As many of you know, last month I closed the doors to my eco-fashion line, Mountains of the Moon, after 15 years. And while I made the decision to focus on other things career-wise, I still am, and will always be, a big advocate of sustainable practices when it comes to apparel. So I was pretty stoked to read a recent Yahoo! Style article titled ‘Eco Fashion Gets Greener,’ which focuses on Fashion Positive – the new initiative from Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute. The initiative hopes to give new meaning to the term ‘sustainability,’ by applying five principles (clean water improvements, renewable energy, social practices, designing for upcycling, and material health and chemistry) to materials (fibers, dyes, yarns, fabrics, threads).
In my years working in the sustainable fashion industry, one of the biggest lessons I learned was that in order for a garment to be truly eco-friendly, more needs to be taken into account than just the type of fabric used in creating it. Lots of companies have been quick to jump on the eco-fashion bandwagon over the years, and it always bummed me out to see a piece of clothing labeled as ‘green’ when it was made with organic cotton but produced in a sweatshop, or an ‘earth-friendly’ garment made with a recycled fiber that used massive amounts of energy to produce and harsh chemicals to dye, or a piece of ‘recycled’ jewelry made with reworked metals but packaged in excessive plastic. It was really refreshing to read about Fashion Positive’s mission to apply so many important aspects of sustainable fashion production as part of their initiative.
I also loved reading about how Lewis Perkins (Fashion Positive’s Senior VP) has not only teamed up with established eco-conscious brands who are already using sustainable models, but is also in talks with larger, more well-known design houses (like Gucci, Calvin Klein, and Seven for All Mankind). I met so many designers during my years working in fashion who wanted to make their lines more earth and social conscious, but had no idea how. The fashion industry as a whole tends to be incredibly wasteful, and in my option, by working with these larger brands to educate and brainstorm, a pretty substantial step is being taken toward making a profound difference when it comes to a more sustainable industry.
It’s easy to get caught up in the convenience and affordable price points of fast, disposable fashion. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m guilty of it myself. And I’ve also been disappointed at various times throughout the years when it’s felt like truly sustainable fashion might never become a real it for the masses. Reading this #YahooStyle article gave me a renewed enthusiasm and sense of hope that with some real work, education, and practice, eco-fashion can still eventually become the industry standard someday.
(Psssst… All the images you see above are from my former eco-fashion line. Each piece from every one of our collections was made locally with organic cotton, tencel, and hemp fabrics, dyed with nontoxic dyes using sustainable methods, crafted to last for decades, and packaged without plastic and with only 100% recycled tags designed to act as bookmarks after they were removed. Eco-fashion forever!)
While we’re discussing Yahoo! Style (and eco-conscious products), I also want to quickly share one other great piece I came across over there that’s a part of their gift guide series. Titled ‘Neat Freak: the Best Cleaning Items for Your OCD Friends‘ (best title for a gift guide ever), it features all sorts of creative ideas for those who like to keep things clean. The guide may not be specifically about eco-fashion, or even fashion, but there’s a lovely sense of style to each of these picks. There are also some really great eco-conscious items on it. The Murchison-Hume Everyday Furniture & Upholstery Cleaner ($ 9) is made from organic Australian white grapefruit and gets the job done without the use of chemicals. I’m also all about the Moso Line Bags – natural purifier-dehumidifiers that remove unwanted odors around the home without toxins. And how about The Laundress All-Purpose Cleaning Concentrate & All-Purpose Bleach Alternative Duo ($ 26)? Acclaimed New York cleaners The Laundress crafted these cleaning products to eliminate hazardous ingredients like bleach and other chemical surfactants, and they have a proven track record of keeping luxury fabrics looking brand new. Yes please. See the rest of the guide right here.
Do you consider sustainability when make clothing purchases? Have you purchased any eco-friendly holiday gifts this year?