Eco Fashion: Turning Pollution into Products

The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

Plastic consumption has been a problem for a few decades and most of us are aware of the problem fast fashion poses to us and the environment. Turning plastic waste into clothing could be the ultimate game changer when it comes to solving these problems. Sustainable brands, from traditional to new, are looking for ways to become sustainable amid rising concerns about climate change. The fast fashion industry has not only spawned numerous fashion trends every season, but also increased the amount of plastic waste in the oceans, ultimately damaging the ecosystem.

Brands are now rapidly inventing innovative ways to turn pollution into products. Some are switching to recycled fibers, while 70 brands (including H&M, Banana Republic, Old Navy and Gap) have set targets to increase their use of recycled polyester to 45% by 2025.

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


Patagonia is a company dedicated to the circular economy. The brand has a “worn wear” program where it accepts clothing in good condition in exchange for credit toward purchases at Patagonia’s stores and online. Additionally, Patagonia’s founder Yvon Chouinard recently surprised the world with great news for the environment. After repudiating his ownership of the company, Chouinard and his family handed over the brand to a fund dedicated to protecting the environment.

Levi Strauss

The infamous jean bran, loved by modern celebrities and famous ’90s babes alike, is also moving towards eco-fashion. The brand now makes products that are 100% recyclable and has launched educational initiatives to help customers extend the life of the garments. Their Blue Jeans Go Green program is proof of that.

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Urban Outfitters

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

Reborn closet

Reborn Closet is a women-founded brand that reinterprets upcycled clothing. Their Threads Reimagined program allows customers to transform their old clothing into newly designed products. Customers can send in their old clothes and within 2-3 weeks they will receive a completely new product, such as a bandana, pillowcase or quilt made from their old clothes.

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Arielle is an upcycled clothing store that aims to “create clothes that are like a canvas so you can be yourself”. The brand has multiple clothing lines in different silhouettes, flattering and muted colors that are made from upcycled cotton and recycled polyester (typically rPET, made from consumer plastic water bottles).

Clothing recycling companies like these help reduce the negative impact of fast fashion by raising awareness of their practices and their impact on our environment. With upcycled clothing also being compostable, it’s high time brands took action to ensure they create eco-clothing lines that promote a low carbon footprint and plastic-free living.

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