Friday, February 18, 2011

From Rubbish to Organic Clothes: Sustainable Fashions

By Courtney Leiva

From appliances to makeup, going green is ‘in’. And fashionistas have taken up the cause.

By incorporating environmentally friendly fashion into top designs, retailers are giving recycle, reuse, and reduce a whole new look.

What is Sustainable Fashion?

But being in vogue can impact the environment. FutureFashion, a division of the Earth pledge organization which aims to promote environmental awareness, reports that about 8,000 chemicals are used for the production of raw materials, textiles, and non organic cottons.

But there is a way that everyday consumers can help to reverse fashion’s negative impact. At White Apricot Online Magazine, a magazine developed on eco-friendly clothes and fashion editor, Carrie Pollare, argues that the solution is sustainable fashion.

“Sustainable fashion is anything that benefits the planet. That means recycling materials from other products into new products. We have one handbag designer who literally buys old auto upholstery and makes it into handbags,” Pollare said in an email.

“There are all kinds of interesting recycled clothes and accessorizes. Gold and silver are often recycled to make new jewelry. Even plastic bottles are being recycled into t-shirt materials. Other fabrics used in sustainable clothing are things like organic cotton, hemp, bamboo, and soy. It’s sustainable because it is grown without pesticides and other chemicals so it’s healthier for us and for the earth,” Pollare added.

NJ’s Green Fashion

Even in New Jersey, retailers are even taking the greener approach. In Sparta, N.J., Wendi Lawlor called this approach, Rubbish.

“Rubbish started a year and a half ago with jewelry. Since I worked with old recycled parts, I came up with the name Rubbish. At the store, we try to incorporate green ideas by carrying fair trade and organic products including fair trade scarves,” said Lawlor owner of Rubbish Boutique in Sparta N.J. At Rubbish boutique, Lawlor tries to incorporate the green message whenever she can.

“For starters, we make sure the companies we buy from are eco-friendly and recycle. We use antiques, fair trade, and mostly green products. The bags we have in the store are made from plastic pill bottles as well as shampoo bottles. Recycled bags are great because they are a reusable staple, because it helps alleviate the environmental impact. We even use recycled paper products such as newspaper to stuff our gift bags. My jewelry actually comes from recycled skateboards,” Lawlor explained

Since Rubbish’s closure last year, the store has moved to California where Lawlor hopes to find more business.

Why Green?

From recycled jewelry to tire-made handbags are there truly any benefits to green fashion?

By switching to more sustainable clothing made from organic cotton, consumers can stop the overuse of water as well as stop human and environmental exposure to human pesticides.

Pesticides and insecticides used in cotton production have greatly destroyed ecosystems and wildlife.

Although the transition won’t be an easy one, Lawlor argues that a greener future is a more fashionable one. “For some, the green message of recycling comes across as preaching and people don’t want to be lectured. People also tend to think of eco-friendly fashion with Hippie style too. At Rubbish, we tried to change that by making cool trendy clothes so you are not being preached to and you can still look cool,” Lawlor said.

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