Friday, November 04, 2011

Green...The New Black?

Taking a look into the
trend of ‘going green’

Eco-chic. Green fashionista. All-natural. Biodegradable. These have all become common terms and slang in today’s eco-conscious culture, what with the growing awareness –and, quite frankly, popularity- associated with ‘going green’ and saving the planet (which isn’t a bad thing!). So to all of you environmentally-conscious fashionistas and trend setters alike, I’ve got to ask…how green are you really?
Some people may respond with a passionate ‘very much so’, others might reply somewhere on the other end of the spectrum. So you don’t wash your jeans that often- conserving water, you may say- but do you know how that t-shirt of yours was made? Exactly.
It’s chic to be green, and don’t we all just want to fit in, but how do you really define the term?
Green. It can be described in many ways, and as many different things. To be ‘green’ is to be eco-chic, or rather to be environmentally-conscious, while maintaining style. Everybody has their own definition of it though, from living a completely eco-friendly life (also known as ‘being green’), to the colour some people turn while at sea, it can vary depending on who you are talking to.
According to a 2009 report by Ottawa-based TerraChoice,an environmental marketing firm, the average number of ‘green’ products on store shelves in Canada and the U.S. had almost tripled from 2006- 2008. That’s quite a short amount of time. This increase is most likely caused by society’s trend to be eco-friendly, and the increasing demand that consumers have for these types of products, which in turn would lead companies to produce more products with a ‘green’ label.
Our society today is so obsessed with trends and the latest ‘it’ style, and ‘going green’ is no exception. Although some people might be missing the bigger picture at hand, and are more interested in the idea of being eco-friendly or sporting environmentally-friendly fashions than they’re interested in the actual purpose of it all. We as a society have adapted to following trends like we follow the latest celebrity gossip; ‘being green’ may be just another way of conforming to the latest fad. And when you are more concerned with the latest trend- in this case being considered a ‘green’ member of society- it could take the focus away from the cause itself, and although you may think you’re doing your part in the green movement, if you take a step back you just might realize that you aren’t as environmentally-friendly as you thought you were.
Carrying reusable bags and bringing your own travel mug versus the plastic and paper versions respectively, is a good thing, yes. It might even get you a nod of approval from most who respect the conservation of resources. However, purchasing clothing and accessories that have been produced using harmful pesticides and synthetic fertilizers, were manufactured using excessive amounts of water and chemicals, and have been transported inefficiently may be counter-acting your efforts with that bag and cup of yours.
By purchasing products that were made in not so eco-friendly processes, such as in factories that irresponsibly dispose of their waste water, or have excessive amounts of waste materials left over, you’re almost supporting the anti-environment group. Being misinformed is just as harmful to the environment, as it can lead you to buy what is believed to be environmentally safe or produced sustainably, but which in fact may have no supporting evidence. Greenwash or greenwashing, known as ‘a superficial or insincere display of concern for the environment that is shown by an organization’, according to the Collins English Dictionary (2009), is something that you need to be aware of as a consumer. False eco-friendly claims or inaccurate environmentally-safe practices by companies are something you want to avoid.
To ensure you’re sporting responsible fashion, check your labels or do your homework on the company. If it has a BCI (Better Cotton Initiatives), FSC (Forestry Stewardship Council), or EcoLogo certification, you’re one step closer to becoming a ‘green’ shopper!
Following the craze of ‘going green’ doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice your style or succumb to the hippie-esque methods of personal hygiene though. It used to be tough for consumers to find stylish, environmentally-conscious clothing and accessories at an affordable price. But don’t fret! This is no longer the case! Many of today’s retailers are making the decision to practice more sustainable processes of producing and supplying their products.
Take H&M for example. Their Conscious* line, featuring recycled polyester shirts and dresses, woven organic hemp and silk shoes, and organic cotton skirts are all as on trend as the next poly blend dress out there. American Apparel, another favourite of many, also carries a
sustainable line ‘Sustainable Edition’, which uses 100% organic cotton. And for those of you that really like to see results, check out Levi Strauss & Co.’s Water For those of you looking for a cosmetic fix, bath and beauty favourites Burt’s Bees and Lush are also committed to producing all-natural products that are produced in sustainable ways.
So, dear stylish one, are you as green as you thought? Have you checked your labels lately? Or are you just taking part of the ‘green’ trend because it’s simply that, another trend? Here today, gone tomorrow, respecting the environment and making responsible (and fashionable!) choices is something that we all need to be more aware of, before these valuable resources
are just that: gone tomorrow.

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