When people think of Earth-friendly clothing, they think hemp and
bamboo — utilitarian wear that is not stylish. There are always visions
of a 70′s hippie with flowers in her hair, erupting with braids, peace
signs emanating from her fingers. You don’t picture the Red Carpet or
anything resembling chic and trendy clothing, until now. There are
designers ready to change your mind about how you treat the environment
and how you clothe your body. Forget the hippie mystique and say hello
to 21st Century designs.
- Gypsy 05: Israeli-born siblings Osi and Dotan Shoham started Gypsy 05
in 2005, hoping to bring a fresh new wave of colors and fabrics to the
market. Using unique dyes, Gypsy 05 offers casual clothing with
eccentric screen prints. Many of their clothing products are made with
organic cotton or bamboo and use low-impact dyes. Dress pictured, $100.
- Burning Torch: When Karyn Craven started Burning Torch
in 1999, she envisioned a world where old and new fused together in an
organic, eco-friendly environment. Many of the styles in her collection
are made from recycled scarves, lace and cashmere and organic cotton.
- Stewart + Brown: Started by Karen Stewart and Howard Brown, this clothing line is the epitome of a green clothing line. Stewart + Brown
infuses their own ideals into their collection by using organic cotton,
renewable premium merino wool obtained from free-range sheep in New
Zealand, and factory surplus fabrics from various manufacturers. Shirt
pictured – Clover Tee, $66.
- okdreamer: Out of Los Angeles, okdreamer fashions clothing out of organic cotton, linen and wool. Shirts and labels are printed with water-based,
plant-derived dyes or from low-impact dyes. Not only conscience about
the environment, okdreamer’s clothing are ethically made in their L.A.
- Haley K.: Casual and sporty, Haley K. clothes are
made from organic fibers. They adhere to their “Fashion with a
conscience” mantra by working closely with all their contractors to
provide beautiful clothing without relying on toxic materials. Hoodie,
tank and pants available at Bloomingdale’s.
- Edun: 100% certified organic t-shirts designed by Bono and Ali Hewson (Bono’s wife), Edun
has facilities in Tanzania and Uganda and confirms that all farmers and
workers associated with the Edun brand are part of an ethical and fair
trade organization — everyone is paid fairly and work conditions are
healthy and safe.
All the designers mentioned here offer high-quality, eco-friendly
clothing, although some are more expensive than others; organic cotton
is more expensive to grow, harvest and manufacture. These companies and
many more like them are sprouting across the country and the world. They
are small organizations that lack the retail muscle of, say, Wal-Mart.
That’s why you’ll see t-shirts made form organic cotton sell for $25
and up, whereas at Wal-Mart you’ll find a regular cotton t-shirt selling
for under $10. Unfortunately, many of the warehouses around the world
that manufacture Wal-Mart’s clothing have grossly neglected their
workers by not providing them with safe working conditions and not
paying them proper wages.
Take a little time to research the clothes you put on and consider
how buying it has impacted not only the environment, but also a laborer
in Bangladesh who earned less than 15 cents an hour to make it. Choose
your clothing wisely.