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The beauty of recycled clothing

The beauty of recycled clothing

As an artist, I've always been drawn to recycled materials. The prospect of giving an object new life or purpose fascinates me. Each item has a story, passing through various hands over the years, collecting memories.

Nearly every item in my own closet is secondhand or handmade. I do this for lots of reasons — saving money, supporting other artists, expressing my own creativity. I also love browsing through bizarre and mysterious curios, imagining where they might have come from. That hobby is a big part of what led me to creating this site.

Every used item featured in our store goes through a rigorous process of selection, cleaning, and restoration. First, we select only the best candidates for resale, inspecting each piece for durability or flaws. The material must be sturdy and useful into the future, ready for more years of service.

Secondly, each item goes through specialty cleaning according to its needs. Delicate clothing is hand-washed or dry-cleaned, while sturdier fabrics are washed by machine. Hard-surface items like tea cups and ceramics are washed by hand as well, with special attention given to details.

Repair and restoration is an inevitable part of working with secondhand items. Often this includes replacing buttons, trimming away loose threads, and minor mending. I do most of this stitching by hand as well, as it is mostly finishing work.

If an item needs significant repair, it gets sent to the upcycling bin instead. Upcycling, or refashioning, is a process of using recycled materials to make an entirely new garment. A piece of clothing must be significantly changed to be considered “upcycled" and sold as such. Materials for these projects go through the same cleaning process as the whole garments we sell.

Buying secondhand is a more responsible option than the fast fashion of modern retailers. Textile waste is a major problem worldwide, especially as non-biodegradable synthetic fabrics pile up in landfills. In a world where most clothing is made in sweatshops, we aim to honor the work done by the original creators by not treating used items as disposable.

Thanks for supporting these principles and our store!

Your forest girl,

Heidi

Heidi O'Ferrall

Heidi is the founder and owner of Forest Girl Clothing.