Green Clothes

Everyone looks better in green clothes!

Hemp Clothes for your Green Wardrobe

Hemp is an important natural plant which has several uses to humankind. It is a prehistoric plant which means that hemp existed from the times when even the humans had not learnt to read and write and when no recorded history was available. In fact, some of the historians and archaeologists are of the view that hemp predated Stone Age and dates back somewhere to the Neolithic period. This means that hemp was potentially one of the first, if not the first, fibre that human every used to fashion themselves some sort of a dress.

Throughout the history, hemp has been an extremely useful crop for humanity which would fulfil many of his needs in daily life. Hemp has been commonly used in paper industry, bio-fuel making, cordage, making healthy foods and also for fashioning plastic which is biodegradable. However, these were only some of the uses that hemp has or had for humankind through the course of their history and it does not, at all, means that hemp was limited to fulfilling needs in these aforementioned areas. In fact, the first and the most important role of hemp for humankind was for creating dresses for themselves from hemp plant and this is still being done.

Now that we know how historically significant hemp has been right from the beginning or inception of humans, probably, we must move to the more important task which is the theme of this article as well: this means discussing the role of hemp as a fibre for fashioning out clothes and dresses and forming fabric out of it. But first we will have a brief look at the advantages of sustainability that hemp crop offers naturally to its farmers and perhaps you will be able to see why hemp is one of the most important eco-friendly fabrics that are present today.

So starting now with the advantages of sustainability that hemp crop offers to its farmers; we must say that hemp is exactly opposite to cotton, which is the most widely used fabric in the world today. Whereas the plantation of cotton is very exploitative for the soil as it consumes a lot of minerals from the soil and leaves it dead after a few cycles of continuous cultivation, hemp is actually complementing for the soil. Hemp crop takes very few minerals from the soil and more than two third of these minerals are restored back into the soil with each growth cycle of hemp.

Another advantage that hemp crop has is that unlike cotton which attracts all sorts of insects and pests to feed on it, hemp is not prone to such pest attacks and this ability is natural; not achieved through genetic manipulation. Due to this factor hemp does not rely on chemical pesticide sprays to get rid of harmful pests. This, again, makes hemp more eco-friendly and health friendly as well. The roots of hemp plant are really long as well which means that it can hold the soil very well and prevents soil erosion from wind and floods.

Sustainability and eco-friendliness are not exactly the points that everyone is looking up to as a basis of their crop selection. Everyone wants to make good money from their crop and no matter how good or bad it is to human health and environment, if it gives you good money, people will plant it. I mean look at all the poppy cultivation. Therefore, hemp has to be good on this account as well; and it is. Due to no reliance on fertilizers and pesticides the cost is down and due to almost four times greater yield than cotton on a given area, hemp is also considerably more profitable.

It has been noted that almost 80% of human clothing were fashioned from hemp fabrics until 1920s. You might be in for a shock when you come to know that your favourite jeans manufacturer – Levi Strauss – primarily used to make jeans from hemp. Many of the brands in clothing are again catching up with the trend of using hemp in their garment products due to the environment friendly nature of this fabric and also due to the profitability attached with using hemp fibre in fabrics.

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

Eco-Friendly Fabrics

So what determines the environmental friendliness or eco-friendly materials and substances are the current buzzwords of today? Everyone is looking for materials that are not harmful to Mother Nature rather on the contrary they are complementing to the nature. In the past, the only basis of selection for our clothing was either style or price but now there is an addition to this criterion as well. Environmental friendliness has also been integrated into the criterion of cloth selection and that is the primary reason why eco-friendly fabrics are gaining prominence every day. Eco-friendly fabrics have been there for quite some time but it is now, due to increased environmental awareness, that everyone is taking interest in them.

Apart from the hue and cry raised by the environmentalists and the awareness created for saving Mother-Nature there is the factor that these eco-friendly fabrics are also better for the health of the user than using the ordinary clothes that we wear ordinarily every day. The reason for eco-friendly fabrics being better for ordinary everyday user’s health is that they are not taken from polluted sources. All eco-friendly fabrics are grown or manufactured in a very environment friendly manner which includes the condition that there is no use made of harmful chemicals like pesticides.  Why does this matter?  Intensive scientific testing has proven that the human body actually absorbs the residual chemicals from the fibers that are woven into clothing!

