Clothes and linen can reused many times, and many of us take our old clothes to the local charity shop, or make rags out of them for dusting. There are some other uses for your old clothes, and you can be really creative with old clothes. You can revamp them by dying them a different colour, or by adding sequins etc. Take a look at some of these ideas below:
* Make washcloths or hand towels from worn bath towels just by hemming them.
* You can make napkins from the backs of worn shirts. Just cut a square and hem it.
* Shirt pockets make neat holders for bathrooms and bedrooms. Sew them onto strips of hemmed material, or glue them to cardboard or plastic. Fill a stand-up picture frame with them for handy storage.
* Soft materials such as knitted t-shirts make excellent, washable substitutes for 'facial tissues'. Remove makeup with them and quit staining your washcloths.
* Save buttons, zips and trim for other projects- even if you can't sew. They can be used to make earrings, cuff links or lapel pins.
* Woven cotton is great. Hem it and use it to clean windows and mirrors, or to polish chrome or dry dishes and countertops.
Environmental fashion. Many have felt these two words didn't belong together. Just like chalk and cheese. But unlike chalk and cheese, eco fashion is fast becoming the latest trend. Gone are the days where 'hand-me-downs' were classed as uncool. (Although my canary coloured wool jumper from my sister will always be uncool!) Gone are the days where being trendy costs you œ300 a t-shirt too.
Why the big trend?
There are a number of factors. Many consumers are becoming more and more aware of where their purchases come from and what they are made of. Consumers are making more ethical decisions in every part of their lives, so why not express themselves in what they wear too? People who choose to eat organically may prefer to wear organic clothing, and vegan's may prefer to wear vegan made clothes. Designers such as Stella McCartney have firm ethical principles behind their designs. Some people hate waste so will rather purchase fashions from eBay or go to a charity shop. Vintage clothing is a timeless trend, and also eco friendly as it is preserving clothes that would otherwise end up in the landfill. Even period costumes are sought after. People have always been eager to express their individuality/personalities/feelings through clothes, and many people feel that through eco fashion they can do that. After all, every woman's nightmare is turning up to a party/ball/dinner and discovering someone else is wearing the same outfit.
So where can I find some great new clothes and accessories then?
There are loads of places online you can check out. Here is just a selection for a variety of tastes:
Check out this website for organic sportswear clothing:
Check out this website for trendy eco fashions:
Check out our article on organic clothing here:
Check out TRAID for unwanted clothes that have been turned into funky fashion items:
Emmeline 4 Re is a label available at Topshop's Oxford Street branch. These clothes are reworked from old clothes donated to the Salvation Army. We think this is for a limited time only, so be quick!
Call 0845 121 4519
For vegan shoes and other interesting items check out:
Eco Fashion in the News
Brooklyn Eco Fashion in the Moutains for Telluride AIDS Benefit Free Box Fashion, Reused Bike Tires, and Habana Eco-Eatery Hit the Runway...www.prweb.com
Making Your Clothes Last For Longer
* Fix fallen hems with Wundaweb Invisible Hemming Tape (sold in many high street shops), which irons and bonds the hem. We have tried it here at Junkk.com, and it really works well. Chief of Stuff at Junkk.com saved her favourite pair of jeans by using this stuff, and that was almost two years ago, and the jeans are still going strong!
* Some people may prefer the ripped trouser look, but if you don't, Vilene Softline Superlight Iron-On Interfacing (sold in many high street shops) can be used to temporarily fix the problem. All you need to do is iron it on from the inside.
* Spare buttons tend to come with new garments, so remember to keep these and use them whenever another button falls off and gets lost. To get a new button in the same position as the rest, fasten up the other buttons and lay the garment on the floor, flat out.
* Have you got clothes where the colour has faded, or you just want to change the colour? Then use Dylon Machine Dye (sold in many high street shops, or check out www.dylon.co.uk for further information). It costs approximately œ4.80 for a pack that will dye 500g of clothes in a washing machine. Again, Junkk.com's Chief of Stuff has also tried this out, and it works brilliantly. And don't worry about ruining the washing machine - she didn't have any problems - just follow the instructions on the pack.
* Have a clothes swap party with your friends - trade unwanted items for items you do want! Or buy and sell items on eBay (not as much fun!).
* Straight line dresses can be made into tops simply by cutting off the skirt and hemming.
* Wash your clothes less! Items such as coats/jackets/jeans etc, which do get smelly when worn in a smoky pub, need not be washed to get the smell out. Hang out on the washing line for a couple of hours or spray with Febreze (sold in many shops). Alternatively, make you own by putting a cap full of fabric Softener like Ecover into a spray bottle (reuse one you already have), top up with warm water and shake, and you have your own! Not recommended to use on dry clean only garments or silks, or anything other than fabrics/carpets etc.
* If you have stained a garment, and the stain just won't budge, take a good long look at it. Can you cover it up with something? You don't have the world's best seamstress, but with a little creativity you will go far!
