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Sustainable Fashion

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Gina Garza
Sustainable Fashion
Sustainable fashion also known as ‘Green,’ has been successfully promoted in the past years to become the new black. This is a new trend that will hopefully prevail not only for a season but also for years. If people keep supporting it, it could possibly prevail forever. As technology has developed the planet Earth has been deteriorating slowly. This new concept supports and promotes the idea for people to be environmentally conscious. The idea is to care for the place where we humans live.
Green is now everywhere. When you go to the market to buy groceries you can find that there is sustainable packaging that will integrate to the planet after its use. Now people take their own cloth bags to carry the products that they purchase so they don’t use plastic bags. This has become a fashion as well. To be more environmental friendly, why not use sustainable clothes? Clothes are one of the major necessities that a human may have. People can look fashionable, in style, and support the planet at the same time.
The nonprofit Sustainable Technology Education Project (STEP) defines eco-fashions as clothes “that take into account the environment, the health of consumers and the working conditions of people in the fashion industry” (West). Sustainable fashion is designed to be completely environmental friendly. This whole movement complements a larger trend of "ethical fashion," and according to the May 2007 Vogue appears not to be a short-term trend but one that could last multiple seasons (Sustainable Fashion). Environmentally friendly fashion has increased its popularity in the past decade. This idea has entered the market segment and has have quite success since top designers support it. Top designers have been working and experiencing with new ideas that are involved with sustainable fashion. Designers have been incorporating into their lines materials that are considered healthy for the planet and for people as well. Many designers have elaborated their ‘houte couture’ designs in eco-friendly materials. They have created luxurious lines with this type of materials. Designers are getting big on using eco-friendly materials in their ready-to-wear lines and even in accessories such as jewelry, sunglasses, bags, and shoes.
Most designers such as Gucci, Balenciaga, Prada, Burberry, Yves Saint Laurent, Marc Jacobs, Manolo Blahnik, Oscar de la Renta, Stella McCartney, Jason Wu, Alexander Wang, Diane von Furstenberg, Tory Burch, Derek Lam, Notte by Marchesa, Marni, Michael Kors, Rachel Roy, Rag & Bone, Thakoon, Osklen, Pringle of Scotland, Timex80, Aurora Lopez-Mejia, Tabitha Simmons, Kara Ross, Sergio Rossi, Alexander McQueen and Tommy Hilfiger (Andrew), have joined the new 2011 famous organization called “Runway to Green.” They have planned and done events as runways and trunk shows, where their main element is ‘sustainability.’ They consider this idea an exceptional way to influence shopper’s choices by creating stylish designs that they will love and purchase, and at the same time minding that they are getting an eco-friendly product. This new initiative portraits a much more innovative and stronger idea of past events that were held to support sustainability. For example, in 2005 designer Richie Rich was interviewed after he participated with some of his designs in the fashion show named Future Fashion, where sustainable fashion was officially called “eco-fashion.”
It’s definitely something we’re going to continue toying with, Richie told reporters. People often perceive the fashion world as superficial, so it’s great to work with materials that are actually good for the environment. I had my doubts, but when we actually saw the fabric swatches we were blown away. They were gorgeous, and it wasn't hard to design with them. (West)

Retail stores have been incorporating eco-friendly fashion products and activities. They produce eco-friendly events such as fashion shows, promotions, demonstrations, etc, to make sustainable merchandise relevant to shoppers during their experience in the store. High and middle scale stores are becoming very engage with this movement. Stores such as Barneys NY, Macys, Saks Fifth Avenue, Anthropologie, Urban Outfitters, Free People, etc, support eco-friendly fashion in their own original way.
Anthropologie is very famous and recognized by many for promoting and selling sustainable fashions. This store is known for selling natural women’s apparel and home décor. Antropologie has a very strong involvement with sustainability. Every activity and situation done within the store itself is related with sustainability such as the clothes and goods they sell, including their window displays. They sell books promoting and teaching people on ways to support and live eco-friendly. Some of those books are: Living Green: A Practical Guide To Simple Sustainability by Greg Horn, and Architecture Of Change: Sustainability and Humanity in the Built Environment (Anthropologie). This past April 2011, they partnered with an association to support Earth Day. They showed support with store displays in all of their locations.
International fashion retailer Anthropologie and the Salem-based Cork Forest Conservation Alliance today announced a joint initiative in all 153 Anthropologie stores in the United States and the United Kingdom to increase awareness and promote the preservation of Mediterranean cork forests. "We are honored that for the first time in Anthropologie’s history they have devoted window display space to a partner organization, philanthropic or otherwise," said CFCA Executive Director Patrick Spencer. (Williams)

