Inspired by Earth Week, and recent info from several retailers about their enviro-friendly products, I decided to explore the green fashions that are available in our malls and on main street.
While several major retailers and brands have launched some innovative products or have operating practices that reduce the impact to our planet, many are sadly lacking. Granted, there are a lot of local designers and stores producing earth friendly fashions, many of which you can learn about at www.ethiquette.ca, however, I wanted to take a look at some of the mainstream brands, Here’s a review of the products and policies of some of the most active to help with your purchasing decisions.
The Gap Inc. – the company that operates Banana Republic, The Gap and Old Navy has a detailed environental impact policy outlined on its website. The main focus is to reduce energy and waste at all its locations, and to use more organic and recyled materials. You have to search hard for these products, and all I have been able to find are some men’s T’s and shirts, a few baby prodcuts and a limited number of items for us moms – all in beige!. And, buyer beware, just this week, urbanmoms founder Jen, purchased a cute sun dress at Old Navy. The tag said “recycled” – turns out it was only the tag that was made of recycled fabric, not the entire dress, which we initially thought! Here’s the The Gap’s organic cotton flare jeans:
Payless Shoe Source– this brand is proving that earth friendly items can be fashionable with the recent launch of its Zoe and Zac line of footwear and accessories. Made of recycled materials and organic cotton, these shoes and bags are not only a good enviro-friendly alternative for this Spring and Summer, they actually look good! The line of sandals, skimmers, clutch bags and more are available in select Payless stores, so call 1-877-474-6379 to check for the location nearest you.
Lululemon and Roots – both home grown Canadian brands, built on a message of social consciousness, surprisingly offer few truly organic or recyled products, however, both companies have engrained enviromentally friendly actions into the operation of their business.
Lululemon has a commitment to reduce waste throughout its operations from manufacturing to store construction to day-to-day operations, and empowers its employees to take action locally to postively impact their communites.
One example of Roots’ environmental policy is its works with zerofootprint to calculate how much CO2 is emitted during shipping from its warehouse to its online customers. Emissions from the shipment are “balanced out” by investment in reforestation in British Columbia. Here’s an organic cotton T from Roots.
Yogo.ca – is an Lululemon alternative with a line of Lulu-lookalike yoga gear made from soy fabric, which apparently feels so light that you’ll feel almost naked! What could be more natural than that? Here’s a look at their flirty skirt..
Mark’s Work Wearhouse – has launched a line of eco-socks made from bamboo. Bamboo grows like a weed and does not need the intense farming practices of cotton, so it’s another great fabric alternative.
Guess – these green jeans made from 100% organic cotton offer further proof that earth friendly clothing need not look like a modified burlap sack. The last time I checked online, these were out of stock – also proof that there is demand for fashions that are good-looking and green.
So, if green clothes and accessories can look this good, why aren’t there more of them? Let’s support our local green retailers and designers, and make sure we encourage the brands we love to produce stylish clothes and accessories that not only look good on us, but are good for our world and our children’s future in it.
In the meantime, here are some other ways to build enviro-consciousness into your closet…and it goes back to the original green mandate of reduce, re-use, recycle:
Reduce: reducing the amount you buy is kind to the environment and your wallet!! It’s also a stress free way to dress. The Style File philosophy is based on building a wardrobe based on “less is more”. A closet based on a few foundation pieces like a great pair of jeans or two, a couple of simple skirts, a super suit and terrific tops, enhanced with awesome accessories, fab footwear and most important of all, uplifting underwear, is all you need.
Reuse: take a close look at the items you have not worn in a while – 80s and boho style are back, and if some of these pieces such as long skirts and summery scarves are lurking in your wardrobe, you may be able to update your current classics with these retro recyclables. Also, take a look at wearing what you have in new ways – didn’t think that top went with that skirt? – try it – it might – and you’ll have many more outfits that you imagined without opening your wallet or impacting our world. To see how pieces are put togther in a new way, take a look through magazines or online retailers for inspiration.
Recycle: clear out your closet and donate what you no longer wear, fits you or feels good to a local charity. I especially like donating to Dress for Success or Dress your Best (Toronto), which helps underpriviledged Canadians (esp. women) dress to get into or back into the work force. Another way to recycle is to hold a clothes swap soiree. Invite your friends to clean out their closets and come over with all their unwanted items. All attendees can take whatever they want from each other for free, and anything left over at the end of the evening is donated to charity.
So, when you think green, don’t just think of it as a colour, think of it as a commitment to the earth. I trust the above ideas and information helps you salute Earth Week in style. Please let us know your earth-friendly fashion tips and finds in the comments section below.