Read these 7 Green Clothing and Fashion Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Green Living tips and hundreds of other topics.
Hemp clothing is ethically and ecologically manufactured. Hemp is a very eco-friendly crop because it is grown without the use of pesticides, herbicides or other chemicals. Hemp clothing comes from the Cannabis sativa plant. Cannabis is a rapidly growing plant that is not particular about where it is grown and does not require large amounts of water. Because of its rapid rate of growth, hemp is a rapidly renewable resource. In one acre hemp can grow more fiber than an acre of trees plus up to three crops per year can be gathered from that one acre of land. In addition to being a great source of fabric for clothing, hemp is used for fuel, fiber, paper and medicine. Hemp clothing is weather resistant. It is UV and mold-resistant as well. Until the 1920's over eighty percent of textiles were made from hemp. Hemp is easy to blend with other fabrics such as silk and cotton. Hemp clothing, which is made from natural fibers, gets softer with each washing. Natural fibers feel good against the skin and breath better than synthetic clothing. When you purchase hemp clothing you are buying something that was sustainably grown and can be renewed. Because hemp clothing is stronger it is likely to last longer and wear better than its synthetic counterpart. Hemp clothing is fashionable and no longer has a hippy stigmata associated with it. The next time you are in the market for new clothes, check out the latest in hemp clothing or footwear.
Green clothing is designed to use organic and recycled materials, less packaging and more energy-efficient manufacturing. Eco friendly clothing or green clothing as it is called is hot. Consumers are becoming more conscious of what they are buying and demanding green clothing. For some time green clothing has been a staple for outdoor clothing, however it was overlooked by the fashion industry. Lately the fashion industry has caught on and now green clothing can be seen on Runways and in stores including designer boutiques. Organic cotton, bamboo, hemp and soy are quickly replacing traditional fabrics such as conventional cotton, in part because the new fibers are fast growing and environmentally friendly. Other new fibers include corn and coconut shells. Of course the greenest garments are ones you already own. If you decide to get rid of them in favor of organic clothing, donate them to a local charity. There are people out there who would be happy to have your older clothes and at least you would not be contributing to the local landfill. When buying new clothes look for ones that can be washed in cold water and line dried. One of the biggest eco burdens from clothing is the washing process. When buying new clothes instead of choosing styles that are fashionable, choose styles that are classic because the more use you can get out of an item the greener it is. Instead of buying new, try thrift stores. Remember being green includes recycling and that means clothing too.
Choosing organic clothing does a lot for the environment, not to mention what it does for your personal health. The fabric that organic clothing is made from are fibers that were grown or raised without herbicides, pesticides or other chemicals. Growing fibers or raising fiber animals in this fashion leads to sustainable, earth friendly farming practices. Organic clothing sales are on the increase and have been for several years. Organic clothing manufacturers are striving to make their clothing more fashionable so it appeals to a wider variety of people. Organic clothing is also available in more places from discount department stores to high end clothing stores. One of the problems clothing manufacturers are facing when it comes to mass producing organic clothing is a large supply of organic fabric in a range of colors. Many larger companies are expanding their product line to include organic clothing in order to make their companies more environmentally friendly despite the minor hurdles they are facing. Organic clothing is also healthier to wear. When you consider the chemicals that go into standard fabric production, the chemicals used to color the fabric plus the chemicals that are used to make the fabrics stiff, you begin to understand that this build-up of chemicals used in the manufacturing process of clothing has to go somewhere. Even when the clothing has been washed the chemical residue still remains. While there is no USDA evidence that organic clothing is healthier to wear the fact that many people with chemical sensitivities can wear it as well as the fact that organic clothing is not saturated with chemicals is enough evidence for many people.
Parents who want the best for their babies are going green. From organic baby food to organic bedding and organic baby clothes, parents are choosing items that are environmentally friendly and healthier for their babies. Conventional cotton has been exposed to pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, fertilizers, dyes or chlorine as well as a slew of other chemicals. Cotton is one of the most chemically dependant crops and is extremely hard on the environment. Traditional grown cotton accounts for twenty-five percent of the world's pesticide use. In the United States alone this comes to a total of fifty million pounds of pesticides. One traditional cotton t-shirt made with conventional cotton uses a quarter pound of chemicals and a single pair of jeans uses three-quarters of a pound of chemicals. Over twenty thousand deaths occur each year from pesticide poisonings. The World Health Organization says the majority of these deaths come from cotton farms. Armed with this knowledge it is no wonder parents are choosing organic clothing for their babies. Cotton is the world's favorite fabric and organic cotton is better for a baby's skin. Organic cotton typically doesn't affect people with sensitive skin the way regular cotton or other fabrics would. Skin is porous and a baby's skin is more porous than an adult's. Skin absorbs whatever is against it making organic baby clothing a much better choice since it is not grown or manufactured using harmful chemicals. Although organic baby clothing may cost more initially, organic baby clothing lasts longer than their conventional counterparts. Choosing to clothe your baby in organic baby clothing is a way to show how much you care for both your baby and the environment.