Another way that store’s promote and support sustainable fashion is via online. Stores have their own specialize website in eco-friendly. There are many eco-friendly online stores directory’s, where people can search and find eco-friendly boutiques and retail stores. For example, they can go into greenrechen.com, click on for eco-friendly shopping and find a variety of boutiques in alphabetical order that sell sustainable fashion. There are many of this directories another good website, for example, is fairgreentrade.com.
“Eco friendly fashion websites are popping up faster than you can say, “Green is Gorgeous.” We give accolades to the sites that are not only picking some of our favorite designers, but also are appealing and easy to navigate” (Pollare). Shoppers are starting to get more involve with this movement and are getting more engage with it. People try to make the best decision when they buy a good. And suddenly they are more searching for this type of merchandise. Retail stores try to facilitate things for their customers and started to create online stores. A very luxurious retail store that has its own eco-friendly website with a motto that says ‘home of eco-smart style’ is Saks Fifth Avenue.
SAKS GREEN HOUSE, the new kid on the green block but certainly not new to upscale retailing, is Saks Fifth Avenue’s Greenhouse. They’ve done a very nice job of starting basic with a few great brands, like Beau Soleil, Song, and EDUN in the clothing category. They also have men’s clothing and a couple of natural skin care products. We love the jewelry, made of recycled metals, from Alex and Ani. (Pollare)

Stores are also supporting sustainability in their whole retailing environment. They are replacing old fixtures, hangers, and bags, for new ones made from sustainable materials. “Macy’s Inc., seeking to operate more sustainably and keep the planet cleaner, this fall will start using matte black hangers made from recycled plastics for most apparel sold in its stores, replacing 300 million clear petroleum-based plastic hangers it uses each year” (Moin). This process will take about a year but the store has done a big initiative to support the cause. Macy’s and Sears have planned to replace in their department stores incandescent lamps for LED light bulbs (LED Replacement Lamps 4). This LED bulbs will act eco-friendly by saving energy. This recent news is everywhere and people seemed to like it, they feel proud that big department stores chains are becoming environmentally conscious.
The term ‘global warming’ is attached to humans none environmental friendly activities. With at least 90 percent certainty that human activities since 1750 had warmed the planet (Weeks). As the Green movement gets more and more popular people start to get interested in it, and learn what it is all about. It is about the environmental issues that are caused by we humans (West) (Williams)and that can be resolved by us as well. It is now easy for consumers to get to ‘green’ products, which is the greatest beneficial action. Being eco-friendly will increase the benefits for the environment. If we are conscious of what we purchase and prefer sustainable clothes the benefits for the environment are considerable and will make a complete change. For example, with a reduced use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and synthetics, there will be less pollution to the soil and water. With more efficient manufacturing, there will be less contamination to all the elements. By using recycled, and sustainable materials, the creation of clothing, even the hottest styles, will have less of an impact on the Earth (Stone, Malberg). If we start to adapt small changes to our lives, hopefully everyone wins with eco-friendly fashion, and these techniques will be more than a trend.
This clothes won’t just benefit the earth in the long-term but also the consumer using them. Believe it or not conventional clothing dyes and garment finishes can cause a wide variety of health problems from skin rashes, headaches, nausea and fatigue. Symptoms could include red cheeks and ears, dark circles under the eye and learning or behavior problems (Seth). This idea also enforces social labor and ethical labor practices, involving “issues of fair wages for workers, fair prices for farmers, child labor, slave labor, the right to organize for workers, and appropriate, healthy, non-exploitive working conditions have all come into the spotlight” (Lipson 9) all over the world. People in manufacturers will have the protection to not overwork. Other creatures that get benefits are animals; this clothes don’t use animal skins, or any material that will harm any animal. Besides organic-made clothes will last longer than chemical-made clothes. You don’t have to take special care when washing them because they are very resistant.
And while conservation has long been associated with sacrifices, such as driving smaller cars and turning down the heat, today some advocates argue that a comfortable lifestyle can be eco-friendly. The key, they say, is “buying green” — choosing products designed to reduce pollution, waste and other harmful impacts. (Weeks par. 3)

