Upcycling creates wool sweater shortage at Anchorage thrift stores
People who repurpose wool sweaters say there’s a shortage of the fabric in Anchorage, thanks to the “upcycling” trend. One artist said she gets sweaters shipped in from her sister in Canada, and another stocks up during the summer.
“Upcycling” is ushering in a new wave of innovation. Entrepreneurs like Bonnie Getter have created entire businesses around the concept. Her specialty is wool mittens made from old sweaters.
“They turn out really pretty. I really like them because they are warm,” Getter said.
Each pair takes her about three hours to make. She sells them for $50 a piece, but the real challenge is finding material.
“A lot of people are looking for them as well,” Getter said.
About once a week, Getter searches through thrift store racks.
“It’s a treasure hunt. You have to look around,” she said.
With so many people repurposing wool clothing, she said she’s lucky to walk out with anything.
“For manufacturers, not as many people want to buy wool sweaters anymore so you don’t see as many or it could be the popularity of the wool sweater mittens,” Getter said.
Getter said it’s especially hard to find the right kind of sweater during winter. She’s trying to stock up before there aren’t any left.
She said she is glad to see more people are upcycling and creating eco-friendly products. It just means she may have to be a little more creative herself.
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