Some of the eco-friendly fabrics available for your better choices today are:

•  Organic cotton
•  Hemp
•  Bamboo
•  Soy (Wha?!  Yes, Soy.  See our other articles about soy.)

To make sure that the eco-friendly fabrics are really eco-friendly and not bogus claims, there are strict measures that the producers and manufacturer of such fabrics have to follow. First of all, the criterion is to use no chemicals or pesticides on your crops if you are using naturally grown material for your fabric. This constitutes to “organic”  designation.  If you are not using natural crops to make eco-friendly fabrics you should use completely biodegradable material with no harmful chemicals used in dying or other processes of fabric formation. If the material is not biodegradable it must completely obtained from recycled resources.  This is what is referred to as “sustainable” material.

The checks and balances are not only reserved for the manufacturing and pre-manufacturing part but even small things such as transportation of these materials from the country of origin to the country of consumption or processing is also brought into consideration when awarding the title of eco-friendly fabrics to any fabric. Hence, the criterion covers every aspect from plant growth to the transportation of these materials and the product that satisfies each of these standards is then titled as eco-friendly fabric.

Eco-friendly fabrics are undoubtedly better both for the consumer directly and the environment that we live in but there is one downside to these eco-friendly fabrics as well. This down side is the extra price that such materials cost to you. Growing crops such as cotton and jute without using pesticides is costly. Similarly, replacing chemicals in dying and manufacturing process makes the production of the final product more expensive than ordinary. And lastly the transportation criterion for eco-friendly fabrics also contributes in raising the cost quite a bit. This is the reason why all such eco-friendly products cost so much more than ordinary products, and eco-friendly fabrics is no exception. This limits the affordability of such materials only to the well off people.

While not every piece of fabric can lay claim to all of different “green” criteria of being sustainable,  organic or fair trade, they are all positive steps in the right direction of dressing in harmony with Earth.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , ,

Zoe & Zac, Affordable Green Footwear Line Launched

Jun-4-2009
Green Clothes

It seems, after plastic bag and non-recyclable t-shirts, ordinary footwear line is the next in the queue of outdated fashion accessories, as a new line of eco-friendly footwear is launched by Summer Rayne Oakes and Payless. The name of this shoe-line is ‘Zoe & Zac.’ A magnificent blend of creativity and nature care, this footwear line was launched after a clear observation of buying capacity of normal class of the society and its cost is not going to surpass 30$. It is surely a pleasure for people in the present scenario of downturn, as they are able to stay healthy without paying much.

The footwear line was brought jointly by well-known social activist and bold entrepreneur cum writer Summer Rayne Oakes and the well-known shoe company Payless. Also known as the Eco-Model, Summer Rayne Oakes helped payless in creating such wonderful footwear. Payless is appreciated globally for its sustainable stylish collection of shoes and other fashion accessories. The brand new shoe line, launched by Payless on Oakes, will be available on 1,000 outlets of Payless stores in entire United States. If you are staying outside, you can avail these striking shoes by browsing the official site of Payless, which is www.payless.com. Zoe & Zac is an authentic collection of green fashion accessories, which includes great eco friendly shoes, linen, hemp, recycled rubber, jute and water-based glues.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , ,

Hemp – An Organic Fiber

May-22-2009
Eco Fabrics

In today’s fashion era, designers all over the world are making a marked statement with Eco-fashion or Green fashion, making clothes that best suit the environment. These 100% organic fabrics are grown without pesticides or herbicides made from synthetic products. Not only this, these 100% organic fabrics are treated without chemical dyes or bleaches. Today clothing made from organic fibers such as organic cotton, hemp, soy silk, or bamboo are largely in fashion and widely used.

Not only this, dresses such as skirts, T-shirts, scarves, and matching accessories made from these organic fabrics are included in almost every fashion show and works of different designers including Marc Jacobs, Stella McCartney, Jil Sander, and Versace. And one such organic fiber is Hemp.

