Upcycling: Changing the Fate of So-Called Waste

Eighty pounds—or the equivalent of four car tires—is how much clothing the average person throws away per year. And of all the discarded clothing taking up space in our landfills, 95 percent can be reused or recycled. Reborn Clothing Co. is on a mission to change the fate of that so-called waste.

While an undergrad student at North Carolina State University, Reborn Founder and CEO Emily Neville realized there was an upcycling gap in the textile industry. While Emily grew up sewing and making adjustments to her own clothes, she knew most people didn’t have the time or the resources to update their old items. When people outgrow their clothes—physically and stylistically—they often wind up in the bin or at the back of the closet. The solution: Give people a way to transform their old items into fresh, new pieces to use for years to come.

What’s Upcycling?

At Reborn, we like to think of upcycling as the new recycling. Each time a piece of fabric is recycled, it’s broken down to the base material to be made into a completely new product from scratch—often of lower quality than the original. Unlike upcycling, recycling isn’t a long-term solution.

When our design team works their upcycling magic, they transform existing items into environmentally friendly, high-quality new products. Reborn’s upcycling process updates your old garments to make them more practical, valuable and meaningful, so their life can be extended.

From onesies that are no longer in use to a change purse that will come in handy every day.

Reborn’s Upcycle Collection

Our Upcycle Collection is the solution to transform the clothing that has been abandoned in your closet into new, unique and functional products that don’t just look cool—they tell a story. Each time you make the decision to repurpose your clothes, you help reduce carbon emissions, water and electricity waste, and limit what ends up in landfills.

When Bill Velto came to Reborn with a collection of sentimental t-shirts from his days of teaching at the North Carolina Governor’s School, we helped him transform those nostalgic tees into a memory blanket.

“The shirts I had upcycled were sentimental. Many were stained or frayed, so I couldn’t wear them,” Bill said, but partnering with Reborn to repurpose his tees was “the perfect choice,” to preserve the Governor’s School memories and the shirts that meant so much to him.

From the best memory blankets in the business to dog bandanas for your furry friend, there’s something for everyone in the Upcycle Collection. Seriously—if you have an item in mind that you’re not seeing, just fill out our custom inquiry form and we’ll help you with a custom transformation!

Bill’s memory blanket in use.

The Process

Step 1: Shop Reborn’s Upcycle Collection, choose your product or work with our team to design a custom item, and then fill out the short questionnaire. 

Step 2: Send us your garments! (We’ll cover shipping costs.) Each product description tells you the number of garments needed to create your upcycled product.

Step 3: We work our magic! Our design team upcycles your garments to create high-quality products meant for everyday use.

Step 4: Once our team finishes making your new product, we package it up using nonwoven surplus material and ship it back to you to enjoy and cherish. Simple as that.


Have you used Reborn’s upcycling services? We’d love to talk to you about your experience with us! Just shoot us an email at inquiries@rebornclothing.co. 

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