We’re kicking off a month of Eco-Chic here on Grechen’s Closet and I couldn’t be more excited! I’ve been trying to cover more earth-friendly designers and boutiques this year, and wanted to take it up a bit and challenge myself to wear at least one “eco-chic” item every day for my “Outfit of the Day” this month.
We’ll also be featuring interviews with independent designers and online eco-boutiques nearly every day, new Reviews of items from some of the hottest earth-friendly designers like Doie, Lizzie Parker, and new designer, Spun. And to make all this shopping easier on your wallet, we’ve wrangled some exclusive discount codes for the BEST online eco-boutiques.
But you’re probably asking, how can I be Eco-Chic? and more importantly, why should I be Eco-Chic? Both excellent questions, and here are my answers 🙂
To me, being Eco-Chic is quite simply, looking good, while doing good. And no, I haven’t read any of the books on the subject, so everything I say here is just my interpretation and opinion. But getting back to the subject, if you’re Eco-Chic, you probably love fashion and take pride in your personal style, but are also trying to be more conscious of what you buy, who you buy it from, and why you buy it. Okay, so this is pretty much a description of me, as laid out in my Eco-Chic Manifesto recently, but I know there are more of you out there. This is just the beginning of the journey for me; I have a long way to go, but every step I take in the “green” direction is a step in the right direction.
As to WHY we should all be more Eco-Chic, that’s more difficult. Everyone probably has their own reason for trying to be a little more environmentally friendly, I know I do, but there are also facts about the way our clothing is produced as well as HOW it is produced that cannot be disputed. First, conventional cotton production uses INSANE amounts of pesticides and according to the EPA, eight of the pesticides used in non-organic U.S. cotton are classified as possible carcinogens – read: TOXIC. Cotton only represents a small amount of all crops in production but it uses approximately 25 percent of the world’s insecticides, according to nonprofit Pesticide Action Network North America. I’m sure you try to buy some organic produce/food products, why not cotton? It’s just as important to keep chemical pesticides and fertilizers out of the air we breathe as it is to keep it out of the food we ingest.
If you prefer to try out some alternative fibers, more and more are popping up: hemp, lyocell, and most popularly, bamboo. Bamboo is possibly the ultimate sustainable crop – it grows INCREDIBLY fast and without chemical fertilizers or pesticides. Bamboo fiber is anti-bacterial, absorbs water faster than cotton (keeping you cooler in warm weather and warmer in cool weather), feels like silk, and has natural UV protection. It’s not perfect, however, as most bamboo is still chemically processed to turn it into cloth, but manufacturers are working on “greening” up the entire process so bamboo can become a true eco-friendly alternative to cotton.
Moving beyond the actual materials our clothing is made with to HOW it’s made, we are all aware of the poor working conditions many garment workers face. Wages are low, facilities are lacking, and as mentioned above, many workers are exposed to chemicals and unhealthy processes. But just because you’re buying organic cotton or eco-friendly clothing DOES not mean that the companies producing it conduct their business ethically while also considering the environment. That’s why, for me, being Eco-Chic also means choosing to purchase more clothing/bags/shoes from SMALL companies and independent designers. Besides the fact that I don’t want to wear or own something as seen on everyone else, I like to have access to the people behind the design, learn about how they run their companies, AND I really love to support fellow entrepreneurs.
As I said before, I’ve come up with this as a result of my own reflections and based on my own personal beliefs. None of this is a substitute for doing your own research – on organic cotton, bamboo, the companies/designers I mention, and general environmental issues, but I hope it’s given you some ideas on how you, too, can be Eco-Chic, and pass it on to your fellow fashionistas. Remember, this ain’t your mother’s earth-friendly clothing, and it certainly isn’t your mother’s environmental movement anymore either…embrace it, and make it your own.
Happy (eco) Shopping!