Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Is Green the New Black ?

As celebrities such as David Suzuki, Leonardo DiCaprio and Al Gore stand behind the battle against climate change, we have seen the subject of the environment turn into a whirlwind of activism and movement. These individuals have been able to draw out their message to society by making people better aware of our increasingly changing environment. With huge support from media figures and celebrity activists, people around the world have become not only more aware, but more knowledgeable and informed about the crisis our environment is facing. As a result, we have seen individuals and groups making lifestyle changes and becoming more environmentally conscious, not only about the products they purchase but also how manufacturing and production processes can negatively affect the environment. The power and momentum of the environmental movement is strengthened by the fact that groups and corporations are joining in alongside everyday individuals.

Within the last decade, we have seen many manufacturers and designers craft their merchandise from environmentally and ecologically sound resources. Designing products with fabrics made of bamboo, organic cotton and recycled fleece has placed emphasis on saving the environment and a social responsibility onto the manufactures and designers of today. Because many companies are orienting their businesses in an environmentally friendly manner, there will hopefully be a pressure on others to follow suit.

‘’Organic clothing and recycled clothing are nice ways to treat our Earth in a friendly manner and at the time time being fashionable and hip’’, say Jason Duke in his article Eco Friendly Clothing.

And who better then to agree with this statement then design team Rogan Gregory and Scott Mackinlay Hahn.In 2004, designers Rogan Gregory and Scott Mackinlay Hahn successfully launched their eco-friendly brand Loomstate to the world. Their design approach was founded on the respect they both have for the environment and their appreciation for nature. Their enjoyment of the usage of eco-friendly products leads this design duo to feel the “mathematical ‘Golden Ratios’, which is evident through the nautilus shells to flower petals,” as recorded by Loomstate’s official website.
Loomstate has become one of the leading organic design and manufacturing brands, selling to retailers such as Urban Outfitters and Holt Renfrew. They have also launched an exclusive label for Keds shoes and for American retail giant Target. These major retailers are trying to capture the movement towards environmentally friendly products by incorporating them into their retail establishments. Gone are the days where environmental activism was an indie cause. Today it is mainstream to live life and buy products in an environmentally sustainable, and now fashionable manner.
“There's absolutely no better partner than Target for our mission, for our values, and for our aesthetic point of view culturally,” said designer Scott Mackinlay Hahn during the launch party for Loomstate for Target. In bringing their eco-friendly designs to such a massive retailer, Loomstate can hope to make a large impact on their consumers, who are undoubtedly the “average consumer”. Making eco-friendly designs available to the everyday and average consumer emphasizes that respecting the environment need not cost more than destroying it.

Eco-friendly clothing has definitely become the latest rage... or some may believe the latest hoax. With all the surrounding attention environmental issues have casted on today’s society, many people are wondering if these products are based on a devised marketing scheme. It is no secret that many trends die out because their hype exceeds their genuine benefit, and some worry that this may be the case with these environmentally sound products. So should consumers be cynical? Or should we embrace the cause in helping support our environment by purchasing eco-friendly products?
“When introducing an ‘ethical product’, people become more inclined to purchase the item because of what it represents’’, says Michelle Stark of the Toronto Star. It is possible that people will purchase eco-friendly clothing hoping that it will make a difference in environmental issues, without actually doing the research to determine if their efforts are being wasted.

High profile people tend to persuade the public to support causes, such as the environment. Retailers may try to take advantage of situations for profit gain by offering eco-friendly products. So the question remains, are these eco-friendly products actually beneficial to the consumer and helpful towards the environment?

One can see that finding solutions to world problems can be both a fashionable and pressing issue. We as a fashion industry have a responsibility to change the way we manufacture and create products if by doing so, we can help alleviate the harm being caused to the environment. By helping in this mission through the creation of eco-friendly products, we are not only helping the environment but enabling the consumer to become a contributor to this important cause. Launching innovative ideas such as that of Loomstate clothing can impact the environment, whether on a small or large scale. Every attempt is a step towards the success in the journey to help environmental change.

Whatever your thoughts may be, climate change is real and now. As a society, it is our responsibility to act against global warming and work for environmental change. So whether it be through purchasing those fabulous Seven for all Mankind eco-friendly jeans, or replacing that old, tacky plastic water bottle for a shiny re-usable canteen, we can all help in making our world a better and cleaner place to live in. Remember, change is within you.... and can be in what you where. Who ever thought eco chic could be so fashionable!

1 comment:

Oh, George! said...

Jane H - This article takes a new spin on the fashion eco story by discussing how retailers use it to influence profit.