Slow Fashion

3 ways to easily revive your old clothes and turn them into dazzling new pieces

Looking for a new outfit? Look no further than your own closet! Here are some ideas to easily repair or upcycle your old garments into ‘new’ pieces of clothing.

February 7, 2023

The only thing better than donating old garments to charity might actually be keeping them and improving their quality, or even restoring them to their nearly original quality. 

Oftentimes, restoring your clothes can be incredibly satisfying and allows you to keep an item that holds memories or intrinsic value to you. Plus, it’s more ecologically friendly than throwing them away and buying something new. 

Fast fashion has been a topic of conversation for some time now. Clothing has one the quickest turnover rates in what has become a throw-away culture. Anything we can do to lower our environmental footprint will not only help the planet but our wallets too. 

You have an entirely new AND sustainable wardrobe right under your nose just waiting to be discovered. In this article, we look at a few ways to repair or repurpose your existing wardrobe! 

Brighten up your faded clothes

Bright clothes in the washing machine.

Fading is one common reason people discard their old clothes. Re-colouring or re-dyeing your clothes can be a viable option, but did you know that you can actually boost or restore the colour of your clothes in a more natural way? 

Just place your clothes into the washing machine as you normally would then add half a cup of salt to the drum – yes, salt! Regular salts work fine but make sure you avoid overly coarse salt or sea salt since these may not dissolve completely in the washing machine. 

Salt helps minimise fading, remove baked-in stains, and get rid of any unwanted smells or odours. 

Then just dry your clothing as normally, bearing in mind that the tumble dryer can kill colour if used for the wrong garment. Luckily, hanging your clothes to dry is the most earth-friendly option anyway ;)

Repair your clothes with a needle and thread 

Needle and thread

Sadly,  in our modern times, the art of mending has all but disappeared. But, sometimes the answer is as simple as good old-fashioned sewing! 

Whether it’s a small hole or a big one, a needle and thread can do the trick to make a garment as good as new. Turn the item inside out to hide any knots or weird lines on the inside of the piece. If the hole is too big you’ll need a patch, but the process is still simple. 

Patches are an excellent way to add a bit of personality to your piece! Try using a thick bandana or a piece of extra fabric you might have lying around. If you’re feeling fancy, you can learn some different types of stitching to give your garment a cool touch. 

Indeed, simply a needle and thread, along with a basic understanding of sewing basics, will cover most small repairs. Easy peasy.

Revive your wardrobe with upcycling

Women upcycling a pair of jeans

Fabric can be so expensive! If your item or garment isn’t serving you in its current form or is slightly beyond repair, repurposing it can be a wonderful way to still use your old clothing and help deter the fashion industry’s high turnover and help save  the environment. 

Not sure what to use it for yet? Cut an old piece into a simple shape that you’ll be able to save for a future project. So when you’re ready, you can let the creativity flow! And, you can keep up with the latest fashion trends without dolling out a tonne of cash. For second-hand style inspiration, two of my favourites are Style & Sustain and She Goes Rogue.

Final Thoughts

Don’t let your clothes wear out to the point of disrepair. There are plenty of ways to make them ‘new’ again and enjoy your existing closet for years to come, all the while being ecologically-conscious, sustainable, and most importantly, fashionable.

If your clothes are past the point of repair and you're not quite sure what to do with them, check out these surprisingly easy ways to repurpose old clothes.

Siobhán is the founder of Bon+Berg. When she's not designing bras and undies, you'll find her snowboarding, hiking, or just enjoying the views in the mountains. She is passionate about environmental issues and wants to inspire others to live a more sustainable lifestyle.

Siobhán Dunphy

Siobhán is the founder of Bon+Berg. When she's not designing bras and undies, you'll find her snowboarding, hiking, or just enjoying the views in the mountains. She is passionate about environmental issues and wants to inspire others to live a more sustainable lifestyle.