How to Support and Get Involved with Eco-friendly Fashion
Posted on April 08 2016
As Earth Day looms ahead (April 22), there is an urgent need for fashion designers, influencers, sellers and buyers to work towards amassing eco-friendly fashion lines and brands. As high fashion designers and stylists work to deliver an abundance of looks and trends; many of them are also working to create sustainable fashion lines that protect the environment.
Over the years we’ve stumbled upon some of the most renowned designers in the industry that not only create inspired looks but also those who give back and work to be eco-friendly.
In theory any product that has been manufactured, produced, used or disposed without harming the environment is considered eco-friendly. Eco-friendly or green products reduce pollution and cause minimal harm to the environment and to people. Recycling is a very important process in sustaining our environment. It reduces the need to use landfills, it decreases pressure on using raw or virgin materials and therefore, it reduces the cost for transport - saving energy and creating less pollution in the process.
In honor of Earth Day we explore fashion designers around the world that give back and design with the environment in mind while delivering stylish basics and trendy essentials.
Recycling in the Fashion Industry
Fashion creators increasingly use recycled fabric for their creations these days, for e.g. Armani Jeans, Marks and Spencers use recycled polyester made out of recycled bottles. In fact, Armani Jeans have incorporated eco-friendly fabrics since the early 1990’s.
Levi’s, the leading brand who has been in the denim clothing industry since 1853, has taken serious measures to save water by using 100% recycled water and 21 different techniques. It estimated to save close to 50 billion liters of water by the year 2020. Levi focuses on being environment-friendly as well as works to raise the economic standard of farmers and improving labor around the world. Along with other organizations, Levi’s partners with third world countries to train farmers on how use less water to grow cotton and as well as work toward yielding more organic crops.
Ace designer, Stella McCartney, sets an example in the fashion industry for going green and is the first designer to embody sustainable fashion in her business. McCartney ensures that she makes only eco-friendly dresses that are made out of organic cotton, hemp, and recycled polyester.
McCartney designs her clothes in such a way that it does not go in landfills and damage the environment. Her stores, offices and studios are operated using 100 percent green energy and she is very vocal about not using any animal skin for the production of dresses or any other accessories. She also uses vegetarian leather and vegetable dyes and other eco-friendly products in her designs.
Anne Gorke is an authentic German fashion designer whom ensures all her dresses are eco-friendly - non-toxic, no animal skins and additive-free. She has her own label ANNE GORKE which was founded in the year 2012 and focuses on using organic materials that maintain high standard in the production.
Designers Stina Anderson and Gigi Renee embrace up-cycling fashion to create t-shirts, handbags or pants and say that recycling is their key foundation. They use pre-consumer and post-consumer waste or combine both to create their clothing and accessories. The duo also educates people on how to recycle or up-cycle by creating fashion out of waste.
Many high fashion designers and boutiques have begun to take cues from such eco-friendly designers like McCartney and Gorke. Since the early 2000s we have begun to see a rise in designers and fashion brands utilizing organic and recycled materials.
Various brands and stores are introducing sustainable fashion lines around the world. H&M a Swedish fashion retailer introduced clothes that are eco-friendly mid last year. This line features clothes made out of organic cotton, recycled polyester, and linens. They are the world's largest buyer of organic cotton and they ensure that the supplier produces the material made out of natural resources and fewer chemicals.
As part of their social awareness campaign, close to 1500 of their stores collect old clothes (that can be dropped in the store). They are then sorted accordingly; some go to charity, some turned into new clothes or up-cycled, others recycled. High end stores like H&M now encourage and carry green fashion.
It's not just fashion retailers and designer that are involved in the green trend. Many shoe makers have been eco-friendly for decades. For example, Timberland, has invested in ecological or environmental friendly products regularly. The company has been an eco-friendly shoes and work boots giant for more than 40 decades. It works alongside its vendors and manufacturers to focus on style and eco-friendly products that consume less water and use recycled plastic bottles for making laces and linings. Additionally, the soles are made out of recycled rubbers and the cotton used is organic.
Eco-friendly goals and influencers are not limited to fashion designers and apparel manufacturers. Big box stores Ikea and Walmart promote and sell eco-friendly and eco-fashion products, in many aspects. They administer educational programs to farmers about how to produce eco-friendly plants. Many of their products sold are vegan, that means no animal skin or products, silk, feather etc. One percent of the sales are given out as charity - to save animals and also empower women.
Giving back is no longer a simple trend but a tangible and realistic way of life. Through purpose and conviction you are easily able to protect the environment without compromising your style and fashion sense. First be sure to explore the fashion lines, brands, and stores we’ve mentioned here.
Next contribute to sustainability by recycling, restyling, upstyling, or re-fashioning your wardrobe regularly. Instead of shopping for a new pair of jeans every fall consider wearing your old pairs for a few more years. Embrace the power of donating as often as possible. You may also want to consider consignment shops so that you are able to earn and give back at the same time.
Here are few other pointers to help you get started in the eco-friendly fashion movement that continues to trend. Instead of looking for a new dress or outfits at the store remember that you are easily able to accomplish a new look as you use creativity to accessorize your way into a new one.
- Swap your existing clothes with your loved ones
- Opt to invest in clothes that are more oriented towards quality than quantity.
- Say NO to plastic bags. Stop using plastic bags for shopping; instead buy cloth or cotton shopping bags that are eco-friendly. Most of the supermarkets have almost dropped or stopped giveaways in plastic bags and generally charge the public to stop using them.
- Use recycled fabrics. If you are designer and wish to create clothes, go for fabrics such as the aforementioned recycled polyester.
- Use and search for unwanted factory rejects. These products will be thrown away otherwise.
- Customize clothing and give it a second life. There are a host of blogs, vlogs and videos dedicated to tutorials that give you an idea as to how to make “Do it Yourself” dress with eco-friendly products. Learn how to make a anything from plastic bags to clothes
- Utilize your created products or sell them for a profit.
- Buy and wear the clothes that are recycled or from the organic materials. A tag is always sealed to the clothes with a logo to make it clear.
There are many fashion designers who have started to incorporate recycled fabrics and up-cycled clothes into their fashion lines. It is always a good idea to join the trend and protect the environment for the next generation.
As eco-friendly fashion continues to be purchased and pursued many great opportunities begin to rise. Designers are inspired to make more eco-friendly clothing and retailers begin to stock and feature them. Awareness is key! Get involved with your local recycling center or eco-friendly fashion brand to join the movement today.
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