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What To Do With Old Clothes? These 8 Places Will Help You Donate, Upcycle & Thrift

Upcycling brands in India

If you have a box of old clothes that you keep ignoring, here’s a list to simplify things for you. Send them away for donation, upcycling, thrifting and more.

I have no clothes.’

You aren’t the only one who says this while staring at an overflowing stash of outfits in the wardrobe.

With new pieces being churned out as we speak, and your favourite fashion blogger telling you that you need to have the style of the season, it is tough to live a minimalist life.

Research says that the fashion industry produces a whopping 53 million tonnes of fibre every year and 70 per cent of this ends up in garbage dumps.

This revelation is met with a sigh of relief in the form of upcycling brands that take your old clothes and weave them into something new.

We’ve put together a list of such brands that allow you to donate clothes you are not using anymore and will refashion them.

1. Punah, Indore

This sustainable fashion brand aims to give clothes a second life by modifying these using handicraft techniques. This is in the effort to produce one-of-a-kind products that you can then put to good use.

Once you clear your wardrobe and decide on the clothes you wish to do away with, instead of dumping them, reach out to Punah. They will then arrange a pick-up based on the area you are in and sift through the fabric to decide which ones can be upcycled.

2. Oh Scrap Madras, Chennai

The venture aims at collecting garment waste from exporters and tailoring units in the city and breathing new life into the clothes.

We reached out to Dominique Lopez, Co-Founder, who said that the brand accepts fabric, home linen, saris and dupattas as well as summer clothes and jeans. “A prerequisite is that the clothes need to be freshly cleaned,” he says, adding that a pick-up is then organised if the donor is based in Chennai.
“We assess the items to see if they are in a condition to be donated or upcycled. If the clothes are in excellent condition, we suggest thrift stores that would accept these,” says Dominique.

Waste cloth upcycled into a bag
Waste cloth upcycled into a bag

3. Rimagined, Bengaluru

A business consultant Shailaja Rangarajan wanted to be a part of the solution when it came to waste management. So, in 2016 she founded the brand that would in the following years upcycle clothes into home decor and new clothes, thus reducing the amount that would enter landfills.

Shailaja says that once people share the information about the kind of clothes they want to donate, the brand decides the fate of these. “If they are in wearable condition, we redirect them to Restore, a thrift store in Bengaluru as we prefer not to rip apart clothes that are in a good condition.” She adds that if the donations are saris, bed sheets or curtains, they request people to ship these to their Kolkata centre where they can be upcycled.

Upcycling at Rimagined
Upcycling at Rimagined

4. Clothes Box Foundation, Delhi

With 3.5 million wearables distributed to date, the Clothes Box Foundation, a Delhi-based NGO, is putting a smile on people’s faces.

Through their programme Refresh, rural women have a chance to earn an income by manufacturing blankets, bags, etc. from waste fabrics. Apart from this, the clothes donated to the foundation are given to people from poor backgrounds.

5. Twirl, Kolkata

“Gone are the days when people would buy clothes only during festivals like Durga Puja or Diwali,” says Sujata Chatterjee from Kolkata, Founder of Twirl. Realising the overflow of unwanted clothing, she came up with this initiative that collects old clothes and fabric from willing donors and then upcycles or donates these to people.

As far as the process for donating these clothes, there are boxes kept at strategic locations across Kolkata, where people can dispose of their clothes. Along with this, the brand also offers a free doorstep pick-up all across the country.

Upcycled materials at Twirl
Upcycled materials at Twirl

6. Pomogrenade, Bengaluru

An ethical fashion brand driven by a zero-waste goal, Pomogrenade has an interesting scheme to motivate people to give their clothes for upcycling.

On reaching out, co-founder Madhulikha Umapathy said, “People who have bought pieces from us can send them back to us for upcycling and we turn these into embellishments. We then give these people a discount that they can redeem on purchasing new products from the brand.”

She added that people can also send in their saris, dupattas and large fabric pieces for upcycling.

7. Ka‐sha, Pune

At Ka-Sha, clothing is viewed as a celebration of life. As a brand that started in 2012, it began to see how much waste the fashion industry is generating and decided to do something about this.
Karishma Sahani Khan, founder of the brand says they upcycle saris into dresses. “We urge people to send saris to us and give them three dress style options so they can tell us what they want.”

She adds that fabric waste donated by businesses and corporates is used by the brand for their products. “We make cushion covers, rugs, bags etc from these and our packaging is made of jute and tarpaulin.”

Upcycling clothes into rugs and covers
Upcycling clothes into rugs and covers

8. Temptations from Devaki’s, Bengaluru

Started by a mother along with her two daughters 25 years ago, the brand upcycles saris into quilts. One of the daughters we spoke to, Vinaya Shenoy says that for people who are in the city, a pickup is arranged, while those in other states can post the saris to them.

“People can then use these quilts or gift them to their loved ones,” she says, adding that along with quilts, they also turn smaller patches of fabric into cushion covers, bags etc which they send back to the donor for a minimal charge or sell these as part of their venture.

“At the age of 74, my mother still believes that clothes should not occupy space in your closet but should have a purpose.”

By creating a false demand for fresh looks, fast fashion is hurting the environment by Flavia Lopes, Published on 23 December 2021.

Edited by Yoshita Rao