So I have been eco-fabulous for a couple years now. Well, I have been a tree-hugging, animal-loving, earth-saving gal since I can remember, but made the switch to natural cleaning products and natural/organic beauty about four or five years ago. Anyhoo, eco-fashion is that one last jump I have yet to make. I have a few items here and there, but they are by no means a majority of my wardrobe (yet!).
When researching eco-fashion, the big question is – what exactly makes a certain clothing item “eco-friendly.” It is like natural beauty products, where does “synthetic” end and “natural” start? For more on the beauty side of things, you might find my two-part series 50 Shades of Green Beauty helpful. But back to fashion….
So here are a few things I have found in my research on eco-friendly fashion:
So organic is of course the most obvious of environmentally-friendly clothes. Organic cotton means that the cotton plant cannot be genetically-modified nor use any synthetic fertilizers or pesticides. Cotton is actually not an environmentally-friendly fiber in general, but buying organic does help.
My absolute favorite organic clothing is my PACT organic bikini undies. I love them. They are so soft its amazing. I bought one from Future:Standard a few years ago and have slowly accumulated 8 pairs.
Fair Trade Clothes
So while buying organic ensures the product is environmentally friendly, it may not be people friendly. Wages, work hours, and fair prices for crops are just a few of the many items included in fair trade certification. What good is that organic t-shirt if the person who made it is working 14 hours a day, living in poverty? That’s not what living green is about.
Another way clothes and fashion accessories can be considered eco-friendly is by using sustainable materials. So what exactly does that mean? Well, it means that the materials came from either recycled sources or from sustainably-grown crops. One example of this is clothing made from bamboo fibers. Bamboo is very fast growing, and does not need a lot of pesticides to grow – making it a good choice for clothing because it is renewable. Another example is Lyocell (also known as Tencel) which is made from eucalyptus trees. Eucalyptus, like bamboo, is a fast growing tree that does not require a lot of water or pesticides to grow. Using fibers from these sustainable crops lessen our impact on the planet.
One company that I have personally bought a few items from is Horny Toad, which uses sustainable fibers and some organic cotton. I have a black cross-over dress from them that I love! I’m not aware of a major sale, but they do have some sale items!
So you might be thinking – used clothing? Really? Yes, really! A huge part of being environmentally-friendly (in my humble opinion) is reducing waste. I hate throwing items away. If something doesn’t work or is unneeded, it goes to a family member, friend or goodwill. I rarely will throw something out because that just seems wasteful. Better to go to a happy home than the trash!
So why not take that idea of reducing waste to clothing? Buying or selling used or recycled clothes helps reduce waste – and what can be more eco-friendly than that?
So what are your thoughts on eco-friendly fashion? Do you have a lot of ‘green’ clothing and accessories? What are your favorite places to shop?
Disclosure: I paid for all items mentioned in this blog post. Some of the links included are affiliate links.