Green Clothes

Everyone looks better in green clothes!

Why Is Eco-Fashion Important / Why Do We Believe In Sustainable Clothing?

Apr-20-2012
Green Clothes

Since ages, fashion has been one of the most important factors of every civilization. People have devoted their lives to set a new trend and making others look good — or you may say “style in a better way”. It’s a race that everyone wants to win.

A parallel race, supported by many other groups, is for saving the environment. You switch on the TV and you’ll find whole channels dedicated to fashion and environment, both fighting for their own separate causes.

Yet their paths often cross when environmentalists accuse the fashion industry to be absolutely cruel towards the environment (which isn’t entirely untrue, by the way)

Some thought that life without changing fashion trends is no life at all, while ditching the planet can be translated as death to all on the longer run. What good would fashion serve on a dead planet???? The realization of the fact gave birth to the concept of eco-fashion, also known to be sustainable clothing.

It is also called “fashion with a conscious” by some trend setters. Eco-fashion is very important on many levels. The concept tends to change the entire production process affecting several lives throughout.

The concept of eco-fashion is based on the three R’s of recycling and the three Legs of sustainability; reduce, reuse, recycle and economics, ecology, (social) equity, that is everything needed to make the planet and the society a better place to live.

Reviewing the general fashion industry, numerous harmful chemicals are used for making synthetic fiber, dying, bleaching, etc. Even the natural cotton is poisoned with tons of chemicals. Those chemicals are disposed of improperly hence polluting the rivers (and other water sources) and air.

The chemicals also affect the sustainability of clothes. Therefore they are discarded sooner than later. Most of them cannot be even reused due to their worn out condition.

Secondly, the working class in fashion industry (or any other, as a matter of fact) isn’t often paid that well in most of the countries. The working conditions are also unbearable; long hours, no considerable protection against the harmful chemicals used for production, persistent ailments and the list can go on forever.

Eco-fashion changes all of it. The process starts from the core; that is the production of organic cotton. The yield is grown using all the organic means. No insecticides and pesticides, use of organic fertilizers and a lot of hard work.

Cotton naturally comes in different colours. The typical shades are red, yellow, mauve and orange. If naturally coloured organic cotton is used, use of dyes and bleaching agents is discouraged, having a positive impact on pollution control.

Sustainability of clothes is also increased manifold. Clothing becomes more durable because of the absence of chemicals (natural colours do not fade away that easily), can be fairly reused and ultimately recycled.

The yield of organic cotton is lesser however the profit margins are good as the cost of productions is not that high and also because eco-fashion believes in fair trade.

Eco-fashion stake holders that obtain organic cotton make sure that the farmers get rewarded for their efforts and stay above the poverty line by all means.

Imply the ethical code throughout the eco-fashion production process that is procurement of raw material, transporting it to the factories, manufacturing, distribution and finally the sale; the society moves towards economical growth and stability.

The purchasing power of the entire working class involved improves, increasing the demand of many products. With an increased demand, the production process in those sectors would flourish, generating further investment and employment for more which will in turn improve their purchasing power —- and the cycle goes on.

With the economic prosperity and social equity, the society can rid itself of many evils leaving the people to excel and prosper.

Fashion is something that people will never let go of. All the better if it is eco friendly and creates stronger social bonds rather than creating hatred and inferiority complexes.

It is a huge industry; being flourished worldwide and can play a very important role for saving the planet in many different ways. Eco-fashion gives you sustainable clothing, a healthier environment and a prosperous growing economy. Is there anything else you can ask from people “who can style you in a better way”????

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Organic Cotton – What is It? And Why Does it Make My Clothes Eco Friendly?

Organic cotton has been there for quite some time but it has only come to the lime light recently.  In fact, cultivation of cotton started as organic cotton due to a very limited demand and unavailability of chemical fertilizers and pesticides at that time.  But with the passage of time demand started increasing and due to mass production needed technological innovations such as high yielding varieties, pesticides and chemical fertilizers were developed and so the cotton crop, as we know it today, was born.  Whereas, cotton is thought to be very beneficial for people with all sorts of skin, the truth is that it is not!

So what is it that different organic cotton and the ordinary cotton that we use in the everyday lives?  Well, to be precise there is a hell lot of difference between the two.  The cotton products that we use commonly in our everyday lives combine a lot of factors which are injurious to are health and our environment.  The whole process of growing cotton as we know it today is based on practices that are harmful both for us and the environment around us.  Now we will analyze how they are harmful.

