The earth friendly movement is sweeping the nation – cars, homes, even an entire TV station, everything is getting the green makeover, and fashion is no exception.
What does Green mean, in terms of fashion? Well, organic fabrics, recycled fibers, and green production processes that have a low impact on the planet, for starters. Ethically sourced fabrics are also a high priority, crafted by artisans from around the world who are paid a fair wage. In addition, sustainable materials like organic cotton and wool from humanely raised animals are sought out. Essentially, Green clothing companies have to take both environmental and ethical factors into consideration.
Sounds like a lot, but there are tons of earth-friendly designers out there doing just that. And doing it well.
Here’s a look at some of the finest fashion finds around, from designers and companies committed to making a difference with their super-stylish AND eco-friendly products. If you aren’t a Green Girl yet, these green goods may just sway you!
1. Terra Plana shoes. This company makes killer footwear. The range is huuuuuge: flats, sandals, boots and sneakers, and my favorite amazing heels, all of them cute! Any leather they use is vegetable tanned, and they use a lot of recycled fabrics. They also invented a material they call E-leather, which is a blend of leather and textile fibers ‘re-woven’ to make it indistinguishable from real leather – and using far less water and chemicals than regular production.
2. Adili.com is an awesome eco-clothing website, a sort of clearinghouse for smaller Green designers, and let me tell you, there are some AMAZING things on here. This adorable be-pocketed dress? Made from bamboo, a totally sustainable resource!
3. Fashion megastore H&M is venturing into the Green arena with its line of clothing made from organic cotton. A tiny bit more expensive than their normal line, but with H&M prices, it’s definitely still swing-able.
4. Stylewillsaveus.com: probably the best resource on the web for all things sustainable AND stylish. Go there. ‘Nuff said.
5. greenKarat is a line of eco-friendly jewelry that uses recycled gold in its designs. People underestimate the impact of extracting gems and precious metals from the earth, and greenKarat is working to reduce that impact. They do wedding rings, custom pieces, and fashion jewelry that they call “responsible indulgences.”
6. Peopletree.co.uk almost kills me with how lovely it is. They design gorgeous clothing, like this unbelievably sweet and chic tucked shirt dress, but that isn’t even half the loveliness. I love it so much I have to quote directly from their website: “In order to ensure People Tree fashion meets the Fair Trade principles set out by IFAT (International Fair Trade Association), we work closely with 50 Fair Trade groups in 15 countries. That way, we can bring benefits to people and the planet at as many steps of the production process as possible – growing cotton, weaving, dyeing, embroidery, stitching etc. – helping alleviate poverty in the world’s most marginalised communities.” I couldn’t have said anything better than that.
7. Stella McCartney. This woman has been slogging on the front lines of sustainability for years now. From organic cotton jeans and underoos, to vegan footwear, she goes the extra mile to keep the high end consumer (don’t forget, she is a high fashion designer) in ethically conscious duds. It might not be the affordable way for us youngsters to go at the moment, but we can always dream, right?
As I’m sure you’ve noticed, many of these lines or designers are smaller and mostly available online, and that is a big part of the Green game right now. It’s much more likely that things are really being ethically produced by smaller operations. It’s true that mass-production and earth-friendliness are no longer completely mutually exclusive (as we’ve seen with H&M’s new eco-line), but they certainly have a long way to go.
And beware: not all Green is created equal. There is no official regulation on what can be labeled “green” yet, so a company that uses recycled paper for it’s clothing tags can claim to be as Green as one that uses all locally produced materials and offsets the carbon emissions from all its delivery trucks. A little research will go a long way, but I hope you’re convinced that there are some Cute (notice the capital C) clothes out there that can have you looking both fashion and earth-conscious before you know it!