Here’s the irony: fashion is short-lived while fabric and pollution are not.
After all of the inspiration, design, and excitement pass, the clothes remain. Heavy Flannel, Acid-washed denim, Break dancing pants. They’re out there still, in closets, thrift stores, and land fills. Eco-savvy fashion choices mean not only reducing post-consumer refuse, but also pre-consumer waste and pollution.
After its origins on the farm, forest, or oil field, each jacket spent some time morphing into its present form. What chemicals were used to grow it? Were the dyes safe? As more designers and manufacturers create with eco-concerns in mind, it’s easier to find satisfying answers. Through smart wardrobe management and consumer choices, you can cut down on closet clutter, support clean industry, and look fabulous.
The FAQs below provided by TreeHUgger will help you navigate all of the terminology and find the best ways to Make a Difference Starting With Your Wardrobe.
1.Shop with a plan
When you bring an article of clothing into your life, its kind of like adopting a dog or cat. That cute little number has to have a place in your wardrobe, and you’re agreeing to provide for and give it the longest possible life with you. Abandoning the impulse buy may sound boring, but how exciting is a closet full of stuff that doesn’t work? In the long run, knowing what you’re looking for before you shop will save time and eliminate clutter. You’ll get more use out of a piece that looks and feels great: What colors work for you? What fits work the best? How will the piece get along with everything else in the closet? If the answer to “Will I still want to wear this rhinestone-studded bustier in two years?” or “Can I eventually find a way to use it in a craft project?” is no, skip it
2. Love your duds
Whatever you’ve chosen, take good care of it. When you get home, change out of work gear and into your famous dressing gown or leisure suit. Don’t cook or check the tire pressure in clothes you want to wear in public. Learn how to sew a button back on, or how to coax a nimble friend into doing it for you. Get the name of a local tailor or seamstress for major repairs or alterations.
3. Don’t go dry
Though the industry has improved much since 1992, there is still a high likelihood that your trusty corner cleaner uses perc (tetrachloroethylene), a known carcinogen. See if there is a local green cleaner employing “wet cleaning” or liquid CO2 techniques. Many articles whose tags ask for the dry clean treatment can actually be hand washed, especially silk, wool and linen.
4. Buy vintage or used
People unload clothes for all types of reasons, and you know that adage about trash and treasure. From Oscar-worthy vintage dresses to Freecycled denim, you can likely find the piece you’re looking for second hand. You’ll be giving a cast-off garment a second life, and possibly supporting charitable work in the process. See Dust Factory for more.
5. Wash well
Washing wreaks the most havoc of all. It requires lots of water and energy, so only do it when you absolutely need to and have a full laundry load. Turn articles inside out and use the lowest temp possible. If you know you glowed all over a piece, make a thin salt paste and soak the affected fabric for a half hour before washing. Choose phosphate-free and biodegradable detergents and line dry as much as possible. Treat stains quickly with nontoxic removers. If you’re buying a new washing machine, look for one with an Energy Star label.
Though cotton is marketed as clean, fresh, and natural, conventional varieties are anything but. It takes a third of a pound of chemical fertilizers and pesticides to produce the cotton for one T-shirt! That means lots of direct, unhealthy exposure for farmers and nearby wildlife, and heaps of unnecessary pollution. Luckily, organic cotton is becoming easier and easier to find. As mega-stores get into the game, however, it’s important to stay vigilant about what organic means, so you know you’re really getting clean clothes. Also know that though the cotton may have been organic to start with, your T may be full of processing chemicals and metal-laden dyes. See below for more info on labeling and certification.
7. Find a re-construction
A re-construction garment used to be another or many other articles. Designers all over the globe have taken on this transformative challenge in recent years, with very wearable results. This means a one-of-a-kind look for you, a new life for old fabric, and a livelihood for maverick re-users. See Particle Clothing for More.
8.Approach new fabrics with skeptical enthusiasm
No doubt you’ve heard the hype around bamboo, soy, or even corn fabric. The idea of finding alternatives to petrochemical-based and conventionally grown options makes us all perk up and we see why many eco-conscious designers are excited about them. Bamboo, for instance, sounds great: it’s a fast-growing plant, not reliant on chemicals, and beautifully drapes the human form. Trouble is, bamboo plantations can displace native forests, and the harvesting and fiber processing are often polluting and unregulated. As with soy, corn, and Tencel (which comes from trees), the processing from plant to fabric is energy and resource intensive. For now, approach these as alternatives to poly, nylon, acrylic or conventional silk and await more info. As always, shop with a plan: don’t fill multiple shopping bags just because the labels say “eco.” Read more about fabric choices below.
9.Choose clothes that work for you
It’s hard to feel beautiful in your raw silk dress when it’s likely that children’s scalded hands were part of the production chain. Conventional clothing might not say it, but clothing made under fair-wage and labor practices will usually advertise it. SweatShop Watch and Behind The Label are good sources of info. See more resources below.