First of all, the high yielding varieties that are achieved through genetic engineering disturb the natural biodiversity and endanger the original species of plant. Secondly, cotton crop consumes a lot of minerals from the soil. It is not feasible to keep growing cotton without circulating the crop. Therefore, chemical fertilizers have to be used for continuous cropping of cotton. This causes the soil to burn and lose all its important minerals. Once this happens, there is no way of reclaiming the soil and desertification starts occurring, which means that rich soil turns into barren sands over the time.

Then there is another factor: pesticides. Because cotton is such a historical crop that has existed since time immemorial therefore it has also given enough time for the species of insects that thrive on it. These insects and pests are responsible for destroying the cotton crop and decreasing its yield or output. Therefore, chemicals called pesticides and insecticides are used to get rid of them and achieve maximum output. But these pesticides are extremely poisonous. They not only kill the harmful insects and pests but also kill the one that are useful for the crop like the ladybird.

Further, these chemical fertilizers and pesticide sprays contaminate the air. They settle in the fibres of cotton and are accumulated in them only to harm our bodies when we use them in our dresses. Secondly, the spray also endangers the livestock that are kept near the farm where the pesticide is sprayed. They poison the livestock and the poison is transferred from these kettle to us through the dairy products and meat products that we consume from these sources. These pesticides are also carried with air to the human working in the field or living near the area to poison them. And most of all they are responsible for adding greenhouse gases and destroying the ozone layer.

All these factors are the reasons why people are turning more and more to the organic cotton, again, these days. The whole concept of agriculture is reverting back to as it originally started because of the fact that it was much healthier for us and the environment. Organic cotton is obtained from all natural means of production without any usage of chemicals on any level.

First of all, there are no high yielding, bio-genetically manipulated varieties used in organic cotton to achieve high yield. Then the crop is grown on circulation basis meaning that once cotton is cultivated another crop will be cultivated from the same soil to fulfill the mineral deficiency. Thirdly, the pesticides and insecticides and all sorts of chemical fertilizers are strictly off limit for certified organic cotton as they are poisonous. The result of all these restrictions is that organic cotton contains no poisonous effects that can be harmful for people wearing them. Our environment remains safe as we do not contribute in damaging ozone layer or ruining the rich soil or killing the insects that are beneficial to the cotton crop.

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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.

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Eco friendly Ideo Miranda Top

Jun-1-2009
Green Clothes

A note from a reader:

“Well, summer is finally upon us!  My favorite time of year.  But I gotta tell you, last summer did not go well for me. Do you know why? Let me tell you, if you do not have fitting summer dresses under your belt to give befitting replies to the scorching summer heat, you are gone! That’s exactly what had happened with me in the last summer. I was having a pair of good brown-colored Miranda tops, exclusively kept for my vacation. But the whole experience proved to be so terrifying, you know and consequently, I became horribly frustrated wearing it. I developed so many rashes on my skin! I don’t know from where the dress was purchased by my dad! I feel pity for him! I can’t blame him. He was actually not aware of the eco friendly clothes that are now days available to take care the young girls, like me!

After experiencing the disastrous dress disturbance, I, along with my father, was then searching for an accommodative eco friendly cloth for me. And then we found this lovely light-orange coloured Miranda Top I am wearing now. It is so nice, so fitting to me, always gives so much of pleasure and comfort that you can’t imagine wearing an ordinary top. And, believe me, after experiencing the beauty of an eco friendly cloth, I will never go back to my old wardrobe full of eco alarming dresses. I suggest you also should not!

The Miranda Top I purchased that day was not the only piece available in the store; but it was definitely a unique piece. Besides, the dress was available under different varied shades and textures. Each one of them was so demanding! I also purchased another piece for my sister. She too joined me in celebrating bringing eco friendly clothes in our household. The salesperson asked only $32.00 for my exquisite Miranda Top manufactured by Ideo, using 100% organic cotton fabric. I don’t think, I will ever get such an economically eco-friendly dress material for me! The dress is machine washable and needs no special care in order to maintain it’s eco friendly nature – what else you want! The top is not only an earth-friendly piece – it is stylish too! When I go out wearing the figure-flattering wrap style Miranda Top, I too look natural!

Thanks for bringing us all the great info about organic cotton and other eco-friendly clothing!!”

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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.

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Why we love the Big O: Organic Cotton!

Apr-14-2009
Eco Fabrics

No, I’m not talking about Oprah!  Although, we love her too!

You probably already know that cotton is most widely used crop in the worldwide textiles industry. Among the largest producers of cotton are China, the United States, India, and Turkey. However, along with the increasing demand for this crop come many heavy environmental consequences. A huge portion of these eco problems arise from the farming and harvesting of cotton as well as the manufacturing of cotton fabrics. In line with these growing global concerns, a healthier and greener alternative to clothing is making waves today – organic cotton!