Used for making hemp curtains, valance, clothing, bags, jewelry, paper, and many more items, the stuff made from hemp material is stronger, durable, insulating and absorbent in nature. Primarily coarse in nature, the fabric was traditionally used for making ropes and canvas. After passing through the technological advancements in breeding the plant, the fabric available these days is much softer and finer and can be weaved into cloth.

Mainly processed in Romania, the European Hemp used for manufacturing home products and clothing is 100% organic in nature and is free from any kind of pesticides or chemicals. What’s more you can even dye in different shades too. You can select from a variety of products including hemp twines, ropes, fiber or fabrics to produce different products made from hemp which are not only comfortable but stylish and durable too.

But why hemp plant only? Well produced without any insecticides, this plant requires very little water to grow. The plant also doesn’t require any artificial fertilizers or synthetic herbs to grow quickly and densely. Not only this, the long and sturdy fibers of the plant make it last much longer and durable in nature.

The organic hemp plant has another characteristic too. It absorbs equal amounts of CO2 during its growing phase that will be released later when the plant is burnt for fuel or other purposes, and does not contribute to the green effect. However, due to organic properties of this plant, it is possible to substitute hemp for other material, thus reducing the effect of water pollution to a large extent. A non-combustible and non-toxic product in nature, hemp if cultivated in large quantities helps in conservation of natural resources.

However, growing of this product has been prohibited in the United States, since the report published by U.S Drug Enforcement Agency where all varieties of hemp have been classified as ‘marijuana’. The product, popularly produced as industrial hemp, is blended with organic cotton.

But this product is grown without any restrictions in other parts of the world, including Russia, England, France, Holland, Hungary, and China. This has led to manifold increase in cultivation of hemp from 50,000 tons in 90,000 tons in just a period of 4 years. However, this non-vegetable fiber is an unpopular product in US which will be grown only after the framers are reassured of not facing any prosecution from the Government’s side.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , ,

5 Sustainable Clothing Trends in Fabrics

Apr-12-2009
Eco Fabrics

The terms ‘sustainable clothing’ and ‘organic clothing’ are often used together and both essentially belong to the same genre of eco-friendly clothing materials. Although, they serve the same purpose and can be broadly classified as Green eco-fashion materials there are a few minor difference between the two. The difference doesn’t lie in their approach to the concept of being green or eco-friendly but their origins.

While organic clothing evolved from the movement of organically developed materials, sustainable clothing is more of an environmental consciousness that is slowly gaining momentum. Sustainable clothing also emphasizes upon the recycling of goods in our daily use. Essentials for a clothing material to be considered suited for ecological purposes, i.e. being sustainable:

  • Clothing material is derived from renewable/recycled raw materials
  • Efficient use of production resources such as energy, manpower and water with preference for using renewable inputs for manufacturing
  • Creating absolutely safe clothing material with regards to consumer health and the environment

Some Of The Most Noteworthy Materials Used In Sustainable Clothing

1. Bamboo

Bamboo is best suited for clothing meant for the hotter temperatures. It can absorb the sweat and lets it evaporate within seconds. This creates a natural mechanism of dispelling heat and maintaining fabric breathability. New fabrics being created from bamboo are equally adept for keeping you warmer in colder conditions. Bamboo-created clothing is naturally anti-bacterial and odor free.

How is it sustainable?

  • Bamboo grows without any artificial assistance, i.e. it is totally natural and sustainable as it doesn’t need pesticides and fertilizers
  • Bamboo plant is not uprooted like other plants. This helps to maintain the soil’s stability.
  • Bamboo yield in terms of per acre is nearly 10 times more than that for cotton
  • More bamboo plantations will mean more neutralization of greenhouse gases

2. Lyocell

This is produced from the cellulose found in wood. This makes Lyocell one of the purest forms of sustainable clothing. The fabric adheres to all quality demands meant for medical or technical compatibility.

How is it sustainable?

