Organic crops and recycled materials latest in fashion

Soy and corn not just for food

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Paper Bead Bracelet

From Haute Couture to street style, fashion is going green this fall.

For years, terms like “environmentally -friendly clothing” made us picture hippies wearing hemp ponchos, defending their “odd smell” by insisting on its environmental advantages.

Previously, the only interest we had in Birkenstocks and multicoloured hemp fashions was whether or not we could smoke them, but times have changed.

Now we are seeing items like organic cotton jeans, soy dresses, which look and feel like cashmere, and various bamboo garments.

The methods used to make eco-friendly clothing are taking a turn for the better. Companies are using non-toxic dyes and reusing vintage items to round out this season’s styles.

Using organic cotton, soy, milk, corn, and bamboo as fabric means that instead of using man-made materials that require harmful chemicals, clothes are developed through pesticide and fertilizer-free technique.

However, supporting this environmental trend doesn’t mean abandoning your own personal style. As awareness grows about environmental sustainability, the fashion industry is making eco-friendly fashion more accessible and attractive.

Organic cotton, for example, which is one of the most popular eco-friendly materials, is gentler on the earth due to its preservation of biodiversity and air quality. The growth of organic cotton fortifies the soil and helps prevent erosion.

A variety of labels and designers are offering eco-fashionable items that are bound to make the fashion-savvy salivate.

Bazura Bags are made from recycled materials like foil juice boxes, movie ads, and other billboard materials. Each Bazura Bag is one-of-a-kind.

Even Nike is doing its part to preserve the environment with its new shoe line, Considered; these shoes are made without any adhesives and use materials found near Nike’s factories. While the product can be recycled quite easily, these shoes aren’t completely environmentally friendly, but for Nike, it’s a start.

Last spring, H&M introduced a small collection of organic cotton pieces. The line was so successful that this fall it’s offering everything from undergarments to outerwear that sport an easy-to-identify tag indicating they’re part of its organic collection.

H&M’s head of design Margareta van den Bosch says, “Naturally our customers are concerned about the environment, but it’s also important that garments are up-to-the-minute trend wise.”

Last August, Roots opened a new concept store in Toronto that offers products for the eco-conscious consumer. The store sells organic apparel made of cotton or hemp, vegetable-tanned leather, and linens made from bamboo fibres. Even the floors are made of bamboo.

Environmentally conscious fashion doesn’t stop there. Typing “eco-friendly fashion” into an Internet search engine will yield hundreds of fashion alternatives.

Whether fashion concerns you everyday or you only think about it when your favourite jeans rip, the environment should be everyone’s concern. By supporting eco-friendly styles we all do our part in helping sustain the environment.

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