Project Runway said it best: One day you’re in, the next day you’re out. Fast fashion is a way of creating on-trend clothing quickly that goes from catwalk to storefront to the consumer. Clothing and apparel affordable enough to be considered disposable, today’s fast fashion industry drives sales around a 52-season trend cycle, one for every week of the year. 

The goal of fast fashion is to motivate consumers to buy as many garments as possible, as quickly as possible, replacing and tossing trendy wardrobe items rather than reusing or repairing them. This turnover rate leads to harmful effects on our environment and a surplus of garments in our landfills.

But there are simple steps you can take to create a more sustainable closet. And it’s easier than it sounds! You can completely transform your own pieces that have been collecting dust in your closet into items you won’t want to stop wearing! 

Upcycling is the practice of turning old items into something new, and ultimately cutting down on waste produced. Here are a few ways to transform your closet for the summer!

Back to the Basics: T-Shirts  

Many of us have a collection of old t-shirts that are piled into our dresser drawer, waiting to be donated or thrown away. You can completely transform these into something stylish that you will actually want to wear. Try turning your plain tee into a fashionable off-the-shoulder shirt that is perfect for a night out. Even if this transformation isn’t your style, you can give the gift of sustainable fashion to someone who would rock this look. Check out this DIY video to see how to do it.


Bored with your basics? Turn your tee into a tank! Try this easy 7 step tutorial for the perfect halter top. This look is great for Sunday brunch and comfy to wear all day long.

Photo by Geneva Vanderzeil

Keep the summer breeze out of your face by turning extra material from your shirts into a scrunchie using this DIY guide.

Photo via Lana Red Studio

A Leg Up in Fashion

Do you have jeans that you haven’t worn in a while? Turn those jeans into a skirt that pairs well with any outfit! Use this video tutorial to see how easy it can be.

jean skirt.jpg
Photo via Cotton and Curls

Is sewing not your forte? No problem! Spicing up a pair of old jeans is easy with this velvet side stripe tutorial.

Photo by Brittni Mehlhoff on Paper & Stitch Blog

If your favorite leggings have a hole in them or you are just tired of your plain leggings, spark new life in them with a no-sew side braid. These are cute for a yoga class or a casual outfit around town. 

Click here to check out the no-sew tutorial!

Photo by Mikaela Holmes on

Dress It Up or Dress It Down 

Do you love the pattern or fabric of a dress but never have the opportunity to wear it that often? Solution: Turn it into a fun and flowy ruffled shirt. This transformation looks complicated, but the tutorial will show you how!

Photo via Cotton and Curls

Style Up Your Scarf

Old scarves can be turned into colorful, boho vests to accessorize an everyday outfit. Here are 10 other ways to reimagine your scarves.

Photo via Misty Spinney on Brit + Co

Turn your sandals into a statement item! This video is an excellent tutorial on how to do it.


There’s a Box For That

When you are done with your new DIYs, you may have some fabric scraps left over. The best way to dispose of these is through our Fabric and Clothing Zero Waste Box! You can use this box to recycle any textile or fabric-based products, including old and worn-out clothing.


Other Tips and Tricks!

Thrift stores, consignment stores, and apps such as Goodwill, Buffalo Exchange, and LetGo all offer great ways to buy or sell clothing. This is a budget-friendly way to give clothes a second life and out of landfills. 

Ultimately, the best thing you can do to be sustainably fashionable is by reducing the amount you buy. Most people over-shop, and often buy products that they only wear one time! While purchasing something new and fun can bring us joy, it is short-lived and ultimately harms the environment we call home.

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