Sunday Sustainability: Guest Author from Windy Hill Fibers Takes a Look at Repurposing Clothing

For today’s Sustainability Sunday I am pleased to introduce a guest writer to you!
Christine, from Windy Hill Fibers takes a good look at re-purposed clothing after the debacle of H&M’s wastefulness.

Here’s what Christine has to share:
You may have heard around the beginning of the month that an H&M store in New York had been slashing and throwing out unsold clothing. Bags and bags of clothes were not donated to charity, but rather were cut up and discarded to be sent off to a landfill. In response to this incident, H&M stated that it is company policy to donate the clothes, and that it would look into the situation in New York. So while H&M may not be dumping clothes into the landfills now, Americans are throwing out perfectly good clothing at a rate of 67.9 pounds per person per year. That totals nearly 2 quadrillion pounds per year, and most of it doesn’t have to end up there.

So why do people throw out clothing? Maybe it’s out of style, or it has a stain, or the cat or dog clawed a hole in it, but that doesn’t mean it has to go in the garbage. Any clothing you no longer want that is still in wearable condition could be donated to a charity, like Goodwill. You can also take those old clothes and refashion them into something new, and it’s easier than you may think.

Remember that reusing what you already have is an important part of a sustainable lifestyle, and your clothing is no exception. Repurposing clothing is actually a growing trend, and there are numerous books and websites offering information and tutorials. Popular sites like Wardrobe Refashion and Threadbanger offer videos, tips, and inspiration for taking those old clothes and turning them into something fun for yourself. Books like Alabama Stitch Book by Natalie Chanin, and Generation T, by Megan Nicolay, show you what to do with those old t-shirts, and how to make them into lovely skirts, blankets, and more. [Editor’s note: Also check out the book AlterNation by my friend Shannon Okey] If your clothes are too worn out or stained to reuse, cut them up to use as rags, in place of paper towels, for doubly green savings. If you crochet or knit, you can even cut up those old clothes and turn them into yarn. Learn how with this tutorial on the ecokaren website.

Many Etsy artisans are applying their creativity to refashioning clothes.

Armour Sans Anguish turns the slightly shabby into something romantic.

Devil made me do it
pieces together modern clothes from old cast-offs.

Glamarita makes incredible gowns from old neckties.

Heidiandseek has a talent for combining colors and patterns,

So the next time you clean out your closet, look at everything with a critical and creative eye. Donate what you can and repurpose the rest. You’ll be saving yourself some money and helping out our planet at the same time.

Want to find out more about my guest author?
Here’s where you can find Windy Hill Fibers:


En”lightened” Organic Art

Incandescent bulbs may be a thing of the past by 2012 due to a congressional mandate, and compact flourescents are poised to replace them.  One artist however, is making sure that all those old incandescent bulbs aren’t just forgotten and thrown in the trash though.

SteamedGlass by Tim Witteveen, breathes new life into incandescent bulbs. Perhaps one of the most elaborate creations from this artist is “Professor Alexander’s Botanical Vasculum”  You simply must visit the shop to read Tim’s creative (and historic!) description of this organic work of art.  It’s an incredibly detailed work with an adjustable magnifying glass, and even a solar powered LED bulb.


Professor Alexander’s Botanical Vasculum, $150

I am completely charmed by these unique works of art!  While they are completely stunning, even more wonderful is the fact that Tim has taken recycled art to another level, and also incoporates actual living organic material inside!

Ollie’s World: Teaching Sustainability to Children

I just wanted to share a fabulous site I came across that’s great for kids and teachers and even other grown ups to learn about sustainability.  If you know a kid (or a kid at heart) and want to help them learn about and change the world they live in check out Ollie’s World. This fabulous site has tons of information, games, activites and resources related to recycling, reusing, reducing waste and more.


No Trash Talking about Green Goods

If you’ve been following this blog for awhile, you’ll know that I recently moved, and am a fan of green living.  Of course, I’m not the best at this green living stuff.   I’ve been reading up in my recycled paper book of “green” ideas of course, stocked up on vinegar and baking soda, and purchased my very first recycling bins (hooray!).  Of course, I still couldn’t resist spraying the ever living-you-know-what out of the poison ivy all over our property. (If you saw my poor hubby, you might understand, as we’re both HIGHLY allergic to the stuff)  Oh well, slowly learning is better than not learning at all I suppose.

So due to this interest in “green” stuff I pause at any items that come across my radar that are earth friendly.  When I saw  “Don’t be Trashy” necklace by Cat, artist behind Uncorked, I did a double-pause.  First there was the recycling symbol on her necklace and an accompanying humorous command.  What a fun little reminder to treat the Earth well there.  Second, to quote her own product listing her cork is “grown in managed forests in Portugal and Spain where the bark is carefully harvested, once every nine years, in a centuries-old tradition with hand tools and without fertilizers or pesticides; a process that ensures the forests will remain undamaged!” Now that’s just really cool.

Intrigued?  Visit her shop Uncorked, there’s a lot more to discover!

Don’t Be Trashy Necklace, $15.00 by Uncorked