Fail Proof and Fashionable Upcycling Tricks (Because If I Can You Can)
By Sola Onitiri
Guys, I am covered in sweat. Not glistening, dewey, sexy music video sweat - I mean Guy Fieri sweating over a triple decker hamburger in a hot kitchen sweaty. So despite being tired of everything in my closet, I refuse to buy new clothes because I'm having full fledged fantasies about not being a literal hot mess.
Upcycling, for those of you who may not be familiar, is the process of converting old or discarded materials into something useful and often beautiful. In fashion, it involves taking the clothes that you would ordinarily throw out and giving them new life. Not to mention, it's super sustainable for you and your wallet.
For those of you who are familiar, you might be hesitant. We've all seen our fair share of Pinterest fail compilations. And who has time to scroll through a 28 step process to make a wool vest into a pair of culottes. As someone who's arts and crafts skills have professionally been described as weak af, I understand where you're coming from completely. But upcycling your clothes and accessories doesn't have to be that hard. Here's how I'm adding a little spice into my wardrobe while I wait to be less sweaty.
Get Crafty (Literally)
Here's the ultimate pro-tip. Head to your local arts and crafts store, grab a cart and go HAM. Grab beads, googly eyes, paint, pipe cleaners. Let your imagination go wild! Grab things that can easily be applied and taken off if need be. My favorites that I've used to upcycle my wardrobe are pastel pom poms, feather boas, wire, and pins.
Now let's get glueing
All you need to get started on your fashion upcycling journey is a hot glue gun. Easy peasy right? Obviously, this is all dependent on your level of expertise, but if you're a newbie like me, stick with these summer camp art hour staples. I used my hot glue gun to apply these adorable pink fuzzies to my Asos platform mules. Take a light pencil and mark out where you want to lay down the fuzzies. I put mine near the toes to make them more 1950s slipper like. For a fuller look, double them up! Now, I'm going to keep it real with y'all - hot glue is not the most durable of adhesives for long term wear and tear. But if you're looking to upcycle an item that you're not going to be wearing every single day, hot glue is totally the way to go.
One of the best parts about upcycling is creating clothes that you won't see anywhere else. It's no secret that embroidery work and patches are all the rage right now. Head to your local neighborhood fast fashion establishment and you'll see racks littered with patches for 6x the price as the one I'm wearing above. Here's what you should do. Go fish out that crop top or T-shirt that you've worn the hell out of this summer. Hunt for some dope iron on patches on Etsy or use old patterns or details from other articles of clothing in which case all you need are heat seals and a pair of scissors. Grab your iron, a flat service, some parchment paper and get to ironing. Keep it minimal like the trust bird on my shirt, or create a mosaic of patch work on jeans, purses, and shoes.