* Darn your socks! It is quite simple to do. Not sure how? Check these instructions out here:
How to Darn Socks
Join in the discussion here about Eco Fashion (need to register first) here:
Eco Fashion Forum Thread
Cotton is produced very intensely. There are a lot of the pesticides used in the process. Chemicals are needed to scour off the fibres waxy layer to allow dye retention. Raw cotton is also bleached white with chemicals such as chlorine. Some crops are 'organic' and these are free from pesticides and other chemicals. Unbleached cotton may have been grown with pesticides, so this label doesn't mean as much. Organic cotton is produced in 15 countries, but that only represents 0.6% of overall production.
PAN UK is a organic cotton project for further information check out:
Hemp is the common name for a tall annual herb (Cannabis sativa), and is used for non-drug production. Hemp has natural strong, durable fibres, which has made it popular. Although there has been some stigma surrounding hemp due to its links with marijuana, but these crops are grown contain virtually none of the active substances that are found in marijuana. Pesticides aren't used in the production of hemp. Hemp has a multiple of uses, in food, (hemp seeds) clothing, fuel, and beauty products.
Linen is fabric made from yarn or flax, which grows much quicker than cotton, and also needs much less chemical weed control. Linen is great for the summer months as it has a cool effect. Linen can be found in many qualities from lightweight sheets, to strong sacks.
Silk is a very lightweight, fine, yellowish fibre produced from the silkworm. Fabrics that are produced are satin, crepes, ribbons and taffeta. It is another natural product, but can be treated and soaked in chemicals during the production process.
Not strictly organic, but still good for the environment as it is less going into landfill - clothes are now being made from recycled materials such as plastic bottles or tyres.
Here are a few alternative clothing companies you can check out.
The Natural Store - a mixture of organic clothing
Green Baby - organic clothing and green nappies for babies and children
0870 240 6894
Eczema Clothing - 100% organic cotton clothing, specialising in people with eczema
Yaoh - organic vegan hemp products
Approximately 300 millions of shoes are purchased each year in the UK. Shoe prices have decreased in recent years, due to lower costs of production (unfortunately sometimes slave labour in other developing countries). This has made it more unlikely for adults to buy used footwear. Young people in particular will buy shoes and then throw them out when they become 'unfashionable' rather than because they have worn out. Charity shops tend to be given more shoes than what they can sell. Many shoes also end up in the bin. Shoes are made out of a variety of materials, so when burnt, they can release harmful emissions into the atmosphere. Did you know that over 2 million shoes are thrown away every week in the UK?!
Where can I take my shoes to be recycled or re-used?
Shoes, in reasonable condition, can be taken to either a textile recycling bank, or a separate shoe bank (these are usually situated together). Alternatively, take them to your local bring bank, where many have recycling facility for shoes. Make sure you pop the shoes, tied together, into a bag before taking them.
Alternatively, if your shoes are in good condition, get your mates together and have a shoe and clothes swapping party. Save some money, bag yourself a new wardrobe, and save the planet too!
What happens to these shoes?
Once these shoes are collected and sorted for suitability, they are usually sent to developing countries around the world. They are sold to l9ocal tradesmen who then refurbish the shoes and then sell them on. This creates much needed local employment and a supply of shoes for people who need them, at affordable prices.
Check out Fashion UK, which is a funky fashion website that regularly features recycled shoe and textiles information.
Nike also has a Reuse-A-Shoe program, check out the link below for more information on this.
Textiles are made out of fibres, or extended linear materials such as thread. Materials can include wool, silk, linen, alpaca, cashmere, mohair, cotton, hemp, grass, nylon, acrylic and polyester, to name just a few. Methods used in making textiles include knitting, weaving, bleaching, dying, carding, braiding, crochet, and embroidery.
Textile recycling started in Yorkshire over 200 years ago. The rag and bone man would come and collect unwanted textiles (amongst other items), and would sell them on, or reuse them for something else.
Textiles include clothing, bags, furnishings, towels, carpets, nets, rugs, and flags. 3% of textiles end up in the household rubbish.
Where can I take my textiles to be recycled?
It is quite easy to recycle your textiles. Pop your unwanted goods into a bag, and pop to your local supermarket car park (many have textile recycling banks now) before you do your food shop, or check with your local council where your nearest textile recycling bank is. Many textile recycling banks can also be found in your local amenity centre. Clothes can also be donated to charity shops. Make sure they are in reasonable condition before taking them to the shop.
How are textiles sorted and recycled?
Textiles are sorted by hand into over 100 different categories and grades. This is done with a lot of care, as many of these items will be reused again, rather than recycled. Some textiles such as cotton rags are recycled into industrial wipers for cleaning purposes. Garments in good condition will be resold. The rest will be recycled into other things such as sound insulation panels, roofing felt, and upholstery.
Check out the Association of charity shops website to find the nearest shop.
The Textile Recycling Association is the industry body for people/organisations working in this area. Check out their website here.