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Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Less Chemical Fashion More Green Passion

When it comes to the world of fashion it is becoming increasingly obvious that green is the new black. Before you rush out and buy that perfect little green dress you should probably know that I am talking about the green of environmental consciousness and not the color. Many of today's leading fashion companies are introducing new environmentally friendly fashions and some are simply using environmental issues to create controversy with their ad campaigns. The truth is that we need to dig deeper than the advertisements to find fashions that are truly green. If you want to wear clothing that is truly environmentally friendly start with the textiles. A lot of techniques used in today's textile industry are having a hugely negative impact on the world around us. Start with the fibers that make up the fabric. Certain fibers are easier to produce than others. Generally the natural fibers are better because there are fewer chemicals involved in the processing, but keep in mind that not all natural fibers are environmentally friendly. Fibers such as cotton have a lengthy and difficult growing season which makes it less renewable. Both cotton and linen are difficult to process into fabrics which is why these fabrics are usually more expensive. Hemp is a fantastic material because it is easily renewable and the process to turn it into fabric is not as demanding. Using recycled fabrics is also a good idea, but you must be aware of the washes used to create the fibers within the fabrics. A fabric that is created with a chemical wash or chemical bath is usually the most harmful for the environment because the chemicals are harmful pollutants and it takes more energy to create these. Naturally spun wool is generally a good bet. Clothing labels do not usually include the processes used to create the fibers in them, but if it says 100% natural processing then it usually is. Keep in mind that these fabrics are usually more expensive because they take longer to produce and are not as easily mass-produced. Society is becoming much more aware of environmental issues and as a result many companies and brand names are taking advantage of this growing consciousness in their marketing. A well known brand of jeans introduced a very controversial ad campaign which marketed their clothing as "global warming ready" and a different jeans brand has quite recently introduced the new eco-jeans with a green label replacing their usual colour of labels. It is important to remember that these companies are in the business of making money.

The fashion industry will always reflect the attitudes of the consumer group that they cater to. As long as consumers are informed and concerned for our environment we will continue to see fashion brands taking advantage of the green attitude. This is a great thing as long as the companies keep up their end of the bargain and deliver truly green products. This means moving away from high impact technologies and finding more innovative ways to reduce waste and consumption while producing. As a consumer, if you truly want to dress in an environmentally conscience fashion, just be informed. Many of these fashion companies will try to sell a product saying that it contains 100% organic materials, but try to find out how these products were made. Organic materials are great, but products which are made with the lowest impact of technology available are even better. Most fashion companies selling green clothing will be upfront about what they are doing but there are always some that will take advantage of social attitudes to make a quick profit. One last thing to remember while dressing green, if you want to do that literally by wearing the colour green be aware that some shades of green are to be avoided at all costs.
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