All of these benefits whether you think consciously about health, plants, soil, animals, etc, should be consider when shopping for clothes. Don’t you feel guilty to wear the most recent trend knowing that you are harming the environment? The guilt won’t lead you to much happiness. You can get that same trend with eco-friendly materials, because now designers are producing more and more designs with bamboo, organic cotton, hemp, recycled and vintage clothes, and many other sustainable materials. You don’t have to sacrifice style at all, besides you could get classic trends that you know will last longer and ware them for years. Eco-friendly fashions should start joining you closet soon.
When people think about eco-friendly clothes they immediately link this idea to very hippie or indie styles. The truth is that there are a variety of stores that sale eco-friendly clothes for every type of person. Eco-friendly fashion is not related with lack of style. Whether you like to dress casual, semi-formal, or formal. As they vary in style, they also vary in price of course. You can find very affordable eco-friendly clothes and find clothes that are more expensive, but this has always been the same with every type of clothes. An example of some eco-friendly brands that are very affordable and that sell the latest trends are H&M, American Apparel, Levis, Old Navy, Banana Republic, Guess and JC Penney. “The consumer searching for a sustainable wardrobe will not find all items, and certainly not all price points, under one roof” (Lipson 12). The consumer has to go to different markets and search for the proper product for them. Consumers can start their eco-friendly wardrobe with basic garments such as jeans, t-shirt, underwear, sports wear, and baby clothes. Materials used to achieve this sustainable apparel are many. Designer and manufacturers don’t restrict themselves because they have a moderate range of materials from where to decide what to use. This helps designers to make garments more trendy and to keep up with the latest fashion outcomes. They achieve different textures, silhouettes, colors, and moods. Consumers like the approach of this new trend keeping up with fashion, but they like that ‘green’ is the new trend, which designers have to encourage themselves to work with it.
In the past few years, designers with an interest in sustainability have graduated from organic cotton to a family of fabrics that includes: organic cotton, organic wool, organic linen, bamboo, some types of silk, synthetics made from soy, corn, and recycled plastics, fabrics made from recycled waste fabrics or old clothing, sustainably tanned leathers from organic animals, and Tencel (a brand name for lyocell, a man-made fiber). Some fabrics have a stronger claim to limited environmental impact than others. (Lipson 3)

