Eco Fashion: What is it?

February 25th, 2009

eco-fashion1

Photo credit: lachshand

No doubt you may have noticed this new generation of eco fashion that seems to be swarming many brick and mortar stores and cyberspace (including this blog) over the past couple of years.  This new breed of eco fashion can be as cool, stylish, fashionable, and as chic as you want it to be. Whether your style is more classic, simple, feminine, “street style” etc, there is something for everyone.

As a self proclaimed fashionista who love clothing and fashion, the temptation is great to empty my wallet and fill up my closet with eco friendly clothing.  The question is, what exactly is eco or green fashion and is it worth it or necessary to make such purchases?

What makes clothing organic, sustainable or eco friendly?

Here are some key characteristics:

Fabrics
Cotton
– The cotton used to make organic cotton clothing, accessories and housewares (sheets, towels, furniture, etc) are grown without the use of pesticides and other harmful chemicals.
Wool – Certified Organic wool comes from sheep that is fed an organic diet, are not given synthetic hormones, are not genetically engineered and are not pastured on pesticide laden fields.
Silk – Organic silk is made by worms that feed on organically grown trees.
Bamboo- Bamboo is one of the fastest growing, renewable resources on the planet.  It is naturally anti-bacterial and anti-fungal.  No chemicals are necessary in the production of bamboo clothing and housewares. (see update below)*

Recycled Materials
Eco clothing may be made from recycled fabrics, textiles, finishes even “fabrics” made from recycled plastics, aluminum and other materials.

Clothing Production
-The fabrics used in production are not bleached, and no toxic dyes or cleaning products are used.
-The clothing is produced and manufactured locally (or at least in North America) to reduce the carbon footprint of having it shipped overseas.
-Last but not least, the clothing and accessories are not manufactured in an exploitive sweatshop environment, either domestic or international.

Now that we have a brief overview of what organic or eco friendly clothing is, what about the cost?  This will be discussed in a future post.

*UPDATE: Grechen with Green Grechen wrote a post back in October about The Truth About Bamboo as an Eco-Friendly Fabric.  Check it out and let us know what you think!

14 Responses to “Eco Fashion: What is it?”

  1. Liara Covert says:

    Some people refuse to wear any fabric that is not completely produced within a limited geographic area near where they live. These people believe that such a practice would reduce gas used to transport goods large distances and it promotes “use local” mentality.

  2. Sagan says:

    Ooh clothes, lovely. A bunch of the local shops sell clothes that are really eco friendly, they’re a little pricey but they’re mostly all one of a kind stuff too and its totally worth it.

  3. Carla says:

    @Liara – That is interesting. Up until recently, I never really paid too much attention to how much my clothes have traveled to get here. I thought about it in terms of FOOD, but not so much clothing.

    @Sagan – I love one-of-a kind too!

  4. grechen says:

    yay! an eco-fashion post :) don’t even get me started on the cost of some eco-friendly items – can’t wait until you cover it!

    hemp & soy are also being used much more frequently in eco-fashion lately, although the staples are organic cotton and bamboo. incidentally, while bamboo does not HAVE to be chemically processed, most of it IS. when you talk about degrees of eco-friendliness, in my opinion organic cotton, soy & hemp come before bamboo, unless you know for certain it is grown without pesticides and is mechanically rather than chemically processed. anyway it’s an ongoing debate – i wrote an article about it recently: http://www.greengrechen.com/2008/10/06/news/the-truth-about-bamboo-as-an-eco-friendly-fabric/ – and bamboo is still better generally than conventional cotton.

    to liara’s point – and carla, i always thought more about the length my food traveled to get to me more than my clothing, but now, it is just as important where my clothing is produced – and by whom. my most important qualification when i’m buying eco-fashion is who makes it (i prefer independent – very small – designers) and where it’s made – the US in my case. it’s SO important to me to support fellow (female) entrepreneurs!!

  5. LisaNewton says:

    I love the idea of eco fashion, vegan shoes, etc. Each small step taken to “green” up our lives is a step in the right direction…………..:)

  6. Carla says:

    @grechen – Thank you for brining up hemp and soy! I totally forgot about that. Maybe I am biased against soy because I dont consider it a health or healthy food, I wonder how “green” soy is to cultivate. Thats definitely something I would be interested in looking into. Thanks for the link! I will add it to the post.

    @LisaNewton – I love the idea too – not only because I love clothes. :)

  7. Wilson Pon says:

    WoW, I loved this eco fashion concept, Carla. My girlfriend’s birthday is approaching by (6th March) maybe I should buy her a very special “Eco-fashion” evening gown…

  8. Val says:

    I passed along the Lemonade award to you. Just go to my blog to retrieve it.

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  14. These are some informative ideas. You brought up some valid points that I had not previously considered. I will subscribe to see if you post any updates.

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