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Clever Ways to Recycle Old Clothes

I’m as guilty as the next person when it comes to being a little bit over the top when clothes shopping – the amount of stuff I have hanging in my wardrobe that still has labels on it is embarrassing. So I started thinking it might be time to have a clear out. I do this quite often although I take unwanted clothes to a charity shop but this time some of the things I once wore are now no longer fit for human…consumption’s the wrong word…they’re no longer fit to be worn or looked at by a human to put it frankly.

men's t-shirts

This Needs to Find a New Purpose

If you’ve also got a pile of tatty old urban wear or street wear what do you do about all those t-shirts that even a homeless person would probably reject?  I know what you’re probably thinking – just throw them away. But no, whilst I’m no hoarder I don’t like throwing things out if I think they might have another mission to fulfill in life. And particularly not if they once lived the life of a designer t-shirt! That’s where recycling comes in.

I always recycle cans, bottles, magazines and jars so why not my tee shirts and tops? Feeling inspired I decided to hit up Google to see what it had to offer me in the way of reusing original clothing that was too far gone to be even remotely wearable.

Some of the ideas I found were blatantly too much trouble. I’m not motivated enough to find some board and a staple gun (denim covered pinboard) let alone inspired enough to go and buy a  sewing machine of all things but I did find a few artistic clothing recycling ideas that involved nothing more tricky than a pair of scissors. 

upcycled clothing

Here’s What to Do

This is an obvious place to start but if I missed it out you might have thought I wasn’t doing my job. Cut up old men’s t-shirts and you can make a whole pile of cleaning cloths. The nice thing about turning tee shirts into dusters or rags is that they’re usually made from soft cotton which makes them good for polishing things with surfaces that scratch easily. Like wide screen TV’s and errr, clocks, and other stuff that I can’t think of right now. Plus you can wash them over and over so they’re more eco-friendly than shop bought cloths that tend to get thrown away after a few uses.

Moving house soon? I just have and if I’d got into this whole ‘let’s recycle my t-shirts’ thing before I moved I would have cut up the ones I no longer wore and used them to pack the boxes that contained breakables. Use old t-shirts to protect things that are easily damaged or stuff them into the corners of boxes to stop things rattling around and getting broken in transit.

men's urban wear

No…Not Like THAT!

This one is kind of gross I guess but it’s environmentally friendly and I need more than three easy ideas for this post so I’m including it. Handkerchiefs. Yes, I am suggesting you blow your nose on your old tees.  When you have a grotty cold; you can plough through boxes and boxes of tissues or rolls and rolls of toilet paper: expensive and not very green. Well, not green in the environmentally friendly sense of the word anyway. Cut up your old shirts and you have a washable and reusable selection of hankies that your granddad would have been proud of. Going the extra mile and embroidering your initial in the corner is optional.

Lastly, and I’m going to get a bit artsy now as this involves cutting and – wait for it – sewing. But you can find someone else to do that for you can’t you? Despite the high (!) level of technical ability involved in this one I’m including it because it’s a hangover cure. Yes, you read that correctly. High level instructions follow:

1)      Cut a big square out of your t-shirt

2)      Sew it up along 3 sides so it makes a pouch. Actually, you know what, forget sewing, just use glue.

3)      Fill it with dried beans and sew/glue the fourth side up

4)      Put it in the fridge or freezer

hangover cure

Don’t Deny It – You’ve Felt Like This Too

Now you are the proud owner of a face mask bean bag thing that you can lay across your sweaty brow next time you’re suffering due to the events of the night before.

So there you have it; four ways to upcycle, recycle, repurpose or reuse all those old, worn out t-shirts that are cluttering up your life – and your closet. I’ve already hacked a couple of old designer t-shirts  up to make luxury cleaning cloths (yet to be used) and am even considering making the bean bag in anticipation of my next…headache.


Do you have any great recycling ideas that don’t take hours to do and that make your life that little bit easier? Why not share your genius in the comments? 

Looking for new t-shirts to replace the ones you’ve just massacred in the name of being eco-friendly? Check out our all new Ethereal Clothing men’st-shirt website here!

Autumn 2013 Fashion – What are the Trends to Know About?

