Upcycled and Recycled Fashion: What's the Difference?

"Upcycling”, “recycling”, “eco-conscious”, “green washing”, “sustainable”, “B-corp”, the amount of terms and references to new green practices has exploded in the last two years, leaving many consumers clueless than empowered in their decision making.

On the strength of the growing environmental awareness, brands are working to adapt to new consumer expectations, realizing that sustainability is the new standard, and that “fast fashion” and the companies disrespect environmentally become the new deal breaker..


While the 2000s were marked by a social media frenzy, what we think about most when we look back on the decade is its fashion influence. Think of anything cropped. Low-rise jeans (bonus point if a thong is showing), low-cut dresses (who better to wear the iconic tropical green Versace dress than Jennifer Lopez), and the beginning of "athleisure," with Juicy Couture joggers creating a fashion revolution, led by its pilgrims: Kim Kardashian, Paris Hilton and the Olsen twins. These constant trends meant one thing: the desire to accumulate and fill our wardrobes. By nature, this way of consuming fashion meant a strong downward pressure on prices in order to obtain the dreamed overloaded wardrobes, feeding a total disregard for environmental and social practices. Today, the trend is the opposite. Marie Kondo's mantra of decluttering to help us leave stress and anxiety behind, along with the endless series of natural and social disasters triggered by climate deregulation, has prompted the emergence of a new generation, more aware of where and how they buy.
Dozens of new terms and expressions have infiltrated our everyday language since the 2000s. Rather than fostering a sense of empowerment, they tend to leave us confused and overwhelmed. Yet understanding these terms is a necessity. If knowing where you put your money is one source of power, understanding what you buy is another. Having the knowledge to sift through these terms, understanding them, and being able to differentiate one from the other is the key to sustainable shopping.
To start, let's clear up some confusion between two terms you've probably seen many times: "upcycling" and "recycling." These are words you'll see often on our site... and everywhere else, but they refer to two very different processes.


Recycling is a process that has been around for some time and tends to be the first step for beginners into the world of sustainability. Often reduced to the simple act of throwing your yogurt pot into the assigned yellow garbage can, recycling goes far beyond that.
An industrial process, recycling destroys waste and turns it into new materials. Not all materials are considered recyclable, it depends on their ability to recover properties in their original state. To be recyclable, a material or product must be able to be transformed without losing its quality. Paper and glass are the best known materials that can be transformed endlessly, but we tend to forget that some of the most recyclable materials are textiles: linen, polyester, denim - the list is long. By choosing recycled and recyclable materials when selecting a garment, you are preventing another item from ending up in the landfill.
It may seem like a tiny drop in the bucket, but it's a collective effort, and every bit helps.
Currently, we prefer materials such as recycled polyester, used for example for the Fabie wrap? jumpsuit or the Erin crepe jumpsuit. It's not perfect, but it allows us to participate in the reuse of materials


Known as "creative reuse," upcycling involves improving a material or item to make it useful and beautiful again. For example, an old dresser with a lick of paint and different handles becomes an entirely new piece of furniture. In the same way, at ELLOZZE, we buy unwanted materials from luxury Parisian fashion houses, rework them with adapted cuts, creating the combinations you know today. For us, this way of creating is all the more in line with our ethics - to draw from the highest quality materials, and to be able to offer them at reasonable prices, because its production process is more environmentally friendly.
Nearly half of our SS21 jumpsuits are made from upcycled materials, and we strive to have an even greater proportion of them collection after collection. We try never to waste our materials, we use as much as possible, and excess fabrics are recycled into other products, like our leopard print gabardine masks, tote bags or leather computer cases.
You can find our upcycled jumpsuits on our website, like the Garance jumpsuit made from upcycled cotton poplin, or if you're looking for an outfit reminiscent of summer days, the Kamala pantsuit made from upcycled gabardine.
A staggering 85% of all textiles go to landfill each year. Using upcycled or recycled materials goes a long way. Now that you know the difference between these two terms, feel more comfortable when shopping and demand that brands understand: sustainability is here to stay.