Colgate Couture: “Eco-Chic”

Colgate Couture:

Lisa Maschianti

Many people associate fashion with glitz, glamour and expense; they therefore identify it with excess and waste. Fashion and the green movement are not incompatible. In fact, there are tons of exciting eco-friendly options, alternatives and ideas available in fashion right now that will leave you both looking good and feeling good about your clothes.

The organic phe­nomenon has transi­tioned from the culi­nary scene and taken the fashion world by storm. Many brands and designers, from large to small, luxury to budget-friendly, are creating lines and mer­chandise using only or­ganic cotton. The goal, of course, is to put out a healthier and cleaner product while benefit­ting the planet in the process. Organic cot­ton farming uses no synthetic agricultural chemicals, thereby pro­tecting the groundwa­ter source, soil quality, biodiversity and the cotton’s own integrity, among other things.

American Apparel and Alternative Apparel are two companies at the forefront of this effort, both offering com­plete lines of all-organic basics. T-shirts, sweatshirts, shorts, pants, socks, underwear, the occasional shift dress and even baby clothes-you name it, and they offer it organic. But, this does not mean that you are stuck wearing plain T-shirts if you want to shop organic. There are plenty of brands doing more involved things with organic cotton. Loomstate, for instance, offers a wide array of tunics and blouses, funky sweaters, a full line of denim and a couple of shoes, all using organic material. The brand has its own online shop, but also collabo­rates with retailers ranging from Target to Barney’s, so check it out no matter the state of your bank account.

Other fashion companies are interested not only in produc­ing an organic product, but also in communicating an over­all message of eco-awareness. The high-end brand Stella Mc­Cartney is famous for its organic and vegan-friendly fashions as well as for its broader green outlook. A whole section of the brand’s website is dedicated to encouraging people to go green. It posts images of beautiful natural scenery, provides a clip of the 2008 documentary Food Inc. and touts that “Stella McCartney Ltd. recycled 2,563 kilograms of paper and 1,408 of plastic” in one year.

There are still other ways you can make your wardrobe go green. One idea is the ever-trendy option of vintage, second hand, thrift store and consignment shopping. Think of it as styl­ish recycling. If you like the notion of vintage but cannot see yourself scouring the racks of the Salvation Army with any suc­cess, check out Urban Outfitters’ Urban Renewal line. Urban Re­newal is a collection of garments made from vintage and surplus fabrics repurposed to create new garments.

One more eco-conscious choice you can make is to participate in a clothing swap. As the saying goes, one man’s trash is another’s treasure. A swap could be as simple as a small gathering of your friends exchanging clothes or as structured as a formal transaction on websites like ReFashioner.com, which is a free-to-join trading website for couture-quality clothing.

Now, I am willing to admit that I am not the “greenest” person in the world. But, I have decided I am going to try to reform some of my ways. My resolve is only bolstered by the wonderfully fashionable eco-options out there.