Rejoice for Reclaimed, Recycled & Repurposed
If you aren't able to regift this year, perhaps you can work with another verb of the same prefix: reclaimed, recycled, or repurposed. Often synonyms, these processes might mean converting a material into something else (recycled), or recovering it for reuse (repurposed/reclaimed).
I love when brands do this because it means something that might have gone to waste is being used in a creative way. This is not an exhaustive list and there are many brands that have one or more of these processes at work. Get in the habit of investigating the materials of products before you buy them. Some brands like Patagonia make their fabric innovation obvious, but others don't even advertise it. Ask questions or email customer service, especially if it's not a natural fabric.
Below are some of the brands I've been saving to share with you. Save them for when you need (truly need) something you can't find or don't want secondhand.
Click to be taken to the products.
Located in NYC, ABC Home is one of my favorite places to go and hang out in. They've done all of the ethical vetting, so all you have to do is marvel at the beauty of their selection. You can easily find reclaimed and recycled furniture and decor throughout the site. This one-of-a-kind Nandi Flatweave Cotton Rug is woven from recycled cotton T-shirts in South Africa. They have a simple Recycled Cardboard Dustpan that's made in Sweden. And this Moss + Sedum Terrarium gives you a DIY kit in a repurposed wine bottle.
ASOS Reclaimed Vintage
ASOS Reclaimed Vintage is a collection of reworked and authentic vintage clothing. Rare vintage fabrics and designs are updated onto dead-stock retro shirts, vintage t-shirts and sweatshirts, alongside a range of original vintage pieces.
I often find the ASOS site overwhelming to navigate and it's easy to click away from the vintage into the new, so I'm providing all of the links here:
The Base Project
The Base Project is building bridges between artisans in the developing world and the US fashion market in order to create jobs and support community development projects. Their first line of hand-carved bracelets look like they are made of horn, but are actually made from repurposed discarded plastic pipe. The pipe is collected, hand-cut and carved by local artisans from Northern Namibia. Their travel bags are made of repurposed fabrics, hand sewn by a women's cooperative in Ghana, Africa.
Faribault Woolen Mill Co.
Manready Mercantile has all three verbs covered in their curated inventory of items. Poglia & Co design their knives in New York and craft them in their workshop in the South of Brazil. Each blade is hand-drawn and forged from repurposed steel, mostly from reclaimed disk plows and then finished with brass, bone, or horn. Unfortunately, I can't find information on whether the bone and horn is reclaimed. The Jyumoku Re-purposed Gym Bag is made by hand in California from repurposed materials and hardware, so no two bags are alike. Their Work Hard, Live Well Canteen is a 100% recycled metal water bottle made in Yakima, WA.
Rodale's is one of my favorite sites for all things ethical. This Recycled Wool Blanket by Manduka is made from 75% recycled wool and 25% recycled synthetic fibers for durability. These Quartz Chain Drop Earrings are handmade using vintage repurposed brass and raw quartz. The Oversized Recycled Shopping Bag by Be Home is made from coated 100% recycled paper.
Ethical jewelry is often crafted from reclaimed or recycled metals. Read about four small jewelry brands and their sustainable stories.
Urban Outfitters Urban Renewal
The Urban Renewal section of Urban Outfitters is rife with cool "renewed" items for home, men, and women. It's a good selection of items made from interesting materials like this vintage mud cloth made into a large pouf. Or this jacket, originally the liner to a French military coat. These Farmhaus Reclaimed Wood And Screw Rings are crafted from reclaimed wood and vintage screws in Philadelphia.
Recycling, reclaiming, and repurposing are also very DIY friendly. Get inspired to make something old into something new by following my Refashion / Rescue board on Pinterest.
Tell me in the comments if you have a favorite brand or DIY that recycles, reclaims, or repurposes materials.
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