Fashion & Accessories

By Alyssa Morgan

In the past seven years, the fashion industry has seen a growing movement toward greater sustainable practices. The purpose of the new movement is to create a system within the fashion industry that can be maintained through social and environmentally responsible choices.

Many have criticized the industry, claiming eco-friendly practices have only been a trend in the fashion world. However, recent efforts say otherwise. Numerous fashion designers, more conscious of their choices, have begun to introduce sustainable methods through the utilization of environmentally friendly materials and socially responsible production processes. Stella McCartney is a prime example of a brand devoted to being a proponent of eco-friendly fashion. The brand has released multiple eco-friendly collections, with a children’s collection being the most recent. The collections use organic and recycled fabrics as well as low impact dyes; which reduces their carbon footprint. Pieces from the design houses eco collection are available at the Stella McCartney store, Saks Fifth Avenue, as well as online. http://www.stellamccartney.com http://www.saksfifthavenue.com/

Using recycled and organic fabrics as opposed to non-organic fabrics makes a substantial difference. Earth Pledge, a non-profit organization, reports, “At least 8,000 chemicals are used to turn raw materials into textiles and 25% of the world’s pesticides are used to grow non-organic cotton.” Whereas with recycled fabrics there is need to convert from a raw material to a textile because the material, fabric, metal, or fiber is already there; and organic fabrics do not use any pesticides or other toxic materials.

Importantly, different criteria exist for what constitutes sustainable fashion. This can range from vegan friendly to fair trade certified to even custom made couture fashion. The website eco fashion world explains this dilemma, and provides a glossary to navigate through the various criteria. For each criteria the website also provides brands and stores that cater to their principles. (http://www.ecofashionworld.com/Browse-By-Eco-Criteria.html)

Check out the brand Noir, a high fashion label, which is also eco-friendly and works to sustain ethically chic collections season after season. Available at http://www.noir.dk/. Various organizations are devoted to employing and promoting the principles of sustainability in fashion. Examples of such organizations include, Earth Pledge’s Future Fashion Campaign, Better Cotton Initiative, Above Magazine, and Fair Wear Foundation.

April 22nd is earth day, and as seen the fashion industry is making concerted efforts to be more eco-friendly. However the industry still has a long way to go until reliance on non-sustainable practices ends. As Earth Pledge, reported, “fashion uses more water than any industry other than agriculture.” These types of practices can only be halted through awareness, mainly consumer awareness; choose to make purchases that contribute to a cleaner, more equal, and healthier world! Check out the following websites for great sustainable fashion finds.

http://www.stellamccartney.com
http://www.saksfifthavenue.com/
http://www.bettercotton.org
http://www.earthpledge.org/ff
http://www.ecofashionworld.com/
http://www.above-magazine.com/
http://www.fairwear.nl

Originally published April 2011
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