What's New In Eco Friendly
Alternative clothing or eco fashion is not something you think of on the fashion runways in New York or Paris. up until recently it hasn't seemed like a very likely combination.
Who would have thought that designs from bamboo, hemp, soy and organic cotton would make their way to high fashion runways? But that's exactly what's happening.
Some designers have begun to question common practices in fashion design and creation, where clothes are frequently made by people in "sweat shop" conditions,
making poverty wages, and using fabrics made from crops that have been heavily treated with pesticides and chemicals and processed with even more chemicals.
It's hard to make the connection between these kinds of conditions
and the beautiful clothing that we buy.
Some designers and manufacturers are beginning to come to the same conclusion. They are looking toward creating fashions where sweatshop free, fair trade and concerns for the environment go hand in hand.
They have begun experimenting with fabrics that have been thought of as alternative clothing.
It's a promising new direction. But it's going to be a challenge because let's face it, alternative clothing has not had the reputation of being particularly fashionable.
If we think about organic clothing it's easy to get an image in our heads of what it looks like and it's not high fashion. The alternative clothing of the past had a style of it's own but did not offer much variety.
There are many small companies that are successfully creating stylish alternatives
to conventionally created fashion. A good beginning but to really make a change in how clothing is created
we need large companies to make concerns for ethical and earth friendly clothing a priority.
Eco friendly fabrics present a company with obstacles to overcome. It can be difficult to find a good reliable supply at an affordable price. Some companies have had to develop their own supply chain
by working with local farmers to grow the crops they need.
This also helps provide security and motivation to the organic grower knowing they have a dependable market for their crops. Then there is the cost. But as with most other things if we increase demand, the prices will begin to come down.
The question is can designers and manufacturers convince us to see alternative clothing or eco-fashion as something that can be fashionable, even glamorous, feels good to wear and is something we can afford.
has not always been the soft, easy to care for fabric it is today. This fabric seems to be the most popular eco-fabric being used and is turning up on everything from underwear to jeans.
I think many of us would be surprised by the feel, softness and versatility of other eco-friendly fabrics like hemp,
which are just beginning to be seen on the market. They are being used to create beautiful designs in clothing we can live with.
There are even some man made materials like Tencel
that we might consider for our clothing purchases while not organic are being created with concern for the environment. Maybe not a perfect choice but offers improvements over conventionally grown cotton.
Hopefully, as these fabrics become more accessible we will begin to see alternative clothing in big name stores. Already large companies like Nike, Patagonia and American Apparel are adding organic cotton to their clothing lines and that's just a start.
Doing our part
It's up to us to find out how our clothing is made and what it is made of. We can already find a wonderful selection of clothing that is being made with concern for workers, growers and the environment. It may take a little looking but it's out there and I think you will be surprised at the beautiful styles and ease of care of these new fabrics.
I am hoping alternative clothing will be more than just the next fashion trend. I'd like to see organic cotton, bamboo or hemp be the fabrics of choice when designers set out to create the next seasons new designs.
But it's up to us to make sure that it is more than just a trend. We can make a conscious effort to support companies that are creating new designs in eco clothing.