Why Eco Clothing?
Eco clothing can be made of natural fabric such as cotton, wool and linen, known as less toxic and polluting in their production process, use and disposal (they can be broken down by bacteria once they are no longer in use).
The earliest evidence of humans using fibers is the discovery of wool and dyed flax fibers found in a prehistoric cave in the Republic of Georgia that date back to 36,000 BP.
Since then, other natural fibres were found useful as resources for clothing and other applications; these can be made from:
- plants(leaf fibres as from pineapple, nettles and banana, bast fibre as from hemp, flax, fruit fibre from coconut, stalk fibre from bamboo and rice, etc)
- animal (wool, goats hair for cashmere and mohair, silk, etc)
- mineralsources (eg collagen, keratin and amber for jewelry, etc)
Eco clothing can be environmentally friendly in other ways, such as clothing made from recycled materials and plastic waste; check Lur® apparel, Patagonia®, Recover Brands® and others growing exposure in the fashion industry and consumers interest.
If you are out shopping already, check the labels and see if you can detect any of the following in the shops you are browsing:
By applying the concept of sustainability to fashion, ‘Sustainable Fashion’ can be defined as a system in which supply, production, and consumption of fashion products have been designed in a way that ensures environmental, social and economic sustainability – environmentally responsible design should ensure that fabric materials are produced in an eco friendly manner through sustainable farming methods and production processes which do not involve the exploitative of labor, especially in less developing countries.
The eco fashion industry is growing fast, however, buying new eco friendly clothing in excess and then discarding it in the rubbish bin after a few uses does not go together with its ideological message of reducing and reusing. Although sustainable clothing is made of natural materials that minimize pollution, when sent to landfills they will still add to the amount of waste which inevitably produces pollution, in one way or another.
Watch the following video on the fast fashion effect and new approaches to a more eco and ethical fashion:
EN video How to Engage with Ethical Fashion
Some companies and small local businesses are encouraging consumers to purchase as second hand or through rental systems for leasing clothes and accessories (go for a stroll in your town and you will find a second hand shop or swipe the internet to find where you can borrow your clothes or accessories – check BagBorroworSteal.com)
Eco shopping on a budget
Fast fashion is easy for consumers because it’s just that: fast and inexpensive. But it doesn’t make us happier and feeling fulfilled because we have 2 wardrobes of clothes that we rarely use…
Although the label often dictates prices, not all eco friendly clothes are expensive; check this link to know more on eco-labels with a reasonable price.
Plus, the ideas are to buy less (and to be appreciative) and to buy with more quality (take a look into your oldest clothes, that you bought ages ago but they still maintain colour, texture and is like the fibres are never-ending despite the washing processes they have been through).
What you can do
My humble advices are: buy less, more quality when you need to buy, buy second hand, educate yourself and your family and friends on how to make #smarteedecisions (smart eco & ethical decisions), research the brands (Good on You App), donate clothes you no longer wear (check local and brands initiatives to upcycle clothes) and be mindful on how you care for your clothes (storage, laundering, ironing, basic repairs, etc – more detailed info here)
If you want to be more committed, learn handweaving for example and how to upcycle old rags into fashionable garments.
We must take responsibility of our choices – we can decide how we spend our money, how our decisions should shape other´s life conditions and how we coddle what we already own.