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Fashion labels that are defying waste culture through innovative upcycling

In a time when mulling over the future of sustainability is more important than ever, revisiting and implementing the significance of ‘one man’s trash is another man’s treasure’ should form a chunk of the fashion industry’s to-do list. However, long before the conscious approach to style received its due spotlight, several homegrown and international brands were already moving towards creating a circular fashion economy.

Read along for more insight into upcycling as a core production process concept used by these under-the-radar brands.

Zig Zag Goods

new upcycling brands
Image: Courtesy Zig Zag Goods Instagram

Can DIY get a DIY? Enter Zig Zag Goods, a Los Angeles label that creates wearable art through old-school art and craft techniques, which everyone has indulged in at some point – paint splattering, beading or tie-dying a faded T-shirt in the backyard. The brand’s upcycling process echoes fashion’s playful side often lost in the chaos of fads, by giving each piece a new lease of life in a range of colours, nostalgic patterns, and clashing fabrics.


new upcycling brands
Image: Courtesy Chindi Instagram

Ever wondered about the fate of waste fabric that you’d notice on the floor during the occasional visit to your local tailor? Those tiny scraps go by the tag of chindi, which formed the building blocks of Tanushri Shukla’s vision for revamping discarded textiles into intricately crocheted pouches, coin purses, and tote bags. Working with the craftswomen of Mankhurd, Chindi’s one-of-a-kind accessories not only empower the local community but stay ethical whilst doing so. Needless to say, one of the coolest new upcycling brands. 

Baba Yaga

new upcycling brands
Image: Courtesy Baba Yaga Instagram

This family-run store in San Francisco offers a unique spin on its stellar selection of vintage clothing and accessories. Don’t be surprised if you stumble across a pair of classic Levi’s reworked with floral orange embroidery or the regular denim suit that’s been given a reboot with groovy stitching. Spoilt for choices would be an apt description for Baba Yaga’s curated offerings. 

Patch Over Patch

new upcycling brands
Image: Courtesy Patch Over Patch Instagram

At Patch Over Patch, each bit of a garment’s fabric has a backstory. Founded by Kavisha Parikh, the Surat-based sustainable fashion brand uses textile production remnants to design experimental clothing that has its roots in embracing perfectly imperfect stitching. Take your pick from its curated range of easy-breezy silhouettes that include kimono jackets, flowy dresses, wrap tops, and other fuss-free get-ups. One of the most exciting new upcycling brands you need to checkout. 


new upcycling brands
Image: Courtesy Horrox Instagram

If you thought giving the classic colour black an upgrade was impossible, think again. Take a walk on the dark side with punk fashion purveyor Horrox’s collection of reworked dyed hoodies, long-sleeved tees, eyelet dresses, and silver-hardware detailed sweaters. Getting your eco-friendly gothic glam fix just got easier.

El Cholo’s Kid

new upcycling brands
Image: Courtesy El Cholos Kid Instagram

The difference between a bag and THE bag is the presence of an offbeat element. Handwoven, representative of Mexican traditions, and available in rainbow-esque colours – El Cholo’s Kid, one of the most promising new upcycling label, has a plethora of clutches and tote bags to brighten every ensemble. The vegan-friendly accessory label brings to the forefront its family heritage of artisanal talent that works with recycled plastic to weave together your next free-spirited shoulder companion.

From Belo

new upcycling brands
Image: Courtesy From Belo Instagram

Seatbelt turned multifunctional designer handbag may sound like a far-fetched possibility to some, but accessory brand From Belo makes it happen. Their impeccable products are crafted from repurposed landfill waste by a team of artisans in Brazil. One glance at From Belo’s collection of bags and it’s evident that they are roomy enough to pack a punch (and your essentials!).

Avani Thakkar

Avani is a freelance writer, content creator and fashion marketing graduate from London College of Fashion. Living in colour and chaos, she’s always on the lookout for a fascinating book or K-drama to spend the weekend obsessing over. Avani has worked with Sandro Paris and ELLE India in the past.