All of this organic material’s require a different process and all of them have to be approve by different standards to be considered organic. This means that the fabric to construct the garment is approved, though not the whole garment. After its construction is finalize it has to be analyze with different standards. A standard organization that has gain visibility and acceptance through the years is Global Organic Textile Standards (GOTS). This standards wisely demand no use of toxic synthetic pesticides, fertilizers, herbicides, no genetic modifications, no irradiation, no use of sewage sludge as fertilizer, no antibiotics or hormones given to livestock, access to pasture for livestock, audited farm plans and independent third-party certification (Lipson 3-4). It is overwhelming the different standards that support this cause. Specialist achieve more and more knowledge on this process to support and analyze cases. Farmers who produce this type of materials have to demonstrate that they are doing things right. This helps to improve and verify the whole process of production and will give a good start to this clothes. The cost of production for sustainable material is higher. The material requires more care and special treatments, since it does not use any chemicals to improves its desired appearance or quality. Besides the care of the environment where it is produce requires extra procedures. This steps require a high level of intellectual and capital assistance to be achieve. For example, facilities still use large amounts of water (Lipson 17). Every small aspect increases the cost of production. An amount of big companies that are changing their production and market products has widely increased. These large companies involve ethical and conventional manufacturing procedures in their whole environment. Stores that have adopted organic programs are: Wal-Mart/Sam’s Club, Nike, American Apparel, Urban Outfitters, Woolworth’s South Africa, Coop Switzerland, and C&A. “These users accounted for almost half of organic cotton fiber use. Other companies converting part of their production to organic/sustainable fibers include Levi Strauss, Eileen Fisher, Marks & Spencer, Nordstrom, Barney’s, and REI” (Lipson). Having these influencing markets as part of the green movement will definitely pull more people to mind about the movement as well. Having a wide range of their products eco-friendly and specially selling organic apparel will be part of an easier shopping experience for consumers. As they increase their organic products their popularity in the green market will increase. Green is dominating upon all it has prevailed for years though it was not as popular as it is now. Big companies are incorporating this merchandise because more shoppers are starting to ask for it. It also makes them gain an exceptional environmental friendly reputation, that will enthusiast most consumers.
Despite the high cost, eco friendly clothing is getting a lot of attention, especially from celebrities such as Stella McCartney, Rogan Gregory, Peter Ingwersen, Ali Hewson, Bono, and Summer Rayne Oakes who have recently drawn attention to eco friendly fashion. Other celebrities that have been associated with eco friendly fashion include Natalie Portman, Cameron Diaz, Alicia Silverstone, Adrian Grenier, Jennifer Aniston, and Salma Hayek. Portland Fashion Week, which has showcased earth friendly fashion since 2005, has gained international attention for its efforts to showcase 100% eco friendly designs (Reilly). There is a large mass of public who support eco-friendly fashion. This mass of people does not only involve any kind of people, but also celebrities. Celebrities following and supporting this movement will increment followers as well. This idea gets into everyone’s mind and there is no great disadvantage that will stop someone from supporting it. Because even though eco-friendly clothes cost more, in the long run the benefits will show. “Mental fashion is becoming more and more popular, especially since this week’s Runway to Green event, which saw celebrities such as Diane Kruger, Nicki Minaj, and Jason Wu in attendance and showing their support for eco friendly fashion” (Andrew). There are celebrities as well who have design there own eco-friendly line as Stella McCartney, Selena Gomez, and the famous band U2, etc. "Trade can and should supersede aid," says Ali Hewson, whose label, Edun—founded with her husband, U2's Bono, and designer Rogan Gregory—has a growing reputation for top quality, offhand cool, and eco-ethical practices: Its aim, she says, is to "lift communities out of poverty" (Gregory, who has an eco-friendly line with Barneys New York, also has a green line for Target debuting in May.)” (The Oprah Magazine 1). Bono has become a very famous brand with distinguish designs. This brand has been search by many, especially by the bands fans. As well as Rogan Gregory and his wife Ali Hewson as founders this brand is also supported by the rest of the band members. High-end brands as Gucci, YVS, Marc Jacobs, Versace, etc. have created certain items of their designs that are totally eco-friendly. An example is Gucci’s sunglasses. They created a line fully manufactured with sustainable materials. They are associated with the famous company Safilo, who is as well associated with other high-end designers to produce sunglasses. This idea incorporates already two big companies that will portrait that luxury can also be sustainable and healthy for the planet. They will let know that there brand is fully going green.
Gucci and Safilo are one step closer to making the planet a better place. Besides working to develop a prototype made from an alternative to plastic, in August the two companies will introduce four eyewear styles made from eco-sustainable materials that break new ground in the fashion eyewear sector. (Ilari)

