Soft organic cotton T-shirts. Bamboo-based business attire. Versatile vests spun from recycled soda bottles. Raw silk scarves. Linen shirts, slacks, and dresses. Shoes carved out of cork and padded with refurbished rubber. From top to toe, our wardrobes are getting earth friendlier; they're becoming snazzier, too. I wouldn't be surprised if Mother Nature herself was inspired to accessorize her fig leaf with a charming little handbag hewn from hemp.
She's probably also starting to breathe a sigh of relief. The apparel industry has never been a friend of the earth, given its often toxic impact on our natural resources. Every dollar we spend on clothing and accessories to 'green' our wardrobe helps protect our air, water, wildlife, and wilderness. Of that, Mother Nature would approve.
Shopping for 'green' a la mode, does not require the sacrifice of personal style or personal finances. I never travel without my trendy sienna-colored hemp sweater because it fits me perfectly, doesn't wrinkle, and is easy to launder in a sink; I just wash it in a little hand soap and water, wring it out, and let it line dry. And guess what? It only cost $40. My organic t-shirts wear just as well as ones made from industrial cotton but are a lot softer. Plus, I get a kick out of the tongue-in-cheek messages on the shirts, like this one from Green Label Organics that takes Hummers to task.
The industry of sustainable clothing is expanding, providing you with a variety of trendy and affordable options. So choose 'green' this summer and dress your part.
American Apparel. Made in the United States and sweatshop free, American Apparel is notorious for providing customers with inexpensive basics like T-shirts, sweatshirts, light-weight sweaters, leggings, skirts, pants, shorts, bathing suits, and intimates. Their Organic Collection offers styles made from 100% USDA Certified Organic and pesticide-free cotton. The company also uses a low-impact dyeing process to eliminate chemical waste while recycling over a million pounds of fabric per year.
Jonano. Supplies modish designer fashions for women and babies made from certified organic cotton, bamboo, and hemp fabrics. Their clothing is manufactured using Fair Trade Labor practices, and they use natural dyes with a low environmental impact. Added bonus? Jonano also uses recycled packaging and shipping materials. (Bloom Double Sash Shirtdress made from Organic Bamboo in Citron Yellow pictured right).
Rawganique Clothing. This company offers a wide selection of women's and men's clothing made from hemp and organic cotton. Rawganique also carries a large collection of accessories ranging anywhere from organic jewelry, handbags and footwear to organic sheets and towels. This company provides it all, and all at a reasonable price.
Fashion & Earth. Here's another fair trade, sustainable and style conscious company. Fashion & Earth produces organic and eco-friendly clothing made from bamboo, organic cotton, hemp and soy. Their site is easy to browse, providing a large selection of chic tops, bottoms, skirts and dresses, jackets, intimates, and accessories. They also offer additional links to shop complete outfits, search green fashion guides, and read-up on why eco-friendly clothing matters. Get 10% off your first purchase.
Aventura Clothing. Manufactures beautiful and comfortable women's clothing made from organic cotton, bamboo, hemp, and recycled polyester. Aventura's clothing line includes halter tops, tank tops, blouses, jackets, bottoms (dresses, pants, shorts, skorts, capris), beachwear, bathing suits, and accessories. (Laken Bamboo Blend Dress pictured right).
Anvil Knitwear. Recently ranked the 6th largest organic program in the world by the Organic Exchange, Anvil supplies over 70 styles of men, women and children's clothing and accessories in 80 different colors, including 17 eco-friendly styles in fibers such as organic cotton, recycled cotton, transitional cotton (or cotton in conversion) and recycled polyester from PET bottles. Don't miss their TrackmyT.com website, which shows how a t-shirt gets made – and why sustainable manufacturing makes a difference.
The Greenloop. This eco-fashion shopping resource focuses primarily on sustainable apparel and accessories for women and men. Greenloop provides an abundant list of brands that employ a variety of responsible practices such as using eco-friendly, sustainable materials, and/or maximizing recycling and waste reduction. In addition to these practices, all companies listed on the Greenloop site engage in fair trade and sweat-shop free production. It's an excellent site that will help you find most of the best brands, styles, and 'green' clothing available.
Of course, before you buy new, think about shopping at vintage or thrift shops. And don't throw old clothes away! Make room for new eco-friendly fashionable finds by recycling your old-have-not-worn-in-two-years threads. To learn more, click here.
Also, be sure to check out Top Ten Ways to Green Your Wardrobe for other environmentally-friendly fashion ideas.