We’re all aware of the ways to be eco-friendly nowadays – it is an essentiality if we wish for our world to survive. We know to conserve energy, to recycle our plastics and to purchase organic vegetables – but do we think to recycle our clothes, or to buy fair-trade? Now, the fashion world is boldly proclaiming that ‘green is the new black’; but not in terms of colour, but rather how ‘green’ the clothing you are wearing is. But to what extent can this reach? Will we be literally wearing clothes made out of recycled aluminium cans in years to come?
The only downfall of being truly green is that most often people cannot be bothered; it is seen as awkward and a ‘hassle’; washing out the bottles and removing labels before recycling etc. Conservation of the planet is not simply just a ‘dent’ in our social lives – it affects everything and is now a crucial part of our lives. Our current generation bears the reigns to saving the planet, and encouraging its recovery. Eco-friendly is the new trend – not just within fashion, and has now formed itself as a part of our culture.
However annoying and time-consuming it may seem it isn’t hard to be environmentally friendly; and there are optional methods.
1. Eco-Friendly fashion:
“Organic fashion means clothes which have been made with a minimum use of chemicals and with minimum damage to the environment. This includes chemicals used during every step in the process, from growing cotton, to the dying and finishing of the fabric. Eco fashion refers to clothing that has been manufactured using environmentally-friendly processes, and includes organic clothing. Eco fashion clothing can use recycled clothing and even recycled materials such as eco-fleeces produced from recycled plastic soda bottles. Eco fashion is not necessarily made from organic fibres.” (BBC)
Have you ever considered reading the label on your fashion item to discover what it’s made from? Most items are produced cheaply and therefore mainly derive from synthetic materials, such as nylon and polyester. Most high-street stores (which is what most of us can just about afford) provide limp efforts for sustainable fashions. Many of the well-known brands, such as H&M, Zara and Topshop, have incorporated a commitment to becoming more ethical into their environmental policy.
So next time you allow yourself to dip into that student loan consider what effect this has on your planet, and bear in mind that clothing made out of the following materials is eco-friendly; organic cotton, hemp, linen, organic wool and natural dyes.
H&M is currently one of the best high-street stores to offer environmentally-friendly fashions. It has integrated the use of organic cotton in its clothing since 2004, and it produced items for its previous SS09 collections that were made from recycled materials. Key to the success of H&M is its pricing and this commitment is still prevalent amongst its sustainable fashions, with prices starting at £7.99 for scarves.
Emma Watson, the well-known actress who is most famous for her role in the Harry Potter films, is due to launch a clothing collection in collaboration with the ethical fashion label People Tree. The collection is aimed at bringing fair trade and organic fashion to the 16-24 age group, and Watson will be using her personal style for inspiration.
“Clean and easy to wear – Emma Watson and People Tree have created a cool collection boasting a range of jersey t-shirts, dresses, woven skirts, trousers, shorts and knitwear for both men and women. Bohemian hand embroidered bed throws, recycled sweetie paper jewellery, banana fibre slouchy beanies and head scarves add innovative fashion and home accessories to the collection.” (peopletree.com)
Emma Watson’s line will be available in February 2010.
Concerning a slightly less budget-driven market, some of the best sustainable designers, as claimed by greenmystyle.com are: Mark Liu, Davina Hawthorne, Bibico, Elena Garcia, Tammam and Miksa.
2. Swishing/swapping parties:
The new craze of swap shopping has recently emerged, mostly in part due to environmental concern. But also, as people are learning to become more conservative with their money. Swishing parties are the perfect opportunity to re-invent your wardrobe, and for free! Instead of buying into a style that you want to experiment with you can simply trade-in those out-of-season clothes (most likely with their tags still intact and unworn) for points and snap up great new on-trend items.
The best thing about a swapping party is how versatile the fashion bargains you find are. This is due to the availability of customisation tables whereby us fashionistas can literally do whatever we want, however we want – whether you need to re-vamp a two-sizes-too-big skirt, turn a dress into a shirt or turn a bag into a headscarf! The options are endless.
There are numerous swap shops available in London; however as the trend is growing there are many more emerging. Look magazine recently hosted a two-day event in a boutique along Carnaby Street in London. In February Southampton Solent University also hosted a swap shop. The event was organised by the Solent Union in conjunction with the volunteering scheme. Students at the University were able to volunteer on the day to help manage the event. All proceeds raised went towards the University’s student-led READ book project.
3. Recycled clothes:
Oxfam online has recently erupted in the fashion world and is perfect for discovering vintage bargains. Not only does your money go to charity but instead of buying something new you are re-using someone’s unwanted item that is more suited to your taste – and for a small price.
Junky Styling is a recycled clothing company that proclaims its fashions to be ‘timeless, deconstructed, re-cut and completely transformed’. They produce unique apparel from dated, old or discarded items. Junky Styling allows the option of providing your own garment to recycle which can be made into the following, as examples; Side Ways Shirt Top, Play Suit, Shirt T Dress. This is a really positive idea for items of sentimental value – instead of putting it aside let it be re-created into something even better.
Greenmystyle.com is a website which calls itself ‘your daily eco glossy’. Posing as an online magazine (rather than print – save the trees and all that!) greenmystyle forges a bridge between locating ethical fashions and the environmentally-aware reader; they create top 10 guides and shopping tools – to name a few.
To be fashionably green you need to be able to change the way you think – instead of rushing out and buying the must-buy Topshop handbag search for a similar item that will cost you less than half the price! And next time you have a spring clear-out of your wardrobe think about your carbon footprint – are you going to simply throw seemingly meaningless and unworthy clothes away? No! You are going to recycle them. Together, we can help the world stay green.