by Archivist Studio

What is upcycling? A simple definition

Upcycling can be defined as the act of reusing a discarded object to create a product of higher quality or value. It is the process of reviving the “old” and giving it a second life. 

Isn’t this the same as recycling?

The simple answer is no. 

While both provide environmental benefits, the two processes have very little in common. According to the Oxford definition, recycling is the act of converting waste into reusable material. Recycling requires materials to be broken down in a facility and subsequently manufactured into something new. This process often requires the addition of fresh materials and the final product tends to be of lesser quality. The value of recycled materials typically remains stagnant


What is downcycling?

Downcycling is essentially the process of recycling materials until they decrease in value. This process occurs at the last stage of a material’s lifespan. A common example of downcycling is when the remainder of plastic bottles are transformed into material for carpeting.

If upcycling is such an obvious solution, why is it not more widespread?

This is where we come in. 

Having realized the quantity of quality products considered as waste, we decided this has to change. At Archivist, we use discarded luxury bed linen and transform it into our collection. Our approach to fashion: reshaping an undervalued fabric full of patina into timeless items which can be loved by everyone. 

The Archivist movement intends to create a fashionably educated environment.

How can YOU upcycle?

Before you discard the next piece of furniture, clothing item or even a jam jar, consider how you could transform it. 

Perhaps the stained long-sleeved shirt could become a short sleeve? Or the fabric could be used as a cleaning cloth? When it comes to upcycling, anything is possible. With a dash of creativity and an afternoon spent watching Youtube tutorials, you can learn how to revive almost anything. 

It is satisfying and the best approach to a more sustainable life. Try it!