Upcycling is an approach to design where you transform by-products, waste or disused materials or products into something new of better quality and greater value. By reusing materials that already exist, you are saving energy, water, chemicals and other resources required to make new virgin materials.
For fashion, you might use deadstock fabric (fabric that is left over from mills and garment factories; or flawed fabrics), vintage clothing that you repurpose or other unused or waste materials. Finding factories skilled enough to do upcycling and that are willing to work with second hand garments and waste fabric can be tricky.
Design for disassembly (Dfd)
With this strategy, you would design your products in a way which means they can easily be taken apart at the end of the product’s life so that the components can be repaired, reused or recycled. This strategy means the product will need to be easy to assemble as well and could likely require fewer materials - meaning it could help save costs and your product’s environmental footprint. It is smart design. And when you make smart products, people tend to notice and talk about it.