In Vietnam, recycling old jeans into unique accessories has become a new trend among young people in recent years.

According to Sustain Your Style, a non-profit sustainable fashion organisation, it takes 7,000 litres of water to produce one pair of jeans, equivalent to the amount of water a person can drink in 7-8 years.

Experts have also calculated that after every three wears and one wash, a pair of jeans releases 44 grams of carbon into the environment. Thus, after four years before going to the landfill, they leave in the environment about 416kg of carbon. In the US alone, where "jeans culture" is most prevalent, each person owns an average of seven pairs of jeans. Just doing simple multiplications, we will get a huge number of emissions into the environment from these seemingly harmless jeans.

Realising the danger of this problem, Pham Minh Hien, living in Ninh Binh, decided to recycle old jeans in her wardrobe.

Her journey of learning about recycled fashion started in high school. Now, making “mini jeans bags” has become a hobby of Hien.

recycled fashion
Mini jeans bags. — Photo courtesy of Pham Minh Hien

Each mini bag is completed in about 30 minutes. The source of materials comes from old jeans, seashells or household fabric waste.

“I hope recycling will reduce the amount of jeans that are released into the environment," Hien said.

"Besides, mini bags made from old jeans are very useful and sturdy. I use them to store my phone, phone charger as well as small cosmetic items.”

Maya Bui, a 29-year-old tailor living in Hanoi also shares the same idea about reducing jeans fabric.

“Since I was in fashion school, I have been taught by my teacher about lossless fashion and sustainable fashion," she said.

"So in the process of working, I often have ideas to make use of old clothes and use fabrics optimally.” 

A few days ago, Maya's idea of making a corset from old jeans received hundreds of shares and compliments from friends.

recycled fashion
A corset recycled from old jeans.  — Photo courtesy of Maya Bui

The 29-year-old girl also organised a challenge to sew underwear from pieces of old clothes on her Facebook to spread the message of environmental protection and create joy for everyone during the ongoing pandemic. 

Blue jeans to fashion dreams

In 2012, after graduating with a major in Electronics and Telecommunications, Hanoian Bui Thi Kim Ngan applied for a full-time job in the capital city. Besides office work, Ngan makes handmade bags at home to satisfy her dream for fashion and earn extra income.

For the years, the young girl had a hard time dealing with depression and medical issues. In 2015, she decided to quit the office job to pursue her dream.


At first, Ngan received orders to make bags from silk and create small bags from old jeans as gifts for customers.

After noticing that old-jeans hand bags were praised by many customers, the 32-year-old girl began to mass produce jeans bags and sell them.

With experience as a bag designer, it is not difficult for her to transform old jeans into purses, backpacks and hand bags.

"At first, I planned to make bags from old jeans for fun because I wanted to make full use of excess materials, but I didn't expect to receive so many orders," Ngan said.

"From that, I came up with the idea of ​​'exchanging six pairs of jeans to get a recycled bag'. This helps me have a stable source of fabric and gets more attention from the online community." 

recycled fashion
Kim Ngan's recycled bag brand has become very famous in the “zero waste” community of Vietnam. — Photo courtesy of Bui Thi Kim Ngan

Kim Ngan's recycled bag brand has been operating for six years and has become very famous in the “zero waste” community of Vietnam.

Nguyen Thi Hai Yen, 26 years old, a former student of the University of Labour and Social Affairs, has also decided to leave bustling Hanoi and return to her hometown in Bac Giang to fulfil her fashion dream.

After two years of research, in 2019, Yen accidentally discovered a very close and creative source of materials - her own old jeans. This type of material creates a very personal and unique look, in addition, they are quite durable and suitable for making handbags or backpacks.

recycled fashion
Jeans are quite durable and suitable for making handbags or backpacks. — Photo courtesy Nguyen Thi Hai Yen

Yen believes that as long as you know how to recycle old clothes, they are still valuable in another way.

Up to now, her brand has become more stable and brings income to herself as well as benefits to the community.

recycled fashion
Yen’s brand has become more stable and brings income to herself as well as benefits to the community — Photo courtesy Nguyen Thi Hai Yen

Many people, instead of throwing away their old jeans, have come to Yen and hope their old jeans have a "new life".

“I'm happy to spread the recycling spirit to everyone," Yen said.

Source: Vietnam News

Project gives discarded clothes new lease of life

Project gives discarded clothes new lease of life

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