What is organic cotton, anyway? If you have heard about organic veggies and meats at your local grocery store, then the same environmental principle applies with organic cotton. It has been a reported trend that farms today are going “green” with their agricultural practices, and in a way, giving the environment a break from all the toxins it’s been taking in over the years. Organic cotton is farmed in the most ecological way, without the use of harmful pesticides, genetically modified varieties, or synthetic chemical fertilizers.

Why should people opt to go “green” and choose organic cotton? Because cotton is a very in-demand crop worldwide, there is a huge dependency for farmers to use newer irrigation methods, diesel fueled machinery, as well as unnatural chemicals, herbicides, and pesticides to keep their cotton crops growing. Even in the tilling method for cotton farming, a significant percentage of land is eroded into the water systems, as reported by the Journal of Environmental Quality. The loss of soils poses a huge problem for many ecosystems. In Australia, environmental reports also mention that the massive amounts of synthetic nitrogen fertilizers used in cotton farms contribute highly to greenhouse gases. With the farming of organic cotton, however, these issues are avoided.

Organic cotton farms do not use artificial irrigation systems, and their crops are rain-fed. This greatly aids the efforts to conserve water, as well as reduces the risk of chemical leaching from irrigation systems to rivers and lakes. Also, organic cotton is harvested by hand, thereby removing the need for heavy machinery that use petroleum and that emit tons of carbon dioxide.

Another plus side of organic cotton is the issue of health safety. Since these fibers are all-natural, they are the best choice for baby’s clothing. As a matter of fact, even the farmers who work with organic cotton are kept away from health risks, as they are not exposed to toxic chemicals and noxious gases in their work place. I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating here: The cotton needed to make just one regular (non-organic) cotton t-shirt requires almost 5 ounces of carcinogenic pesticides! That’s what you’re putting on your kids’ backs each morning!

There are alternatives now. There are many shops that sell organic cotton shirts, pants, linens, and other products. Some people would admit that the emerging fashion trends of today are leaning towards the “green” side. This can be seen from major global brand names promoting organic cotton such as Nike, Nordstrom, Wal-Mart, Patagonia, Marks and Spencer and many more. Reports claim that the demand for organic cotton is expected to drastically increase over the next few years. One can only begin to imagine how good this will be for the “green” movement.

So you see, cotton can do more than just be a soft material that feels good when worn. All around the world, massive environmental efforts in terms of farming for cotton and other crops are underway. Organic cotton, and green clothing will not only make you look good, but will also make the earth feel good, too. When you make a move to support organic cotton, you also give the environment more room to breathe, today, and for many generations to come. That, probably, is the best thing about wearing “green”!

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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

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Green Clothes for Your Babies!

Apr-2-2009
Green Clothes

OK.  Let’s face it.  As green as we try to be personally, sometimes we get sucked in by “OMG, I know it’s just ordinary cotton, but it’s amazing therefore I MUST have it!” kinda spell.  Then we wear it with a mild inflection of shame, knowing we look fabulous and hoping that somehow that will assuage the guilt of donning that which we know is neither good for the health of our own bodies or the environment.  BUT… when it comes to our kiddos, Katy bar the door!  “No pesticide infused fiber will grace the back of MY child!” since of course, we already all know about the carcinogenic properties therein.

So today, I’m going to bring you a few articles and stores that I found interesting and inspiring.  They offer what we don’t yet offer here at Greenclothes.org.  But even if we did, heck, it’s only fair that we share the love with our fellow greenies!  Enjoy!

  • Creating a Non-toxic Nursery For Your Baby | Focus Organic.com – Newborns spend a large portion of their early life in their nursery, so keeping it as healthy as possible is an important task. Creating a non-toxic environment for your baby can help to reduce their exposure to chemicals. …
  • Brown bag lunches your kids will eat!- The first edition of this post was so popular last year, and is still bringing me search traffic (hi Googlers! Welcome to MomCooks!) that I am reposting the recipes along with some new information. Ever since my oldest son started …
  • organic, eco-friendly diaper cakes – weird title? yes, i know. i was clicking around etsy yesterday when i found this really strange, really cool product: organic diaper cakes created by etsy user babydaysdiapercakes. talk about an interesting find! …
  • eco-friendly swimwear – summer is coming and it’s time to start thinking swim suits. if you’ve been getting in shape over the winter (or even if you haven’t!) a nice swimsuit can be a treat. head to the beach this summer in eco-conscious swimwear and you’ll …

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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.

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