Eco-Fashion Buying Guide

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A growing trend is fashion is making eco-friendly clothes . Eco-fashion centers around the concept of making clothes that are environmentally friendly and healthy for the consumers and workers. Though this trend is still developing, look for an increasing amount of eco-friendly clothing to hit the runways from London to New York.

The Problem

You may be wondering how clothing can be harmful to the environment. Here are several ways that clothes can be a form of pollution:

  • When pesticides are used in cotton production (25% of all pesticides used in the whole world are from cotton production), the pesticides cause pollution and thus endanger not only the environment, but the health of the people living in developing countries.
  • Many processes involved in clothing production, such as irrigation, pesticides ,fertilizers , and the bleaching  and dyeing  of processed textiles use an enormous amount of water and often lead to water pollution.
  • Fossil fuels are used in the production of oil-based synthetic fibers (like nylon ). While our clothes are being transported and processed, they release carbon emissions that contribute to climate change.
  • When clothes are thrown away rather than donated or recycled (only 14% of clothes are recycled!), they end up in landfills. Wool , if in landfills, releases methane during its decaying process, contributing to climate change as well.

The Solution

  • Recycle or donate unwanted clothes. Not only will you be helping the environment, but by giving a neighbour your daughter's outgrown dresses  or donating a box of clothes that have been in your closet since 1980 you are providing clothes to others at low or no cost and helping those in need.
  • Wash clothes at 30 degrees if possible. Washing clothes at cooler temperatures uses less energy and cuts down on carbon emissions.
  • Whenever possible, avoid tumble-drying clothes. Try letting your clothes dry naturally on a clothes line.
  • Try not to choose dry-clean only clothes. Many dry-cleaning chemicals are toxic!
  • Look for washing machines  that are eco-friendly and use less energy. Most products will advertise that they are energy efficient.
  • Try only doing your laundry if you have a full load of clothes. This cuts down on the amount of water and energy used, and also cuts down on your chores! If you use a laundry mat, try to use the smallest machine possible that fits the clothes you need washed.
  • Look for organic  or recycled materials . Keep an eye out for clothing with tags that say organic, Fairtrade ,MADE  or OEKOTEX  and the EU Ecolabel  (flower symbol).

Top Eco-Friendly Materials

Save the Planet Fabrics

Hemp 

The ecological footprint of hemp is considerably smaller than that of most other plants considered for their fibres. Hemp plants grow very quickly and densely which makes it difficult for weeds to take hold, eliminating the need for herbicides and artificial fertilisers. It requires no irrigation as it thrives on the amount of water in the average rainfall, and it is highly pest-resistant.

Wool 

Wool can be a great eco-friendly material if it comes from a responsible eco-friendly manufacturer. If wool is not from a caring manufacturer, it is possible that both the sheep and the environment were harmed in the process.

Organic Cotton 

Organic cotton  is much more environmentally-friendly than the traditional variety as it uses no pesticides, herbicides, or insecticides during the growing cycle. There are many growers of this crop, and the number is steadily increasing.  Usually manufacturers using this plant to make textiles follow up the process by using natural dyes to further reduce the amount of chemicals dumped into our ecosystem.

Soy Silk 

Silkworms often die a painful death in order to produce the fabric for which they are named.  However, soy silk is made from the by-products of the tofu -making process, and is a much kinder alternative. The liquefied proteins are extruded into fibres which are then spun, and used like any other fibre (woven, knitted, etc.). You can purchase skeins of soy silk yarn and test it out for yourself. The high protein content makes it receptive to natural dyes, so you can create your own colours.

Bamboo 

Bamboo is a highly renewable grass, and it is this property that has resulted in its being classified as "eco-friendly." It also has natural antibacterial properties and the fabric "breathes". The resultant cloth is biodegradable.

Top Brands

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