How Fashion is Going Green
When the average person considers eco-friendly clothing options, they may have images of the wardrobe from The Matrix (not the cool trenches and skintight pants they sported inside the Matrix, but the unfinished, no-color sacks they wore on the Nebuchadnezzar). But green fashion has come a long way from the rough, un-dyed, homespun garments of yesteryear. In fact, you may not be able to tell the difference between textiles that have harmed the planet at every turn and those that have done very little to increase your carbon footprint. Thanks to changes in the industry that have turned an eye towards the future of fashion and how it relates to the environment, green fashion has grown. Here are just a few ways in which the clothes on your back may be getting a little greener.
The crossover between green living and the fashion industry starts with education and the new batch of designers entering the field. This is why it’s awesome that so many fashion schools are now offering courses that explain the goals and possibilities where green fashion is concerned, as well as offering instruction in how to make eco-friendly clothing and accessory. Even well-known schools like the Fashion Institute of Technology have embraced the possibility of greener clothing options by hosting exhibits and offering seminars and courses in eco-fashion.
Organic cotton, hemp, bamboo, eucalyptus, and plenty of other plants are all being used to create fabrics that are free of chemical pesticides and fertilizers, doing less harm to your body as well as the environment. And peace silk and organic wool are gathered humanely so that no animals are killed to give you the shirt on your back (which is good for your conscience as well as the animals). In addition to the many environmental benefits that come with these textiles, you’ll be happy to hear that they’re good for your wallet, too. Although they may be a bit more expensive initially, they can last up to ten times as long thanks to the fact that no chemicals are present to break down the fibers prematurely. And many designers are now opting for these fabrics in their lines, thus supporting the organic farming movement.
If you knew how many chemicals went into producing a garment (bleaches, dyes, flame retardant, stain-proofing, and even formaldehyde, amongst other things), you might not be so keen to put them on your skin. And in addition to the potential for bodily harm, the processes used to manufacture textiles for clothing are a source of pollution and waste. But concerned designers and manufacturers are beginning to seek ways to reduce the damage caused by clothing creation, from using natural dyes and skipping chemicals to recycling scrap cloth left over from the production of garments.
You can’t have a fashionable ensemble without a few accessories, and while some green changes are obvious (faux leather belts, shoes, and handbags, for example, or accessories made from recycled materials), others may be things you never even thought of (fair trade precious metals and gemstones for jewelry, shoes that can be recycled to create playground surfaces, etc.). Many companies in the fashion industry are finding creative ways to go green not only with clothing, but with accessories, as well.
Perhaps you haven’t heard of up-and-coming eco-designers like Casey Larkin, Kizzy Jai Knight, and Ada Zanditon (although you should definitely check them out), but you’ve likely heard of Stella McCartney, who espouses eco-friendly fashion along with her vegetarian values. And with more and more designers going green, it won’t be long before some of your favorite fashion houses start offering clothing options that will make you feel as good as you look.
Carol Montrose is a writer for www.tshirtprinting.net where you can create your own custom tshirts, hoodies, and much more.