  • Its production is extremely eco-friendly and doesn’t use harmful dyes and chemicals and the Lyocell fiber is 100% bio-degradable
  • The end product is strikingly similar to cotton and hence, this makes it a very useful substitute for current manufacturing demands
  • Since, it is derived from wood, it can be regarded as the most replenishable and hence, the most sustainable form of clothing
  • Cellulose extraction uses nearly negligible artificially-produced extraction agents

3. Hemp

It is famous for being the most durable among all natural fibers and is often called the miracle fiber. It is lightweight, long-lasting, highly-absorbent and much stronger than other fibers. It is best suited for outdoor wear being weather resistant.

How is it sustainable?

  • Hemp crop does not need pesticides and uses a very little amount of water
  • It is known for enriching the soil where it is grown since it has an exhaustive root system which also helps to prevent soil-erosion
  • Extremely cost-effective to grow and has minimal agricultural requirements

4. Soy Fiber

Soy blended or pure soy fiber clothing has some excellent qualities like having a luster that is similar to silk and absorbs moisture like cotton. However, it offers the best of ventilation when compared with these two conventional fabrics.

How is it sustainable?

  • Its manufacturing is an example of bioengineering and proteins are extracted from sources like soybean oil and soymilk
  • This makes it a recycled product, since it is akin to creating something useful from a conventional manufacturing process
  • It is highly sustainable since by-products like soybean dregs are further used as fodder or natural fertilizer

5. Organic Cotton

Organic cotton is a huge improvement over the traditionally-grown cotton. For starters, it is grown following strict regulations that prevent the use of chemicals that can enter the fiber. Even its harvesting is less automated to ensure that the soil isn’t being drained. Perhaps, the only natural resource it does drain to a certain extent is water.

How is it sustainable?

  • Organic cotton is grown in a manner that actually replenishes the ecosystem rather than exhausting its nutrients
  • It is grown without using conventional chemical/toxic pesticides or synthetic fertilizers
  • Only certified or organic facilities are allowed to procure/manufacture organic clothing and they use only low-impact dyes or mineral-based shades that don’t affect the consumers or the environment

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Booming Brands

Mar-30-2009
Green Clothes

 

OK, so if you have read a fashion mag in the past 5 years or past 5 days, you know that one of the fastest growing sectors in the industry is “eco-fashion”.We like to keep it simple here and just call them “green clothes”, because frankly, everyone has a different definition.But in any event, while you’ve probably picked a few personal favorites, it’s possible that you’ve missed out on a few of those that got lost wandering among the herds in the world organic clothing. One of our goals here is to keep you posted when we see one we think you might be interested in.

The following are some of our favorite ones we chose to feature today:

1. Stella McCartney:While you know the name, and probably know that her collections have been animal-friendly since she began in 1997, you may not have known that she now has an Organic line as well.Her current collection features both dressy and casual pieces, constructed of both organic cotton and organic hemp.Her wares can be found in any of her 11 stores, including flagships in New York, London, Paris and LA as well as 600 other stores in over 50 countries.

We like: In 2007, McCartney introduced “CARE”, the first luxury organic skincare line, containing 100% organic active ingredients.

2. howies:  A family brand, selling one of the most comfortable green couture, howies is a UK-based Company, started with 4 Tshirts in 1995. While the company acknowledges that their clothing might seem to be over priced at the first glance, if the customer calculates their value on sustainability terms, it would prove its worth. We definitely recommend heading on over to their website for a fun read about their beliefs and their history.

We like:howies pledges to give 1% of their turnover or 10% of pre-tax profits (whichever is greater) to grass-root environmental and social projects.

3. Levis Eco : Huh?When all the big league players started jumping onto the green band wagon, how could the master of jeans stay behind? Yes we are talking about that Levis. They came into the industry with their certified organic cotton denim in the Fall of 2006 and how!With their outstanding collection, they proved themselves once again to be the toughest competitors in their league.

We like: Earth-friendly elements include the use of recycled buttons, rivets and zippers, and natural indigo was used to dye some styles of jeans. All external packaging will be made from organic fabric or recycled paper and printed with soy-based ink.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,