Sustainable Style on a Budget: Zero Waste Daniel X Nuuly

A common complaint about sustainable fashion is that it’s so damn expensive! This is especially true if you’re a student on a budget. Even my personal favorite, Reformation, is something I try to buy on sale. And while thrifting is fun, it takes time and effort.

So, I was thrilled when I recently discovered that Zero Waste Daniel has a collaboration with Nuuly, the clothing rental subscription service from Urban Outfitters. URBN started their Re_Nuuly program in 2021. Through this program they decrease clothing waste and increase product longevity by in house upcycling. They do this reimagining previously retired garments in partnership with emerging brands, artists, and local manufacturers. So far, Re_Nuuly has extended the life of over 5,800 previously retired garments.

The Re_Nuuly x Zero Waste Daniel collection tells the story of the upcycling process through visibly reworked details and butterfly motifs that symbolize transformation.

Tasked with upcycling 1,300 denim garments retired from Nuuly’s rental inventory, Zero Waste Daniel redesigned and repurposed these out-of-circulation styles into a capsule collection of ten new styles you can rent or buy. 

The designer, known for using pre-consumer waste from New York City’s garment industry and hard-to-recycle materials that minimize landfill waste, also upcycled materials from URBN partner FabScrap to embellish the new styles with his signature appliques.

The best part about this collaboration—besides the fact that it’s so effing cute and perfect for summer—is that it offers a way to rock some fantastic sustainable fashion affordably.

Here are some of my favorite looks from the collection

I also want to address the fact that both rental services and Urban Outfitters often receive side-eye from many sustainable fashion enthusiasts. However, I believe in the saying, “Perfect is the enemy of the good.” By creating initiatives like Re_Nuuly, Urban Outfitters is helping keep clothing out of landfills for longer. Additionally, collaborating with designers like Zero Waste Daniel exposes more people to amazing indie designers. For me, that’s a win-win.

–Bex Russo

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