Autumn (or fall depending where you’re from) is the season I look forward to most – especially when it comes to fashion. Sure, it’s great to be able to spend the summer hanging out in the sunshine in just shorts and a t-shirt but there’s something comforting about being able to unpack your winter woolies from storage and rediscover all those things with sleeves.

autumn fashion

The leaves where I live are usually damper and smellier than this

But it’s not just about digging out all the old favourites, it’s the opportunity to add something new to your wardrobe too. Checking out the fall trends is something to look forward to every year – after all it pays to stay one step ahead of the game. It’s always good to be aware of coming seasonal trends before they hit the high street or mall too as that way you can narrow down which ones you want to embrace – and which ones you want to avoid.

Of course what us mere mortals will be wearing next season has already been decided by those fashion savvy individuals who attended the A/W 2013 men’s fashion shows and fashion editors and street wear style snappers with an eye for a trend who were long ago out on the sidewalks spotting recurring themes so they can tell us, runways aside, which themes are most likely to be hitting our streets this coming season.

men's plaid shirts

Don’t throw away that plaid shirt just yet

So I decided to do a little research and have been checking out what those in the know have predicted will be what any self-respecting guy will want to be wearing. Of course, not every trend is right for everyone but by knowing what we can expect we can cherry pick our nods to the up and coming men’s trends. And with this being the chilly time of year, naturally accessories play an important part, which is great as this is a budget friendly (depending on how expensive your tastes are!) way to update your existing urban wear.

It looks like plaid is going to be surviving the summer and seeing us though the year. So far it’s mostly been about plaid shirts, but next season sees plaid patterns on anything and everything, from jackets and vests (body warmers) to scarves, bags and beanies. And don’t worry if you’re a self-confessed plaid shirt fan – you don’t need to stop wearing yours as they are still very much in evidence too.

cropped pants


I have to admit I’m still not quite sold on this next trend: cuffed pants and shorter length trousers. I know, I know – I’m hopelessly out of touch but I just feel more comfortable in a pair of trousers that doesn’t show my ankles. But it seems that menswear is fully onboard with cropped trousers so I guess I’ll just have to get over myself as it really does seem like this is a streetwear style that’s not going away any time soon.

Here’s an easier one; backpacks. There were hoards of guys carrying backpacks outside the autumn winter shows – which is great because backpacks are useful! They hold all your stuff and they look way better than carrying a plastic bag or that free holdall you got when you signed up for gym membership. I’m happy I can now carry my shabby backpack with pride – at least for a couple of months. Army style and smart leather were the main looks on the streets.

men's backpacks

Ditch that sad free gym bag for good!

Another useful trend is scarves. Yes, I know what you’re thinking – who doesn’t wear a scarf in winter?! – but scarves are having a definite moment. This winter they’re coming in all shapes and sizes from small knotted cotton bandanas to chunky knitted scarves and from infinity style cowls to full on blankets. I’ll pick something stripy, knitted and colourful that will add a bright pop to my urbanwear outfits.

Last but not least: the ultimate in street wear – camo. I don’t think you can go wrong with camo and I must admit that I have mixed feelings when it pops up in the menswear shows every few years. I sort of don’t want it to be ‘a thing’ but I do relish the chance to wear the urban fashion that I already own and feel slightly on top of my game!


Too much??

Getting dressed over the coming months should be relatively easy and I’m looking forward to trying out some of the above combinations. As urban wear evolves, men’s apparel gets more interesting and it’s great that guys can let their personality shine through just as much as the women. As for me, I’m going to start getting in the mood for autumn and start rocking my favourite tee shirts, with my beaten up old army pants, some grungy DM boots and a chunky, stripy scarf. I’m not sure if it will work – but’s that half the fun, isn’t it?!

What trends will you be embracing next season? Are you a camo fan? I love scarves but are you one of those people that can’t stand having something around your neck? And how about my nemesis the cuffed pants – I’d love to hear your thoughts on those!

