Recycling and reusing is nothing new in the world of crafting. After all, crafters have always been pretty thrifty when it comes to their projects. “Upcycling”, however, has recently taken the crafting world by storm.
“Upcycling” is the process of converting old materials into new products of higher quality. Furthermore, it produces items of higher environmental state. From Etsy shops to clothes swaps, many people are raising awareness through their craft and benefiting from “upcycling.”
One way in which the crafting community has experienced “upcycling” is through the organization of clothes swaps. One clothes swap in particular, Swap-O-Rama-Rama, has been making its way across the country and bringing crafters together. Founded by artist and yoga instructor, Wendy Tremane, Swap-O-Rama-Rama is a clothing shop coupled with DIY workshops to “upcycle “old and unwanted clothes.
The swap itself allows participants to bring one bag of any size of their unwanted clothing and a small donation. The donation itself varies depending on funding but generally does not exceed $10 dollars. In every swap there is a giant collective pile of clothing, which participants later dive into and take whatever they want.
After participants have chosen their clothing from the grab pile they can head on over to the sewing stations and attend workshops. These workshops teach the participants how to make alterations, modifications, and transformations. Additionally, each Swap-O-Rama-Rama event features local artisans who run the workshops. These local artists teach the participants how to make anything from a new skirt to a lamp shade with the clothes they picked from the grab pile.
Best of all these events are completely run by the local community. Events such as Swap-O-Rama-Rama usually have no staff. An individual simply wishes to produce a clothing swap and recruits local artists to bring their own ideas and skills into their community. In this way, the event brings the community together by creative means under a common cause.
There are many reasons why artists and crafters are choosing to “upcyle” old items. By recreating old items into new products artists are able to reconnect with consumers and invite everyone to reclaim the creativity that has been lost in mass production. Furthermore, “upcycling” reduces textile waste and recovers the individual’s role in the creative process. Through “upcycling” artisans also take the opportunity to donate left over clothes and items to charity and take on active roles in their communities.
“Upcycling” in the crafting world is attempting to reclaim the crafts of generations past. As recent as 100 years ago everyone made what they owned and poured their heart and soul into their products. Additionally, “upcycling” pays a part in the role in the fight against child labor, harmful synthetic materials, and wasteful habits. By pushing an individual’s creative limits, “upcyling” allows the individual to become their own maker and reignites a sense of human accomplishment.
Girl Reconstructed: Upcycling Old Clothes