As most brands are becoming sustainable in different ways, people are starting to get in their minds that this idea has become big. Other designers are also doing sustainable items as YVS who did a limited edition hobo bag with eco-friendly material. This bag was a big success for the company and for the planet. People love fashion. Designer and celebrities are a tremendous support for this cause, which people will eventually follow as they will notice famous are doing it as well. If green is a trend that will no go away, people are going start looking more and more for it.
People’s reaction to support this movement has increased slowly, but continuous in its acceptance phase. But even though, there has been an increase in popularity who support this movement. “According to the annual Green Brands Survey, U.S. consumers spend about $500 billion on environmentally friendly products and services in 2008”(Weeks par. 6). Researchers who have analyzed consumers purchasing this items, have notice that people are eventually minding about there purchases and but eco-friendly products. This movement has existed for two decades, but hadn’t gained much popularity as now. Hopefully this movement will prevail for several more decades.
Sustainable fashion has become popular and promoted by different sources. It has been supported by designers, artist, actors, and many big companies, as well as a great part of the worlds population. This trend will hopefully prevail through the years and still be fashionable. Green is becoming a permanent trend, considered as so “chic.” And as the Green movement becomes more popular, more people and stores are committing to it. This idea has a tremendous cause that will benefit every single living kingdom. How will you support Green Fashion?

Andrew, Ian. Diane Kruger, Nicki Minaj, and other Celebrities Attend Eco Fashion 'Runway to Green' Event. 31 March 2011. 10 June 2011 <http://www.greenerideal.com/lifestyle/entertainment/8722-diane-kruger-nicki-minaj-and-other-celebrities-attend-runway-to-green>.

Anthropologie. 10 June 2011 <http://www.anthropologie.com/anthro/catalog/productdetail.jsp?id=770644&navAction=jump&navCount=106>.

ILARI, ALESSANDRA. Gucci to Launch Eco-Friendly Eyewear. 26 May 2011. Women's Wear Daily. 26 May 2011 <http://www.wwd.com/markets-news/gucci-to-launch-eco-friendly-eyewear-3628741>.

LED Replacement Lamps: Sears, Macy’s, Japan market, LSG, legislatiion. 8 June 2011. 10 June 2011 <http://vast-led.com/show.asp?ArticleID=162>.
Lipson, Elaine. International Market for Sustainable Apparel. Ed. Cathy Minkler. Tatjana Meerman, 2008.

Moin, David. Macy's to Go Green With Eco-Friendly Hangers. 25 April 2011. WWDRETAIL. 9 June 2011 <url=_retail_news_macys_to_go_green_with_eco_friendly_hangers_3591509; login=n; kw=; >.

Pollaire, Carrie. OUR TOP 10 WOMEN'S ECO FASHION SHOPPING WEBSITES. 10 June 2011 <http://www.whiteapricot.com/fab_finds/rm_top_multi_line_sites.php>.

Reilly, Erin. Eco Friendly Fashion. 12 May 2010. 9 June 2011 <http://greenhomeauthority.com/eco-friendly-fashion/>.

Seth, Lisa. Eco-Friendly Fashion Trends 2010. 6 May 2011. 10 June 2011 <http://numblue.co.cc/554-eco-friendly-fashion-trends-2010.html>.

Stone, B. The Benefits of Eco-Friendly Fashion Techniques and Styles . Ed. Sarah Malberg. 29 April 2010. 10 June 2011 <The Benefits of Eco-Friendly Fashion Techniques and Styles Read more: http://www.brighthub.com/environment/green-living/articles/70046.aspx#ixzz1PRVROkvX >.

The Oprah Magazine. Green Is the New Chic. March 2008. Oprah. 16 June 2011 <http://www.oprah.com/style/Eco-Friendly-Fashion-and-a-Glossary-of-Environmental-Terms>.

West, Larry. Why is Eco-Fashion So Hot? 5 June 2011 <http://environment.about.com/od/earthtalkcolumns/a/ecofashion.htm>.
Williams, Christina. Anthropologie partners with Oregon group to save cork forests. 5 April 2011. 5 June 2011 <http://www.sustainablebusinessoregon.com/articles/2011/04/anthropologie-partners-with-oregon.html>.

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