Summer Trends for Men 2013: Grunge

I have to admit to being quite excited about one of this season’s trends. I can also admit that I was there the first time round, so perhaps I’m looking at this through rose tinted glasses, but grunge is back in a big way in 2013 and I for one am pretty pleased about it.

men's fashion

Everyone’s Going Grunge

But it’s not just that grunge 2013 reminds me of some of my favourite bands of all time, although of course that’s a big part of it – let’s face it, who would ever get sick of listening to Nirvana – but it’s also the fact that grunge is so easy to wear. These days it seems as if the men’s shows are just as chock full as the women’s when it comes to outfits that look, let’s be honest, really quite silly! I understand that fashion shows are there to inspire and the looks filter down to the high street or shopping mall and become more practical and less crazy versions of the high fashion looks, but with grunge you know that these are going to be easy to adopt street wear looks that aren’t going to have people pointing and laughing at you in public.

And if you’re not the sort of guy who likes to be the most showy one in the room, going grunge is the ideal way to show that you know the trends but you’re not a total fashion victim. I don’t think there is anyone who would feel a fool walking down the street in a plaid shirt worn open over a men’s t-shirt. The same can’t quite be said for some of the other looks that the designers were showing for this season: head to toe safari prints anyone? Bright blue suits? ‘Luxury’ sportswear featuring silk bomber jackets? Yeah…didn’t think so!

Doctor Martin Boots

Good Old Doctor Martin!

The other thing good thing about grunge and urbanwear is that you don’t have to spend hours puting together your outfit, then getting dressed and fretting whether you’re pulling it off. Streetwear is supposed to look effortlessly cool and grunge is the essence of not looking like you give two hoots about your clothes (even if you do on the sly!)

plaid shirts

Just Being Grunge and Hanging out in some Rubble

So what should be hanging in your wardrobe if you want to get with the trend before it’s too late? The obvious one is a checked shirt. Whether you go for cotton or flannel, the plaid shirt is the basis of your grungy closet. You can button it up but for the ultimate in ‘don’t care chic’ you need to leave it open and wear a printed t-shirts underneath. The grunge urban wear look wouldn’t be complete either without an over-sized hoody streetwear top or, if you really want to pander to your inner Kurt Cobain, a chunky wool cardigan or sweater. Holes optional.


The Godfather of Grunge?

Men’s jeans are still at the skinny end of the scale which is fine. Grab your oldest most battered pair and team with classic Converse All Stars or toughen up with worn work wear boots or DM’s. Denim jackets are also in this season and are perfect for adding another layer to the urbanwear look.

Finally, what about accessorizing? Well as we all know the devil is in the details and if you welcome any opportunity to pile on the accessories, street wear trends provide you with the perfect opportunity. Grab some rope or leather bracelets, invest in chunky silver jewellery and don’t forget your finishing touch – a knitted beanie. Too warm for hats? Rock that unkempt bedhead just woken up look instead by investing in some styling products.

Will you be embracing the grunge trend or do you prefer your men’s fashion to be a little on the smarter side. Let us know what you think in the guest book!

The History of the Humble T-Shirt

Here’s an interesting fact I found the other day whilst wasting time when I should have been working: the t-shirt is 100 year’s old this year. How cool is that? Yes, back in 1913 dudes were rocking men’s t-shirts! Of course the ladies were still restricted to floor length dresses and corsets, but for the guys at least men’s fashion was about to start to evolve into something slightly more causal. So to celebrate this centenary I thought I’d find out a bit more about the history of the t-shirt.

birth of the t-shirt

Just hanging around waiting for t-shirts to be invented

Naturally, when the t-shirt first appeared it was nothing like the urban wear that we see on the streets and in magazines or movies today. Men’s clothing was still formal and for the upper and middle classes, at least, street wear pretty much just meant wearing a hat and gloves when you left the house. And perhaps carrying a cane if you were terribly dapper. So what did the precursors to today’s designer t-shirts look like when they first originated – and who invented them?

It probably won’t come as much of a shock to you to learn that the t-shirt originated in the USA as military under wear; they were issued by the US Navy and were meant to be worn underneath uniforms. Shortly after this the US army followed suit and began issuing the tee to their recruits. The original design was the classic short sleeved crew neck that is still so popular today.


Are you wearing your t-shirt under there, creepy little sailor?

