With more and more “Green” products entering the mainstream, it seems as if everyone is looking for ways to be more environmentally friendly. But what about fashion? Is it possible to be environmentally sensitive and still maintain your personal style? The answer is unequivocally “yes,” but it does take a little scouting around to find the right retailer for your needs.
First, let’s define what it means to be eco-fashionable. Although it might be hard to find all of the following criteria in a single piece of clothing, you can begin to build your wardrobe around these environmentally-safe choices:
1. Locally Sourced
Purchasing items that are locally sourced is sometimes the most environmentally-sound decision you can make, because the products are not traveling a distance to get to you, and are therefore not contributing to the massive byproducts of shipping products around the world.
2. Fairly Traded
This is really about the moral background of your wardrobe. Was it made by people paid a living wage in reasonable working conditions? Fair trade means that producers are paid fair prices for their products, instead of the prices that the market will allow. This means that you will probably pay more for eco-conscious clothing, but you are supporting people who need money for housing, clean water, food, health care, education.
Much of our clothing is made of cotton and cotton blends, and cotton is a massive crop that, like many of our food crops, often requires extensive pesticide and chemical byproducts to produce. Popular demand for cheap cotton has increased crop production, which has also increased pesticide use. Cotton is the most pesticide-dependent crop in the world, accounting for 25% of all pesticide use. In fact, most cotton T-shirts require up to 1/4 lb. of harmful chemicals to produce. Instead, seek organic cotton for your clothing, as it offers fewer chemicals and is grown and harvested in an environmentally-sound manner.
The vintage fashion trend has more legs than you ever realized when you add in the fact that you are actually recycling and dressing fashionably! So check out vintage stores and consignment shops, and also keep an eye out for designers who take vintage pieces and overstock fabrics to create new designs. These designers use recycled materials like old T-shirts, ties, scarves, dresses, costumes and curtains to create custom-designed, one-of-a-kind creations.
Sustainable products are made from renewable resources that don’t overly tax the Earth. Ideal sustainable resources are those that can be replaced at a rate equal to or greater than the rate at which they are consumed. Some great options for clothing include bamboo, which is a fast-growing crop that requires no chemical pesticides or fertilizers. Surprisingly, this amazing plant creates cashmere-like knits and silky-smooth fabrics.
6. Eco-conscious Production
This refers to the process of producing the fabrics, which can be highly energy-inefficient and polluting to the environment. Instead, look for products from wind-powered factories that use recycled waste-water.
7. Eco-conscious Companies
In addition to employing eco-friendly practices, eco-conscious companies often donate a percentage of profits to eco-related causes.
Eco-fashion is all about choosing materials that have been created with the Earth in mind. By taking a long-term view of how our actions affect future generations and making sure that we don’t deplete resources or cause pollution, we can help ensure a healthy Earth as well as maintain a sense of doing something good while also looking good.
To find eco-fashion, simply search online. Also check out magazines and online publications that review topics of organic crops, sustainability, and the other items listed in this article. Most of all, remember that you can be both fashionable and “green,” you just have to look for the opportunity to do so.
Copyright (c) 2008 Virginia Ginsburg