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Green Is The New Black

Conscious Holiday Guide To Upcycling & Repurposing

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The best things in life are old, loved and rescued.

Reduce, reuse, recycle and upcycle this festive season with these tips and tricks from our sustainable fashion friends – Agatha Lee – Textile ArtistLaura Francois – Fashion Revolution SG, and Raye Padit – Swapaholic.
150,700 tonnes of textile was thrown away last year in Singapore. And yet, we continue to buy more and more, year after year. When it comes to the Christmas season, it can feel even more difficult to escape from the need to buy yet another outfit. It’s no wonder when 30 percent of annual retail sales typically happen around the holidays.
Not only can it be a burden on the wallet, but it’s an even heavier burden on the environment. The production of our clothing saps Mother Nature of an insane amount of resources including water, trees and clean air. To make matters worse, Singapore is having difficulty coping with the amount of textile waste that is piling up.
So why not ditch the idea of buying ‘new’ this Christmas, and welcome the ‘old’ with holiday cheer!
The gift of experiences
If you want to go the extra mile with a friend think of a special experience you can create for them instead of buying a physical, after all, it’s the thought that counts. It can be as simple as finding a new amazing coffee place to take them too or finding a special screening of an old movie, or a friend date day with multiple pit stops. It’s a simple and fun way to show them you care. Clothing gifts will go out of style but quality time never does.
Enjoy giving instead of receiving
It’s better to give than to receive. Dedicate your time to helping a charity of your choice, there are many deserving beneficiaries in Singapore that could do with an extra helping hand. Make it even more special and volunteer with a friend. If you are a little strapped for time, pop over here for a few giving ideas with our guide of non-gifts to gift.
From old to new with upcycling
If you have outgrown some clothing, maybe there is an awkward mark, or it just isn’t fitting the way it use to – don’t be a tosser, instead repurpose. Use your unwanted clothing to craft something new for someone. Nothing says ‘Merry Christmas’ like a DIY gift. How about a tote bag? Fabric ornaments? Trendy pillowcase? Fabric wrapping paper? Cloth napkins? Pinterest is your friend here and so is Agy Textile Artist, get her upcycling tips here

Get creative with your wardrobe
Christmas doesn’t just mean ‘red and ‘green’. Be creative with your wardrobe and think outside of the ‘Holiday fashion’ season. Make your wardrobe new for that Christmas party by adding subtle embellishments using fabric glue or use natural dyes to transform an item. No one will know it’s from last year dah-ling.
Sharing, and swapping, is caring
Fashion is a dirty industry and it takes 2,730 litres of water to make a single cotton t-shirt – that’s how much we normally drink over a 3 year period. Instead of buying new, give your clothes a new lease of life by swapping with your besties. Or join one of Swapaholic’s clothes swaps, as they say – friends that swap together, stay together!
Get your fancy pants on
Single-use plastic isn’t actually ‘disposable’. It ends up in our landfills or worse oceans and takes over a century to degrade. Get fancy with your Christmas settings this year and use cloth napkins, tablecloths – which can be from your wardrobe or old sheets – real cutlery and plates. Your guests and the planet will thank you.
Turn plastic bags into gold 
Okay, not quite gold but one of these handcrafted upcycled bags from our friends at Coopita! They partnered with an organisation in India that works with tribal women who weave and transform plastic bags into beautiful and functional lifestyle products. There is a tiered swap fee depending on the number of bags you bring and then you will be able to gift beautiful shopping bag, yoga mat cover or planner. The bonus is the social impact you will create by contributing to providing stable livelihoods for the women who weave the bags.
This guide is part of our 12 Days of Conscious Christmasclick to see all the guides. Let’s all take #LittleGreenSteps to #LiveMoreConsciously this Christmas!
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Laura is a human centred designer and systems thinker, and a change agent for human rights in the fashion industry, facilitating awareness and connection to the human and environmental stories behind our clothing.

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