Cotton is the world's most popular fiber however traditional methods of cotton farming are extremely hard on the environment. Traditionally grown cotton accounts for twenty-five percent of the world's pesticide use. In the United States alone this comes to a total of fifty million pounds of pesticides. Organic cotton is much more eco-friendly because it is grown without the use of herbicides, pesticides or other chemicals. Farmers who grow organic cotton are contributing to sustainable, earth friendly practices. Organic cotton does not come from genetically modified plants. Manufactures turn organic cotton into clothing, bedding, bath accessories and other items. The way these items are manufactured is also helping the environment. One traditional cotton t-shirt made with conventional cotton uses a quarter pound of chemicals. The use of colored organic cotton is one of the ways that organic cotton gets it color. Colored organic cotton comes in shades of white, green, tan, brown and charcoal grey. Organic cotton in other colors has been dyed, usually with a natural dye. If a natural dye was not used, then low impact, fiber reactive dyes were used. The cost of naturally colored cotton is as much as forty percent cheaper than dyed cotton. Organic cotton is bleached using hydrogen peroxide instead of chlorine bleach. When purchasing organic cotton apparel it is important to note how much organic cotton is in the item. Some organic cotton apparel is one hundred percent organic cotton and some has been blended with conventional cotton or other fibers. Eco-fiber or recycled cotton is another option in cotton clothing. The material for this clothing is recovered cotton salvaged from the spinning, weaving or cutting process. Eco-fiber has not had harsh chemicals used on it during the processing of the fabric.
Eco-friendly fashion has hit mainstream culture. Big name designers are using organic fiber and even recycled plastic soda bottles which they turn into fabric. Being green sells and no one wants to be left behind. Stars such as Lindsay Lohan and Leonardo Dicaprio are buying eco-friendly fashion clothing as well. U2's Bono and his wife Ali Hewson created a line of socially conscious clothing known as “Edun.” When looking at eco-friendly fashion it is important to look at more than the rather the materials are organic or recycled. Fair trade practices are another important aspect so you know you are buying clothes from a company that pays people a fair wage to make them. Eco-friendly fashion can even be seen on the Runway as well. Organic clothing is more comfortable than conventional clothing in part because it is not as stiff to begin with and softens with each washing. Another great aspect of eco friendly fashion is that it saves the environment because of the material it is made from as well as the fact that the crops and animals used to provide the fibers for the materials were grown or raised using sustainable farming practices. When you think about the amount of pesticides and herbicides that go into regular farming practices you begin to realize how much they destroy the soil, the water and the entire environment. Eco friendly clothing helps eliminate the damage caused to the environment by chemicals because of the way the products are raised, grown and manufactured.
The clothing industry is under great pressure by large companies who want to get their products produced at a minimal cost. Often times these clothing giants hire young people in foreign countries to produce their clothing. They expect them to work long hours under unsafe conditions for very little pay. Fair trade clothing is not made under these conditions. Fair trade clothing is made by people who work in safe factories and are paid a decent wage for their work. Fair trade clothing offers consumers a sustainable alternative to sweat shop made items. The people who make fair trade clothing have a chance to move from a position of vulnerability to one of economic self-sufficiency. One of the first fair trade clothing lines was founded in 1991. They introduced the idea of designers from high income nations working with producers from low income nations for the mutual benefit of both parties. There are numerous fair trade organizations throughout the world. When choosing to buy fair trade clothing make sure you are buying it from a company that is one hundred percent dedicated to fair trade. This will help ensure that the artisans and farmers that make your food, clothing and other goods are involved in a commercial exchange in which they get a their share. Fair trade is a model for global economy. This model is rooted in people to people connections, justice and sustainability. When you buy fair trade clothing a portion of the price goes back into the community where the items was made for the building of health clinics, schools, starting scholarship funds, building housing, providing leadership training and women's programs.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|