UpGarm gives clothes an extreme makeover, turning your old tattered flannel into a cute dress you’d actually want to wear.
UpGarm, a recently launched platform dedicated to hosting artisans specialising in reworked fashion, aims to combat the issue of waste generated by the fashion industry. By providing an inspiring, easy-to-use app where one can find artisans who specialise in reworked fashion, UpGarm strives to shift the fashion industry towards circularity.
Currently, the fashion industry is the second biggest polluter in the world. We have enough clothing to supply the next six generations of the human race, yet items of clothing are worn only once or twice before being discarded and replaced. Discarded items typically end up in landfill, occasionally are down-cycled into rags for industrial use, or at best resold in charity shops. In a world where clothes are mindlessly produced and consumed in unsustainable quantities, produced by an industry that exploits the planet and people, it is high time for radical change—one that UpGarm strives to bring.
In the UK, we produce 350,000 tonnes of waste per year. This is not only a wake-up call to our inconsolable habits, but also a source of immeasurable possibilities and potential. To quote Michael Braungart, we must see “waste as food, as a nutrient for what’s to come.”
“By providing an inspiring, easy-to-use app where one can find artisans who specialise in reworked fashion, UpGarm strives to shift the fashion industry towards circularity”
To properly address the issues at hand, our constant need to buy more, whether from small businesses, or big, needs to change. We need to start to look inwards, at the waste we have already accumulated, rather than outwards at what more we can consume. To truly be conscious consumers we must think creatively about what we already have. The fashion industry, as it stands, is monopolised by a handful of large brands and corporations who own the majority of the high street. Low prices and frequent new collections encourage shoppers to buy mindlessly, ignoring who or how the clothes are made.
However, things do seem to be changing. Since the lockdown in March, people are becoming much more aware of the social and environmental problems created by the fashion industry. Campaigns such as #PayUp and I made your clothes, as well as the call to boycott BooHoo, have made many more people aware of the current issues at play. ‘Sustainable’ fashion is gaining traction. People are starting to care about where their clothes come from, who made them, and how to reduce their carbon footprint.
Throughout the pandemic, shopping locally and from small businesses became a way to show one’s solidarity, or to help out in the community. However, the more one delves into these issues, the more it becomes evident that shopping at so-called ‘sustainable’ or small brands is simply not enough.
“We need to start to look inwards at the waste we have already accumulated, rather than outwards at what more we can consume. To truly be conscious consumers we must think creatively about what we already have”
The future of fashion is about reducing consumption and waste while championing circularity. UpGarm is not just another second-hand marketplace. Not only will buyers be able to find beautifully crafted items made from ‘unwanted’ materials, but the app will provide buyers with the option of having their existing items reworked or request a custom piece.
All materials have longer lifespans than many people typically think. Clothes should be reincarnated several times before they are considered unwearable. There are endless possibilities to reuse the clothes we leave at the back of our wardrobes. Through UpGarm, with access to a whole host of talented artisans, old, tired denim jackets can be transformed into a wearable piece of art, and old work-shirts into summer dresses.
UpGarm is for those who prioritise the planet just as much as they do their self-expression and creativity. It is a place for those who want to disrupt the system and re-evaluate what it means to enjoy fashion. UpGarm prides itself upon three core values: respecting the planet, embracing uniqueness, and being disruptive. The platform plays a key role in the movement to reduce consumption, fuel creativity, and shift our mindsets from quantity to quality. Follow their Instagram here, keep an eye out for the launch of the app and join the UpGarm community.
“UpGarm is for those who prioritise the planet just as much as they do their self-expression and creativity. It is a place for those who want to disrupt the system and re-evaluate what it means to enjoy fashion”
As the founder of Re_considered, one of the artisans who features on UpGarm’s platform, I am most excited about how the platform will help me connect with people out there who want their clothes reworked and rejuvenated. Yes, it is a space to showcase and sell my already reworked items, but the opportunity to streamline the bespoke upcycling service is what is most important. I am passionate about providing an upcycling service to help people address their existing waste and unworn, unwanted items that sit at the back of their wardrobes.
As an artisan, and someone genuinely interested in shifting perspectives on consumption, I couldn’t be more excited to be part of UpGarm’s platform. Founders, Annabel and Mikey, are equally as impassioned about truly making a difference to how we shop, but also about making conscious consumption accessible and available to everyone.
“Sustainable” fashion has for a long time been a luxury, too expensive for the mainstream consumer. What resonated most with me about UpGarm was their pledge to redefining ‘luxury’; from an expensive commodity, to simply something unique to you. Join UpGarm and their artisans on their mission to radically shift perspectives on fashion.
“What resonated most with me about UpGarm was their pledge to redefining ‘luxury’; from an expensive commodity, to simply something that is entirely unique to you”
By Tabby Bunyan