Slow Fashion & The Story Behind SOULMUCH Upcycled Thrifted Shirts

We are about to launch our very own upcycled thrifted SOULMUCH shirts which we are BEYOND stoked about! Every single shirt is unique, thrifted, and upcycled into something special for all of our amazing supporters.  

We wanted to sell shirts as another fun way to get our message out there and expand our tribe of cookie loving, eco-conscious consumers. When brainstorming how to make shirts while staying aligned with our core values, we thought about using “eco materials” such as recycled plastic. This seemed like a great idea until we found out that there is a global shortage of PET (recycled plastic) because the fashion industry is now purchasing large quantities due to a push from consumers to be more sustainable. Bottling companies are now forced to use virgin plastics. In the end, this still results in more plastic being created and consumed. That still contributes to the larger issues of fast fashion, a pattern of production that creates excess waste and negative environmental impacts. Our goal was to find a way to not only minimize our environmental impact, but a way to actually solve the problem and create social change. Recycled plastics no longer seemed to align with that goal. We went back to the drawing board and thought about our entire purpose which is TO PREVENT WASTE. SOULMUCH was birthed from repurposing food, upcycling byproducts and giving items a second life. It started to all click. 

If we can prevent these shirts from heading to the landfill, then we are solving a REAL problem, we are creating REAL change, and making a TRUE positive environmental impact. SOULMUCH thrifted shirts were born.

Clothing is an integral part of our daily lives, whether we consider fashion to be important to us or not. With today’s quick trend cycles and online shopping, fast fashion has become the new normal. Have you noticed that every few months, new ‘must have’ trends appear and then shortly, it seems like every company has a similar styled product? This style of production comes at a high cost. 

What is fast fashion? 

Fast fashion is a system of production and consumption that emphasizes the latest and greatest, despite the cost to the planet and its people. Fast fashion emphasizes new styles and trends, which incentivizes consumers to buy the newest items to fit in. This causes articles of clothing to be worn for a short period of time and then discarded due to the ever changing style. Fast fashion started with Zara, a company that moved to New York with the goal of 15 days from designing to being sold in stores. This goal was much quicker than the average production time, forcing each step of the process to be sped up which began to negatively impact the environment.

The making of clothing used to be something that was highly laborious. The person who wanted a specific style of clothing would have to find someone with the proper skill set and materials to produce it. These days, articles of clothing can be purchased without even needing to leave the bed, nor knowing the details of how or where it was produced.

What are the costs of fast fashion? 

Workers: Companies in the United States often outsource their production to factories in other countries where the labor costs are cheap. These places often have more relaxed labor laws as well so they can exploit workers without any consequences. 

Check out: 20 huge fashion brands got graded for slave labor

Oceans: Many clothing items are made with fabrics that release microplastics in the ocean. These items are also often produced with toxic dyes that end up in our water systems and eventually in the ocean where they have devastating effects on the wildlife. 200,000 tons of dye are released into waterways every year with irreversible effects. 

Greenhouse Gases: Synthetic fibers found in clothing are made from fossil fuels. Companies like Patagonia are leading the way to sustainable production, committing to be carbon neutral by 2025. They aim to achieve this by working on creating synthetic fibers produced from plants that eliminate their need for  fossil fuels. Many clothing companies are also producing their products in other countries meaning that those clothing items require a lot of carbon consumption for transportation to end up in stores all over the U.S.  

Landfills: As mentioned before, when a new fashion trend emerges, many companies often hop on the latest trend, but hardly ever sell everything that is produced. This causes enormous amounts of overproduction and when the trend ends, that extra amount produced often becomes trash. In 2017, 11.2 million tons of textile waste ended up in landfills, filling 8% of all municipal solid waste landfilled.

What is slow fashion? 

“Slow fashion is about consuming and creating fashion consciously and with integrity. It connects social and environmental awareness and responsibility with the pleasure of wearing beautiful, well-made, and lasting clothing (as compared to the immediate gratification of fast fashion).” -Kat Collings, Editor in Chief of Who What Wear 

Slow fashion does not have one set of rules. It is a system of production and consumption that aims to lessen the impact of the fashion industry. This could mean companies producing clothing in ethical ways, both in production and distribution. It could also mean consumers buying items produced from ethical brands that are meant to last a long time and can be repaired, such as Patagonia. It can also mean buying second-hand clothes or upcycling clothes, giving them an extra boost in life.

There are many avenues you may choose to get started in your journey. Below, we’ve linked some resources for second-hand shopping! Enjoy :)

San Diego Thrift Shops are an affordable and fun option to browse and find unique items to give a new home to.

What if I want a specific item or brand? Online shopping is a quick and easy way to find specific items you may be looking for. You are able to search by brand, size, price, etc. 

How were SOULMUCH thrifted shirts brought to life?

Hey Macklemore, can we go thrift shopping?! We spent hours at second-hand stores hand-picking out each shirt, which has created a line of uniquely one of a kind shirts. No two are the same which means you have to get them before they’re gone! We only chose shirts that we felt were good quality and would hold up in their new, second life as amazing upcycled cookie monster apparel. After being screen printed by a local business, they are ready to go! There are a variety of different colors, sizes and styles for you to choose from. We can’t wait to see you all in our very own SOULMUCH t-shirts and we would love to see any of your thrifted or upcycled outfits! Tag us on Instagram and Facebook 


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