Tracy Garcia is an Internet personality and fashion designer based in NYC with over 500 thousand Instagram followers and nearly 900 thousand TikTok ones. She uses her platform to build an empire of slow fashion, showing that old clothes at home, thrifted or scrap fabrics and even trendy pieces can be upcycled into fashion-forward pieces. What is most important of all, Garcia shows that everyone can do it alone at home.

Photograph of Tracy Garcia. Image courtesy of @transformationsbytracy/Instagram.

To share this message, Garcia creates easy-to-digest how-to videos. She also shares and sells patterns and digital resources to help her audience easily create upcycled clothes at home. This makes her work relevant to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal of Responsible Consumption and Production.

Tracy Garcia at work in her studio. Image courtesy of @transformationsbytracy/Instagram.

 Tracy shares her how-to process in a series called Thriftflip Thursday. In one instance, she transforms a thrifted velvet and silk scarf into an evening gown. She goes into detail in her videos, including small steps that other people would have overlooked, such as removing the scarf’s beaded decorations so that they do not get caught in her sewing machine. Garcia also uses additional support materials such as elastics and ribbons, making audiences aware that while the fabrics are upcycled, new threads and ribbons are necessary to transform the piece into a new item of clothing. 

Tracy Garcia wearing one of her finished thrift flip dresses. Image courtesy of @transformationsbytracy/Instagram.

Often, as is the case for her Halter Cut Out Dress, Garcia includes links to additional sewing patterns that viewers can purchase to easily create their own pieces. Occasionally, she will also share these patterns for free, as was the case for her Caps & Cords Mini Bag. 

According to the World Economic Forum, 90.7 million kilograms of clothing end up in New York City’s landfills each year, enough to fill the Statue of Liberty 440 times. By thrifting her fabric, upcycling some of her own old clothes, and giving her audiences the tools to do the same, Garcia is taking concrete measures to help keep clothes out of New York City’s landfills.

The Halter Cut Out Dress Pattern by Tracy Garcia. Image courtesy of @transformationsbytracy/Instagram.

Garcia is a firm advocate of slow fashion, a movement which dedicates itself to making ethical and sustainable decisions when producing clothes. Slow fashion emerged as a direct response to today’s fast fashion-dominated industry, an industry where big brands such as ZARA and H&M churn out clothes and new designs at a fast pace, creating micro-trends that are gone in the blink of an eye. This industry creates clothes with moderate to low quality at an affordable price tag, the driving principle being that the cheaper, the better. Through her constant digital campaigns, Garcia shows that creating affordable clothes at home is not an impossible task. Her endeavours help consumers understand that they can make fashion choices that are both better for the environment and for their pockets.

Tracy Garcia wearing one of her finished thrift flip dresses. Image courtesy of @transformationsbytracy/Instagram.

Learn more about Tracy Garcia’s designs and other initiatives by checking their Instagram account @transformationsbytracy.

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