Brain Pickings

SAVED: Upcycling Through Design and Storytelling


What old tees have to do with indie music A-listers and shrinking carbon footprints.

We love upcycled tees and we love smart, creative efforts to make sustainability an actionable thing rather than a fluff-phrase. Last season, our friends at Do The Green Thing made waves with their Buy Nothing campaign and this fall, they’ve one-upped themselves with another brilliant effort.

Every year, more than a million tons of clothing are thrown away, even though most of it has over 70% of its useful life left, so Green Thing asked the world to donate their unwanted t-shirts and SAVED was born — a new initiative that saves old, unwanted, unloved t-shirts from the grip of time by giving them a design and story that make them loved again.

Each SAVED upcycled shirt features a lovely hand-stitched typographic patchwork-label and a heart-warming “Saved from neglect” tag.

For an added layer of coolness, SAVED has some of our favorite musicians on board, including Imogen Heap, Marina and the Diamonds, Chipmunk and Lissie, who have donated some of their own unloved tees. And this isn’t a mere de-facto celebrity endorsement — it means you could actually end up with an upcycled t-shirt that once belonged to one of today’s most talented indie artists.

You can buy a SAVED tee directly through Facebook and revel in the glory of knowing that 100% of your contribution goes to Green Thing Trust, the nonprofit dedicated to helping more people live more sustainable lives.

Green Thing is instituting a Charlie-and-the-Chocolate-Factory-like Golden Ticket system, so whether you end up with a star’s upcycled shirt is between you and your lucky star. And even though we were never ones to fall for the whole “everyone’s a winner” shenanigans, in this particular instance, everyone truly is.

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