Beacon Features: Green fashion hits the runways

By Margot Bevanda
Contributing Writer

Fashion has always been a major influence on people’s lives. Who doesn’t love fashion? Personal style is a characteristic all individuals live by every day to feel comfortable and fabulous.

Throughout the years, fashion has changed in many different ways, and due to the ongoing concern of keeping our planet safe, the trend of “going green” has taken a whole new meaning within the fashion industry.

“Designers, manufacturers, growers, retailers and consumers of clothing recognize the enormous global consequences of conventional clothing industry practices and the force of change is gaining momentum,” said an article on www.greenlivingideas.com. “Earth-friendly fashion made from alternative materials is on its way to the ‘in crowd.’”

Food and other items derived from raw materials are considered organic. According to the article, this kind of clothing is made from certified organic fibers which allows the wearer to connect to the agricultural processes that brought the fibers into existence. This process reduces damage to the environment and improves life’s quality for the animals and workers involved. Another process used by eco-friendly manufacturers is dyeing that is safe for the environment.

Fashion industries produce this clothing to help us make healthier choices to better ourselves and the world. Green clothing is merchandise that is used for all occasions and is just as stylish and fashionable as the non-organic clothing. Some examples include hats, shoes, jackets, lingerie and jeans.

The organic materials used are natural color clothing, which is the healthiest and most eco-friendly. It includes natural color wools, alpaca and color-grown cottons without the use of dyes. The following are organic materials that the fashion industry has popularized:

• Clay-dyeing is a process consisting of a blend of minerals and irons found within the clay. Low-impact fiber-reactive dyes is the most widely used in the organic manufacturing industry due to the variety of color available.
• Organic cotton is used and grown without chemical fertilizers or pesticides. Organic growing supports biodiversity while improving soil quality.
• Bamboo fabric is very strong and actually kills odor-causing bacteria that lives on our skin. Bamboo is a renewable source and is easy to grow without the use of chemicals.
• Eco Spun is a fiber made from recycled plastic bottles. The fleece is soft, lightweight, strong and weather resistant. It is not only used for clothing, but for home furnishings.
• Linen is used in drapes and is blended in with many other fabrics.
• Soy fabric is made through a process using a by-product that is also used to make tofu. The quality is of soft cashmere, extremely comfortable and great for the environment.
• The last materials are hemp, tencel – which is cool like linen and warm as wool – and wool that is harvested without harm to its source.

Jewelry, like clothing, can also be organic. The Andean Collection’s fall 2009 jewelry line has used seeds such as açai, jabon, tagua (vegetable ivory) and huayruro to create gorgeous-everyday jewelry.

The first green urban clothing brand called BrooklynNYC produced organic clothing and continues to manufacture clothing with recyclable materials. Other retail stores that are producing green clothing include Under the Canopy, Starting Green, Spun, Renu Yoga and many more.

For the online shopper Archive Vintage, Beklina, Camille Boutique, DeviDoll and Fashion Ethic are recommended online stores. Set aside from others, http://www.efw.com is an excellent Web site that provides all the knowledge ranging from the brands, stores and designers.

This benefits the end consumer on making the final purchase decision.

Two important designers who produce organic clothing are Milena Hamaní from Brazil and English designer Katharine Hamnett. In fact, Hamnett is one of the first designers in Europe to experiment with organic cotton.She has made it her mission to rid the dependence on unsafe fabrics and continues efforts to develop more uses of environmentally friendly fabrics.

Unfortunately, the downfall to organic and green clothing is that it is very expensive. Organic plants in general are costly to grow without the use of environmentally harmful products. On the positive side, you’re bettering your health and the world you live in by supporting a growing new move which has caused a turnaround in the fashion industry.

To get involved and learn more about eco-friendly clothing, you can visit top Web sites including www.ecofashionworld.com and www.whiteapricot.com.

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