The garment began to spread in popularity as manual labourers realized that the tshirt was a practical work wear item that suited their needs too and it didn’t take long for men toiling in the fields, down pits, in factories, on the docks or in other physical situations to appreciate this new short sleeved, light weight cotton style. In fact the t-shirt grew in popularity so quickly that in just seven years it became a recognized word and entered the dictionary in 1920.

Although it started life as plain apparel it wasn’t long before printed t-shirts were born and although my research hasn’t located the exact date, it seems the first appearance of a printed tee was in 1942 when a solider clutching a huge gun was featured on the cover of Life magazine wearing a shirt with the words ‘Air Corps Gunnery School, Vegas Nevada’ printed on the front. Soon after this Disney realized that, hey, perhaps printed men’s t-shirts could be ’a thing’ and everyone’s favourite mouse (yes, I’m talking about Mickey) made his first t-shirt. Mickey Mouse: the godfather of street wear? You decide!

Mickey Nouse

Where’s my head at?

It took another 31 years but the t-shirt finally made its debut in Hollywood when it graced the rather ripped torso of Marlon Brando in the classic 1951 movie A Streetcar Named Desire.  Brando’s stellar performance and combination of brooding good looks and brutal masculinity made him a screen icon – and did wonders for t-shirt sales too as teenagers and young men flocked to their local stores to get in on this latest fashion trend. So I guess in a way we have also Marlon Brando to thank for kick-starting the whole urbanwear thing!

With men’s t-shirts now firmly in the public consciousness, at least in the United States, it became a streetwear wardrobe staple for any hip, young guy that wanted to affect an air of disaffected cool. The t-shirt’s rebellious side was given an even bigger boost when James Dean wore a white one under his leather jacket three years later in 1955’s Rebel without a Cause, thus creating one of cinema’s most enduring images and legends in the process. Girls swooned and boys bought t-shirts in their truck loads.

Rebel without a Cause

Yes, OK, you’re cool, we admit it

The 1960’s and 1970’s saw the rise of the printed tshirt as urbanwear styles erred towards the flared jeans and band t-shirt trend. And for those of us who like vintage fashion we should be eternally grateful for these two decades which filled thrift stores the world over with a plethora of retro tshirts. This period also saw clothing worn to make a statement, with both men and women rocking slogan and political tees protesting against the Vietnam War and other issues of the day.

By the 1980’s the t-shirt had forgotten its roots and had gone decidedly upmarket. For which we have Don Johnson in Miami Vice to blame. The disturbing trend of wearing a tshirt underneath a suit jacket – with the sleeves rolled up of course – was huge for a time. Designers were also catching on to the fact that there was money in them there t-shirts and although the tee was still a big hit on the urban wear scene , high end fashion houses began to produce their own versions.

I Heart New York

What do you mean, you don’t own one of these?

From humble beginnings as underwear via Hollywood and into popular street wear culture, let’s finish this saying “Happy 100th birthday, t-shirt – you don’t look a day over 99!”

What’s your most iconic t-shirt of all time? Do you own a crazy amount of tees or perhaps even none at all. Leave your comments in the box below and help us wish the t-shirt many happy returns.

t-shirts 100 years

There’s nothing like being self congratulatory


Are you looking for printed t-shirts with a difference? Check out our soon-to-be-launched range of men’s urban wear t-shirts here , and why not follow us on Twitter  for more fashion news, views and random Tweets while you’re at it?



When Menswear Meets Celebrity: Fashion Industry Collaborations

When Kanye West’s much talked about urban wear collection for French brand A.P.C. was launched a couple of weeks ago on the 14th of July (co-incidentally – or perhaps not so – this is also Bastille Day AKA French National Day) it managed to crash their website and was a complete sell out within seconds of it appearing online. It seems that sometimes you really can believe the hype as even the high prices didn’t deter the frenzy with rabid shoppers snapping up the ultra-small street wear collection of just three pieces: a pair of jeans, a hoody and a t-shirt in a flash. Kanye for A.P.C.

