SUSTAINABILITY | Aug 25, 2021
If you’ve never heard the term “upcycling” before, you wouldn’t be the first—though we’d bet good money that you’ve seen something that’s been upcycled without realizing it. Upcycling, much like recycling, is a process that aims to reuse rather than discard. The only difference being the end product: recycling leaves you with new materials that can be repurposed—upcycling leaves you with an entirely new product. It’s a little bit of environmental science, a little bit of no-waste philosophy, and a little bit of DIY crafty culture all wrapped up into one.
Okay, so we’ve answered the question, “what is upcycling?” and now you may be wondering, “why on earth are you telling me all this?!” Well, we have a good reason. Upcycling has always been a huge part of the fashion industry—think thrifting flips, custom-dyed dresses and personalized denim jackets—but with concerns about fast fashion becoming ever more present, upcycling has seen a surge. Not only for its environmental impact, but for the creativity people feel in making something that was once unworn or unusable feel fresh again.
As a subscription clothing rental service, Nuuly strives to make fashion a little gentler on the environment. Shared closets are one way we pursue that goal. Another is our newest upcycling initiative, Re_Nuuly. Born to give our well-loved rental garments a second life, the Re_Nuuly label reduces waste, reimagines damaged pieces as the source material of new style and plays a key role in our mission to make fashion more circular. What can we say? We like to use the scraps.
__Re_Nuuly x __
So how do we upcycle our damaged or end-of-life rentals? We partner with some of the best creative brains on our team, in our community and all around the world to transform damaged, stained or unrentable garments into entirely new pieces. We’ve already dropped two Re_Nuuly collections: Re_Nuuly x Riley Vintage and Hum+Bee x Re_Nuuly . One combining the best of our damaged goods with one-of-a-kind vintage gems, the other completely reviving them with hand-created dye patterns in pretty much any color you could imagine. With smart partnerships and an eye for diamonds in the rough, we’re able to keep even the rentals we once considered goners in continued circulation.
More Than Just a Label
Besides being some of the most exciting and top-rented garments we offer, Re_Nuuly pieces really demonstrate what we mean by our philosophy Change Your Clothes. Beyond bringing a piece of clothing back to life and being a little kinder toward the planet, we hope the Re_Nuuly label can inspire Nuulyers to look for ways to maximize their closets. Whether that be grabbing a bottle of dye and going to town, cutting up some old buttondowns and stitching new halves together or reaching out to an artist to bring a worn leather jacket back to life, it’s about small repeatable steps that create change. And if there’s anything worth repeating, it’s creative thinking that keeps clothes out of landfills a bit longer.
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