Since the idea of shelling out for a new summer wardrobe this season might feel like a sham, many trendsetters are turning inward, to their own closets. The events that summer style usually revolve around (music festivals, rooftop parties, beach vacations) are either in jeopardy or have been cancelled outright, but it’s still hard to shake the joy of new trends. DIY upcycling projects like taking a squeeze-bottle of dye to your old Target crewneck, have become an increasingly popular, quarantine-friendly way to scratch that itch and stay in vogue.While projects like these are far from novel, they’re having a renaissance in 2020, for a few reasons. Many consumers are now on tighter budgets, and the spirit of DIY is pocket consciousness. Plus, as documentaries like The True Cost have exposed the insidious and exploitative realities of the fast fashion industry, quick-fix brands like H&M and Forever 21 are leaving a bad taste in more and more consumers’ mouths. Using what you have in your own closet is a way out of that harmful process, without giving up that new outfit bliss. Younger generations’ buying habits are moving toward the sustainable, with apps like Depop offering a digital, inexpensive, and super-trendy way to purchase secondhand– think thrift shopping if everything was curated by fashion-conscious GenZ-ers. Upcycling projects are another prong of that movement, strike a particular chord in a time where non-screen-based projects are cherished.
Here are some DIY trends that are capturing 2020:
Tie Dye/Bleach Dying
Tie-dye is having a moment, and it might be more than just nineties nostalgia. On Instagram nowadays, it seems like everyone is either baking sourdough bread or wearing a tie-dyed sweat suit. If you/your kid sibling ever went through a friendship bracelet phase (maybe a holdover from summer camp), odds are you have embroidery floss laying around. Take a sewing needle and some thread to an old shirt, and you’ve got totally unique, personalized duds.
If you or your kid sibling ever went through a friendship bracelet phase (maybe a holdover from summer camp), odds are you have embroidery floss laying around. Take a sewing needle and some thread to an old shirt, and you’ve got totally unique, personalized duds.
With a little sewing know-how, or even a little cutting know-how, an oversized shirt can become a charming summer blouse, or a pair of ill-fitting jeans can become a stylish skirt.
This one might be the simplest on the list. Whether you stencil or freehand, all you really need is fabric paint and a vision. Try painting the name of your girl-group on the back of your jean jacket à la Pink Ladies.
There’s a question that lurks behind these at-home fashion trends: why do we need to update our wardrobes if nobody’s even going to see us? But as anyone who takes pride in their personal style can tell you, it’s not always about anyone else. The thrill of clothes is often a private experience, and with the right garb we can feel like we’re inching closer to a more whole vision of ourselves. Upcycling is a way to fulfill those dreams without being trapped in the quotidian, toxic cycle of consuming and disposing. Right now we have the chance to develop a new form of style that’s just for us, not for broadcast, but for the sake of a personalized design journey. You can take something you might have had for a while and either have gotten sick of or never quite knew how to wear, and make it work for you. It becomes your masterpiece- something you’ve tailor-made for yourself, your style, your color palate, your wardrobe, and if it ends up raking in the Instagram likes in the process, all the better.