Indeed it seems that Mr. West can currently do no wrong in the world of men’s fashion with brands and labels clamouring to work with him and be the next hot thing in celebrity collaborations. Kanye seems to have successfully pulled off what so many others before him haven’t been able to do and it seems that he may have avoided the curse that usually falls upon celebrity and fashion mash ups. Although Swedish high street store H&M usually manage to pull it off with popular partnerships with both pop stars (Madonna, Kylie Minogue) and respected fashion designers (Versace, Lanvin, Karl Lagerfeld). They also use celebs in their advertising campaigns; this year sees Beyoncé as their face of the summer whilst footballer David Beckham’s ongoing association with the company is well known.

Beyonce for H&M

Celebrity fashion collaborations, however, are much more common in women’s wear so I thought I’d take a look at men’s clothing and see if I could find any other male celebs who had worked with men’s fashion brands to create their own lines and not surprisingly there were nowhere near as many. Whilst many men’s brands, particularly those in the urbanwear and streetwear genres teamed up with likeminded labels (G-Shock and Stussy, Neighborhood and Supreme, Carhartt and Vans) there are not so many stars who get involved with men’s apparel. Maybe the offers just aren’t there, maybe guys don’t fall for the celeb thing as much as women do (although Kanye and A.P.C. would suggest otherwise) or maybe there just aren’t enough stylish famous dudes out there that inspire brands to work with them. However a little digging around on the internet did unveil a few team efforts between entertainers and fashion brands – although most of them do feature Kanye West! Neighborhood

Trainer aficionados will no doubt remember the meeting of Kanye West and Nike which resulted in one of the most sought after shoes ever, the Nike Air Yeezy. These limited edition kicks caused a frenzy when just 3000 pairs were first released in 2009. The Nike Air Yeezy II was released in 2012 and their enduring popularity sees phase three being unveiled in 2015. If you can’t wait until then, be prepared to splash the cash on eBay!

Nike Air Yeezy
Sticking with everyone’s favourite rapping urban wear designer, Kanye produced another line of footwear with none other than highly regarded French fashion house Louis Vuitton. While this does seem a very odd meeting of minds: street wear + heritage couture = ??? West was reported to have worked very closely with the maison’s director of footwear to ensure that the designs were Vuitton appropriate. The limited collection featured three designs: The Don, The Jasper and The Mr. Hudson.

Leaving the ever busy Mr. West behind for a moment we turn to rappers the Wu-Tang Clan who back in 2006 teamed up with urbanwear brand Alfie to produce trainers, a ‘Wu-Tang Life’ t-shirt and a college jacket which featured the slogan ‘R.I.P. O.D.B’ – a reference to rapper Ol’ Dirty Bastard who died of a drug overdose two years previously.
It seems that rap, hip hop and streetwear brands are a match made in heaven as this year sees Nas work with the self-described ‘multimedia, design and merchandise hybrid’ Grungy Gentleman to release an autumn collection entitled HSTRY constituting of 33 garments including leather jackets and flannel shirts. Whether Nas can emulate Kanye West’s popularity is yet to be seen – he certainly has a lot to live up to!

Reggies Yates Burton

Sticking with urban wear but crossing the pond to the UK now, TV presenter, actor and radio DJ Reggie Yates has been collaborating with snowboard brand Burton to produce a range of women’s and men’s t-shirts and vests that feature his own photography printed on them. The printed designs feature stage shots of the crowd at music festivals, street scenes and huge blown up roses.

Finally, in a twist on the real celebrity joining hands with the real fashion label, American prescription glasses and sunglasses brand Warby Parker have taken inspiration from the Man of Steel himself and launched a range of glasses inspired by everyone’s favourite nerdy news reporter Clark Kent. This collection timed, of course, to coincide with this year’s release of the latest Superman movie, also promises to donate $15 USD from the sale of each pair of Man of Steel glasses to a non-profit organization that provides support for young people who want to become writers. I’m sure Clark Kent would approve! Warby Parker

Which are your top menswear or streetwear fashion collabs? And which star would you love to see bring out a range of urban wear with which designer? Or maybe you think pop stars should stick to singing and celebrity partnerships are over rated. Whatever your thoughts leave them in the comments box. And if you’re looking for urbanwear men’s clothing with a difference, head over to our website and pre-order one of our soon to be launched men’s t-shirts.