What is eco friendly fashion and what does the world of fashion have to do with the future health of the planet and its inhabitants? Does the shirt you choose at the store really have an effect on anything else other than your personal wardrobe?
Though it may not seem like a direct connection, the choice you make in the dressing room can have a lasting impact on an entire life-cycle of production. When you consider green issues and making conscious choices to help reduce global warming and assist declining farming communities, fashion may not be the first industry that comes to mind.
In the world of eco conscious choices, you probably think of issues such as recycling and transportation. Yet like most things today, fashion does not exist in a vacuum. Whether the designer lives in Sydney, Australia or New York City, the production of one sexy little black cotton dress negatively affects the lives of loads of people around the world.
Because of this widespread impact, you can actually help save the planet, even when you make a simple purchase like buying a t-shirt. Making an eco friendly fashion decision, can have cascading positive effects that go on for some time.
Another problem is that all synthetic fabrics are manufactured from petroleum derivatives which are simply not meant to be near, on or in humans. What this all adds up to is that most fabrics created and used today are very unfriendly to Earth and its critters. In short, synthetics are not doing us any good.
I know it's hard to picture what all this really means for that pretty little cotton top on the rack. Think about this, one harmless little (non-organic) cotton t-shirt can contain up to about 1/3 cup of pesticides and fertilizers, including known cancer causing agents such as cyanide, dicofol, naled, propargite, and trifluraline.
That cute shirt doesn't sound so cute anymore...does it?
Don't worry, it is getting easier than ever to go eco friendly and find amazingly sexy, affordable and luxurious organic cotton or bamboo fiber tops.
When you decide to take the eco friendly fashion plunge and go green with your wardrobe, not knowing where to begin can be the biggest hurdle to overcome. As you stroll through the store with an eye for what colors and styles look good on you, checking the label for anything beyond the size is probably not on your mind. Going green means you'll have to examine that label for an extra few seconds.
The focus of your label search is to find out what material was used in creating that pair of pants or blouse. To define something as eco friendly fashion, you want to make sure it was made from organic or recycled material. Today, there are more store owners out there choosing to stock their shelves with eco friendly fashion that ever before. Another great option is online shopping; look for a list of online resources at the end of the article. Just make sure to check the return/exchange policy before purchasing.
Eco friendly fashion begins with with some great eco fabric choices. Here is what to look for:
Organic cotton - grown without pesticides (for at least the prior three years) from plants which are not genetically modified. According to the Organic Cotton Association (OTA), organic cotton is grown using methods and materials that have a low impact on the environment.
Hemp - has been cultivated longer than any other textile fiber in history. Hemp is anti-microbial and highly resistant to insects. It NEVER requires the use of herbicides, pesticides or chemical fertilizers.
Bamboo - in fabric form, is softer than cotton with a texture similar to silk or cashmere. Unlike other anti-microbial fabrics, which require a chemical treatment, bamboo fiber clothing is naturally anti-microbial requiring no added harmful chemicals. It contains an agent called "bamboo kun" that prevents bacteria from cultivating on it. An excellent eco friendly choice.
Organic Wool - defined as wool that comes from organically raised sheep. What this means is that the sheep graze in outdoor pasture, are raised without any synthetic hormones and are not dipped in insecticide baths. Happy sheep means beautiful clothing.
Lyocell - a biodegradable fiber made from cellulose found in wood pulp from managed tree farms. The process to create lyocell utilizes non-toxic solvents.
PET - a great little new secret of the design world. It is actually made from recycled plastic bottles. Now there's a silver lining to all those wasteful plastic drinking bottles. Check out Nau.com for an amazing line of PET fashion. Not an ideal eco friendly selection, but finding new ways to use previously produced non eco friendly materials can help the environment by postponing its disposal.
The more knowledgeable you are become about the cotton growing industry and its lasting effects on people and the Earth, the more empowered you will feel each time you buy opt for an eco friendly or recycled piece of clothing versus a conventionally grown material.
Another great option for incorporating some eco friendly fashion awareness into your wardrobe is choosing to shop at vintage stores. What was once solely the stomping ground of college students looking for a funky unique identity at a fraction of the cost of high end department stores is now the destination for moms and teenagers alike. On the economic playing field, vintage stores are bringing in an entirely new clientele.
Men and women who can afford to pay the higher prices, are choosing to reduce, reuse and recycle by giving new life to vintage clothing. The benefits of shopping vintage are triple-fold. First, you are lessening your carbon footprint by not consuming brand new items and consuming resources. Second, you are saving money. Third, you will find items to express your style, which are not only beautiful and affordable but also completely unique.
Consignment shopping has seen a resurgence in popularity as people just like you are looking for ways to save money while keeping your family looking great. Most consignment stores sell older clothing that is usually in good, sometimes brand new, condition. When you consign your clothes, you get credit towards future purchases (or you can choose cold hard cash).
This is an amazing motivator to de-clutter your closet and get rid of those items that you haven't worn in years. Consignment stores are especially useful for growing families with children who grow out of clothes every season or two.
Check out just a few of the fabulous brands of eco friendly fashion that will keep you looking great in bamboo, organic cotton and hemp... and won't break the bank:
Mountains of the Moon
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