“Go Green and Get Seen”
Is Eco-Friendly Clothing The New Haute Couture?
Designers from all around the world are using and working with fabrics that are environmentally friendly as well as incorporating style and comfort all at a good price. Eco-friendly clothing is becoming more popular in the fashion world and retailers are noticing that they can still sell their line and make an even bigger impact on society by using organic fabrics. This in turn is bringing a new look to the fashion runway and is making a difference in the environment.
What is meant by eco-friendly clothing? The word eco is short for environmentally conscious. These eco-friendly clothes are being made with organic products, which indicate that the plants used to make the fabric were grown without pesticides from seeds that were not genetically altered. Magazine articles like the ones written for Elle Canada are discussing how “designers are using and working with fabrics that are low-impact dyes, pesticide-free, biodegradable, sustainable and organic such as; bamboo, soy, hemp, and organic cotton, making them all eco-friendly”.
Designers like the “Eco Zen Boutique” are making eco-friendly articles of clothing, accessories, and cosmetics that balance style and sustainability. The company mentions on their website that they,“ donate at least 1% of sales to environmental organizations through an alliance with 1% For The Planet and is a certified carbon free business by Carbon Fund”. The company is using eco-friendly materials to encourage people to live a “green” lifestyle with products that are used in everyday life.
Retailers are looking for a way to reduce the impact of buying conventional fabrics without eliminating fashion all together and customers are looking for an easy way to improve the environment. By putting these two concerns side by side and making one obvious solution, companies are making it more economical to buy eco-friendly products and also making them easy to find. Customers do not notice much of a difference from the look and feel of the eco-friendly products unless it is labeled as such. Therefore, they do not have to change their entire wardrobe style by making an environmentally friendly choice on the clothes that they decide to wear. According to an article in bnet by Blanca Torres, “ In the past organic cotton garments were less colorful, more neutral and the feel was different from traditional clothing, now, fabric production for organic cotton is much more sophisticated”.
What also has to be considered is that consumers are not only buying clothes for the fact that they are environmentally friendly, the clothing has to incorporate style and comfort at a good price. Retailers like H&M and Roots Canada are the world’s largest buyers of organic cotton, and offer it at the same prices as products made from conventional fabrics, because they are able to negotiate good prices overall.
According to the H&M website, “H&M has been using organically grown cotton since 2004, they began mixing some organic cotton into selected children’s clothing. Since 2007 they have had garments made from 100 percent organic cotton in all departments. They are also members of the Organic Exchange, which promotes the growth of organic cotton. H&M has been marking the basic babywear with the EU’s (European Union) eco-label, the Flower. This “certifies that harmful substances have been limited and water pollution reduced across the whole production chain, from the raw cotton to the final product”. It also “guarantees the garments ability to keep its shape and color”.
Even though a lot of us are trying to make our environment a more clean and eco-friendly place, how do we know if products are truly eco-friendly? “Clothing is made from organic cotton, but it could have been produced under poor labor conditions or in a factory that emits pollution”, says Blanca Torres for bnet. How many companies are truly environmentally friendly and who are just green washing. Green washing refers to “the phenomena of socially and environmentally destructive corporations or governments attempting to preserve and expand their markets or power by posing as friends of the environment, according to Tom Szaky for Inc. It is much harder to identify whether a retailer is truly eco-friendly unless there is research done to prove how their products are being produced. Yes, they may be using organic cotton, but if that cotton was shipped from China and then shipped back to the factory, how eco-friendly is it? Consumers have no choice but to take these products at face value.
Not only are eco-friendly designer dudes hitting the runway, but they are becoming more relevent in our everyday lives. We are seeing more and more eco-friendly articles of clothing in stores worldwide like H&M and Roots Canada. Organic clothing is becoming the new hot item and now more then ever there is a wide selection available in different styles and at better prices. Bottom line, consumers are looking for an easy way to improve the environment and what better way to do so then to incorporate it into our everyday lives. It takes each of us doing a little something to make a big chance all around. So, if you have the choice, why not buy the outfit that causes less harm to the environment and still look fabulous.