Green Clothes

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Hamnett’s Ethical Fashion Show

Eco Fashion Events

Last summer Katharine Hamnett, one of Britain’s most popular style gurus, sold denim jeans with a difference. It wasn’t their style that was unique, nor their color. Instead, the uniqueness lay in the fabric – they are manufactured from organic cotton. They cost slightly more than the non-organic variety, but their cost in terms of environmental protection is phenomenal. People, from buyers to distributors alike, flocked to Hamnett’s fashion show, to get a sampling of the variety of environmentally responsible fashion offered by her – and they weren’t disappointed.

Hamnett is one of the first designers in Europe to explore the potential of organic cotton. She has produced an entire range of green fashion, employing un-bleached, un-dyed cotton. Katharine Hamnett is alarmed about the fabrics currently used in the fashion industry and has been keenly developing more environmentally friendly fabrics. She showcased her collection in the ‘Ethical Fashion Show’ in Paris, which offers a platform for environmentally friendly designers from around the world to showcase their clothing and accessories. Katharine Hamnett’s clothing line is made entirely out of cotton, untreated wool or linen, containing no pesticides or other harmful chemicals like conventional clothing does.

The first ‘Ethical Fashion Show’ was held in 2004. Now an annual event, up to 50 designers show to the increasing number of distributors who want to sell designs that are ethically produced and environmentally friendly. Due to such efforts, the textile industry, one of the largest manufacturing industries around, is looking greener these days. There are more and more options available for choosing sustainable clothing that is environmentally responsible. Where earth-friendly clothing was once mild in color and design, today’s designs incorporate bright bold colors with professional and trendy styles that blend in with the other garments strutting down the catwalk.

Clothing is a process that starts with either renewable or non-renewable feedstock, which is treated and woven, dyed, and sewn to produce a piece of clothing. The clothing may have started out as a fossil fuel, or a cotton plant, with many workers and manufacturing and transportation processes along the way. Most synthetic threads like polyester are made from petroleum, a non-renewable resource that even during the refining process produces contaminants.

A lot of fashion designers in the contemporary age are turning to green fashion. Edun, a company set up by Bono and Alison Hewson aims to offer a clothing line for people with a social conscience. They use organic fabrics, made up in environmentally friendly factories with ethical working conditions. Other environmentally conscious designers provide their customers a variety of options when it comes to buying and wearing responsible material.

Fashion magazines promote new styles for every season. Everybody needs clothes, but before you purchase that must-have sweater or perfect-fit pair of jeans, consider what goes into the manufacturing of those garments. Fashion can be a dirty business, but choosing clothes that are made with environmentally friendly materials ensures it doesn’t have to be that way.

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5 Sustainable Clothing Trends in Fabrics

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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