Local Vancouver shops upcycle to reduce textile waste

Residents of Metro Vancouver throw away an average of 22 pounds of clothing each year

Evan Hagedorn
30

Reported by Evan Hagedorn

There’s no need to throw out those ripped jeans, thanks to local initiatives reworking used clothing to tackle the problem of textile waste.

Mintage, located on Commercial Drive, offers a wide variety of vintage clothing from many different eras. Photo by Evan Hagedorn

Upcycling, taking textiles destined for the landfill and transforming them into environmentally-friendly fashion, is a practice that local clothing companies and even high-end designers at Eco Fashion Week have taken on. Despite their best efforts, each resident of Metro Vancouver still throws away an average of 22 pounds of clothing per year.

Skylar Stock, owner of Mintage, a vintage store on Commercial Drive, said eco-fashion practices such as recycling and upcycling clothing gives people the option to buy quality clothes.

“The one thing you can definitely get out of [recycled clothing] is quality,” Stock said. “Nowadays you buy clothes and they just fall apart, whereas I got clothes in here…that are 50 to 60 years old, and they have been washed over and over. And guess what, you can wear [them] years to come.”

On campus, some Langara College students are also making conscious decisions when it comes to the clothing they wear.

“I would much rather reuse clothing because there is so much crappy, overproduced clothing that’s low quality,” said Julie Newton, second-year science student.

Even with the existence of upcycled clothing, second hand shops and donation bins, Karen Storry, project engineer, solid waste services at Metro Vancouver, said the main challenge is informing consumers their old, broken clothes have value.

“I think the main reason that people throw out clothing, is that they are not aware of the options and they are also not aware of what has value,” Storry said. “So what we’re looking at is [creating a policy] which encourages people to put appropriate, dry, clean and suitable clothing in donation bins, instead of the garbage.”

Eco Fashion Week, taking place March 31 to April 2 in Vancouver, is challenging local designers to create a new clothing line from textiles destined for the garbage.

The photos in the slideshow below are from Mintage on Commercial Drive.

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