14 February 2008Features
The organic revolution and the growing global concern about the future health of our planet has forced many industries to change their business models. Most grocery stores, save the ones in remote locations, now have organic sections devoted to solely to products made without pesticides or hormones. Natural food grocery stores are popping up in number in every large- and mid-sized city across the country, and some organic scholars predict that most Americans will be eating only organic foods by 2023. Builders and architects are receiving incentives for constructing energy-efficient buildings and manufacturing companies like auto and petroleum makers, the biggest pollution culprits on the planet, are now mandated to cut their carbon emissions.So, it seems only logical that fashion and clothing makers would also make ecological strides. Organic clothing items are commonly found now on the Internet and on the racks in small boutiques and even large chains, like Whole Foods and, the Gap. And, to the delight of many fashion-forward consumers, these products are not all shapeless, beige sacks.
Some may wonder why purchasing organic clothing is important. Since a person doesn’t typically ingest their corduroys, the personal benefit of natural fiber T-shirts may not be readily apparent, and the societal benefit is often overlooked. Cotton is a crop. And non-organic cotton growers spray their yield with chemicals and pesticides the same as any other non-organic farmer. In fact, cotton is the most pesticide-intense crop in the world, using over 50 million pounds of pesticide per year in the U.S. alone. This chemical use is aiding in the rapid destruction of the environment and the deterioration of human health, as many scientific studies are finding.
Thankfully, your efforts to become more environmentally conscious with what you wear will be a little easier thanks to the many activists and fashion designers leading the way. Take for example, Shellie and Michael Lackman, who launched the Organic Clothing Blog in 2006. While this blog won’t give you too many external references to organic clothing makers (the authors have their own business), it will give you supremely in-depth coverage of all the issues surrounding the organic clothing industry. One fascinating article centers on Ayurvastra clothing, which is clothing with microcapsules embedded into the fabric that release scents and lotions that have healing benefits.
The Lackman’s also have their own organic clothing line called Lotus Organics, based in Fairfield, Iowa. While some of the items for sale are fairly standard, the sleek lines of the A-Line skirt and Swan Dress will please even the most high-maintenance fashionistas.
Jonano, a higher-end retail outlet, specializes in bamboo and hemp clothing, and sells fashionable items like the Rio Dress and the Lena Capri pant. Looking for some soft, well-cut T-shirts and hoodies? Try Bamboosa, a line made completely from bamboo fibers.
For social events, turn to Earth Speaks, a line that offers several cute dresses and blouses. For the hipper among us, check out Loomstate, a company that carries the matter-of-fact motto “Giving a shit is sexy,” for trendy bodily organics and jeans. (Loomstate doesn’t sell its wares online, but the website does have a store finder.)
Some of the most notable organic designers are the self-dubbed “organic pioneers” Stewart and Brown, two designers who left their posts at Patagonia to start a natural clothing line that is truly top-of-the-line in its attention to detail and fitting. Cycle through their collection to view their amazing dresses and sophisticated button-down shirts.
If you’re a jean freak, you’ll want to know about Del Forte Denim, an all-natural, fashionable jean line sold in boutiques. The company even started Project Rejeaneration, which encourages customers to send back used pairs of jeans to the company so they can incorporate the materials into their new products. If flowy skirts and ruffled accents are your thing, look to EcoGanik for beautiful designs and simple staples like the < a href=http://secure-shop.mykorazon.com/new/osc_backup/product_info.php?products_id=654> V-neck Pocket Dress.
Sweetgrass constructs their products from hemp and offers a line of mostly basics. But the styles are well fitted and chic. For an edgier look, try Mountains of the Moon, a higher-end design company with a sexier style. The Audrey Hemp Dress is one of the store’s signature items – at $78 it’s very reasonable. And without a doubt, the U.K.-based company Enamore is hemp made runway worthy. Known especially for their lingerie line, items like the Vintage Print Tulip Dress mark Enamore’s edgy style. For more basics, try Rawganique ,another all-hemp line that makes both women’s and men’s clothes.
One designer back from the 1980s with a new approach to fashion is Katharine Hamnett (you may recognize her “Choose Life” T-shirt from Wham’s “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” video). Hamnett is re-launching her revolutionary T-shirts, but this time it’s all natural. She now uses her online store to educate people about the dangers of living carelessly.
If you’re more of a mall shopper, you might want to tryThe Green Loop an Amazon-style website that allows you to peruse through several organic offerings from a diverse group of designers, like Habitude, Passenger Pigeon, and Emily Katz.
Wherever your shopping takes you, the most uplifting thing about the organic trend in the clothing industry is that it’s trickling down to the major chain retailers. Target is now selling organic clothing items and bedding; H&M recently released an organic collection and plans to continue doing so; and Levi Straussnow has organic jeans.
There’s a lot of good news coming from the ever-more-ecologically-progressive fashion industry. Keep up with all the trends and latest news with the following resources: The Sustainable Cotton Center, The Lazy Environmentalist, The Organic Trade Organization, and PAN Germany’s Directory for Organic Cotton.
Want to spread more environmental awareness? Wear your message on your sleeve! Customize your very own green design today!