Upcycling is recycling at its best.
Upcycling involves taking an item that has otherwise lost its appeal and is no longer being utilized and turning it into something new. It is an act of environmentalism, creativity and purpose. Anything that is upcycled has a unique sense of character that comes from both the pieces it was created from and the creator itself.
Upcycled products are growing in popularity. Some choose upcycled products because they like the sense of style that is inherent in these items. Usually, upcycled products have a custom, vintage-yet-contemporary look that looks anything but ordinary.
Other people choose upcycled products solely for the environmental benefit. They feel better knowing that their new-to-them items have not required new materials to make.
Most people who choose to purchase upcycled products likely do so for a combination of the style and the environmental benefit.
We’ve become so used to the idea of instant gratification. There is this first-world mindset of throwing things away as quickly as we buy them. Quantity over quality is one way to look at this. Or, the idea that items are no longer being made with the quality and durability of the past so once something is no longer working, useful or suitable, it is no longer good or of need.
Way back when, if people wanted new clothes they either had to sew them or have them custom made. When something had a hole, a rip or no longer fit they were tailored. This was a time-consuming and expensive proposition. Because of the time and money needed to get new clothes, people didn’t have as many clothes. They had key pieces in their wardrobe and they wore them, fixed them, tailored them until they were no longer suitable for wear.
Now, you can go into a store, instantly buy clothes and in many cases, get these items for a cheap price. There is no time delay. A simple t-shirt or dress is less expensive in a store than the cost for the fabric. It is more convenient and less expensive to purchase quantity.
This has led to people buying items for a want and in some cases, to be worn or used only a few times. This trend has driven us to rapid overproduction and consumption.
What happens when we no longer want the items that we were once so eager to purchase? They often end up in the landfill.
In addition, what does it take in terms of resources to create new items? A simple, cheap cotton t-shirt has a strain on our resources based on the amount of cotton it takes to create it.
3 Big Benefits of Choosing Upcycled Products
By their very nature, upcycled products are environmentally friendly. By repurposing old, unused and discarded products into material this keeps items out of the landfill. They also reduce the need for expanded production of materials which can have an impact on air quality, emissions and global resources.
When you purchase items that have been upcycled you can feel good knowing you made an eco-friendly choice. You’ve chosen an item that was created by past-goods that may have made their way into the landfill. By choosing an upcycled product, you have reduced harmful emmissions and helped our air quality. And, you have ensured that you are not wasting materials that are created from natural resources that may already be on the decline.
Upcycled products are on trend, and for more than just being eco-friendly. Generally, items that have been upcycled have been handcrafted and have a sense of style that shines through. They showcase the creativity of the designer, while showing off the innate character from the original item. They were created based on an inspired, creative vision. They are one-of-a-kind. In today’s world of mass-produced products and knock-offs, custom-designed, one-of-a-kind products have a unique appeal.
There’s a big movement to support local businesses. Big box, corporate and national stores have their place within our marketplace, but should never be at the expense of individuals who are looking to build local businesses.
Local businesses support the local community. In some cases, they provide meaningful employment for community members. They, in-turn, often shop local which benefits other community businesses. Shopping local stimulates the local economy, too.
Plus, local businesses add colour and flair to communities. It’s a different, more personal shopping experience that can’t be replicated in a big-box, national store.
Benefits of Custom, Upcycled Leather Handbags
Now, let’s look at the benefits of one-type of upcycled fashion product that is sought after: leather handbags.
Leather is made from animal hide, most commonly from cows. In the vast majority of cases, cows are not slaughtered for their hide; rather, hide is a byproduct from animals that are being slaughtered for food sources.
Once upon a time, items made from leather were basically used for life. A leather jacket was a once-in-a-lifetime purchase. A leather wallet or purse was used for life. This is because leather is a very high quality material that is durable and long lasting.
How we purchase products has drastically changed over time. Most people buy for now, rather than forever. This contributes to waste, the filling of landfills and consumerism.
What hasn’t changed is that leather is still quality, durable and long lasting.
There are many benefits of repurposing leather products. From leather furniture to leather jackets, anything leather can be turned into something new, such as a custom designed purse or tote bag.
When we use leather from products that are no longer being used, that means that less leather is needed from animal hides.
It also means that less items end up in the landfill.
In addition, the growing popularity of upcycled products, namely out of leather and natural resources, can begin to change the way consumers think about what they purchase.
Then there is the benefit of supporting a local artisan. When someone purchases a custom upcycled leather handbag they are supporting an artisan who has personally designed the piece from an inspired vision.
Animals and environment aside, you are purchasing a one-of-a-kind stylish handbag that was made to last.
Each bag has its own style and character. They are statement pieces that make a statement in style while making an ethical and environmental statement, too.