clothes. What about bags? Accessories? Jewellery? Shoes? Clarks saw an opportunity to embrace upcycling and allow creators to get creative with their products. This influencer made a corset out of some old Clarks shoes to show just how versatile you can be. 

How can your brand use this?

Think outside of the box. Literally. Brands need to be on their toes when it comes to upcycling, and you can really go all out on creative ideas. Better yet, partner with the most forward-thinking influencers to get them to do the innovation for you. Since they already have a ready and eager audience, you’ll gain access to unmatched engagement.

Is upcycling the future of fashion?

Upcycling isn’t just an ethical way forward, it also speaks to the part of us that want to feel individual. It allows you to express yourself in new ways through one-of-a-kind pieces and rare designs. 

With Gen Alpha expressing such a desire to help the planet at such a young age, it’s clear that ethical clothing won’t be going anywhere. But the way we consume it is likely to change. The cost of living crisis has put many people in difficult financial situations, and forking out on expensive, exclusive sustainable clothing is not always available. So the future of upcycling and renewable fashion lies in making it accessible, whether that’s through education, creation or affordability. 

The most important aspect? Your brand needs to be talking about it now. Becoming a leader in this sector takes time, and if you want to inspire upcycling trends and movements on socials, you need watertight campaigns that express serious creativity. 

That’s where we can help. Get in touch to discover how we can help you lead the conversation on upcycling, now and in the future. 

Let's Talk

To find out how Fanbytes by Brainlabs can help you connect with audiences on social, fill in the form to get in touch!