10.Don’t throw it all away
Finally, a stain, a tear, or changing fashion threaten to separate you from your favorite dress shirt. Don’t just abandon your old friend to the waste-stream! If the condition is perfectly good, you can always donate or Freecycle it (see below for donation resources).
1. Speak up
Tell your favorite boutique or department store that you want clean fabric or re-used options.
2.Get it re-made
Once you have a tailor or seamstress, take in last year’s clothes for an overhaul. That stained sweater could become a cardigan, and that too-tight dress, a skirt.
Get together with pals for fizzy drinks and a clothing swap. If it’s new to you, it’s new for your friends as well.
Join the Organic Consumers Association’s Clothes for a Change Campaign.
5.Make donating a snap
Planet Aid places bins in convenient places to make donating old wearables easy. Is it easy for people to donate in your community?
THE FACTS ABOUT RECYCLED CLOTHING
1. The average American throws away about 68 pounds of clothing and textiles per year.
2. 10% of all agricultural chemicals and 25% of insecticides in the U.S. are used to grow cotton.
3. It takes almost 1/3 of a pound of chemicals (pesticides and fertilizers) to grow enough cotton for just ONE T-shirt
4. Seven of the fifteen pesticides used on cotton are considered “possible”, “likely”, “probable”, or “known” human carcinogens (acephate, dichloropropene, diuron, fluometuron, pendimethalin, tribufos, and trifluralin) according to the US Environmental Protection Agency.
5. Some studies have shown that organic farmed soils have a better ability to absorb and retain carbon, which would be beneficial in the fight to reduce global warming.
6. Organically grown crops also use less fossil fuel than conventional crops, another benefit in the fight to reduce global warming.
7. Pesticides are suspected to be responsible the severe drop in honeybees, the increase in frogs with extra legs and eyes, and annual death of 67 million birds.
8. The U.S. textile “recycling industry” (which actually re-purposes rather than recycles), with some 2,000 companies, removes annually from the solid waste stream 2.5 billion pounds of post consumer textile product waste.
1.What makes clothing organic?
Organic clothing comes from all-natural materials (no synthetics like polyester or rayon) and there are no pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, rodenticides, radiation, or genetically modified organisms used when growing the cotton/hemp/linen, or whatever plant we’re talking about.
Organic certification is complicated. According to the Organic Trade Association, organic cotton is grown in 12 countries, with Turkey and the United States leading the pack. There are a number of certifying bodies around the globe including: Demeter (Europe), KRAV (Sweden), Naturland (Germany), SKAL (Netherlands), The Soil Association (England), The Japan Organic Cotton Association, The International Natural Textiles Association (Germany), the USDA, and more. The International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) strives to create international standards, and certifies the certification schemes of individual nations.
The Institute for Market Ecology provides on-location certification on behalf of many of the organizations listed above, and according to the Organic Cotton Blog, is certifying Walmart’s and Sam’s Club cotton.
The Organic Trade Association has developed certification for fiber processing. What does this mean? Clothes certified organic will arrive having been processed, dyed, transported, etc. in the most non-toxic manner possible.
What are the various meanings of “sustainable” and “organic” clothing? Check out this informative examination from the Organic Clothing Blog. The Fiber and Fabrics section in general is a great place to learn about hemp, wool, bamboo… And the associated Lotus Organics Clothing, Fiber and Fashion glossary contains most of the fiber definitions you would ever need.
So now you know.
“Every generation laughs at the old fashions, but follows religiously the new.” Henry David Thoreau.
There are a few designers from the seventies that set the trends for decades to come.
These designers were cutting edge for their time and their creations and designs are still being used today by contemporary designers around the world. With the eighties moving by, the seventies is looking like it is going to be the next big thing in Vintage Clothing.
Let us take a look at some of the movers and shakers from this era:
Vintage Seventies Designers
Roy Halston Frowick was a definitive designer of the seventies who created nearly every popular dress that you saw on the dance floor. His draped and free moving construction of his garments without buttons or zippers made them perfect for the dance floor. The halter and the shoulder style dress were hands down his most replicated pieces. Halston designed for many of the celebrities back in the seventies and was one of the first major designers to license his name, making his clothes more accessible tot he masses.
Italian Fashion Designer Ottavio Missoni was best known for knitwear with their bold, bright space dyed weave patterns.The Missoni zig zag pattern knit is easily recognizable in today’s fashion. It is used on everything from scarves, caps, dresses and outerwear.
Diane von Furstenberg
Von Furstenberg will most likely always be noted as the designer who invented the jersey wrap dress which soon became a wardrobe necessity. The Kimoni inspired wrap dress is Von Furstenberg trademark dress, she was influential to all dress designers establishing a standard for the ease and comfort in woman’s clothing for decades to come.
Thea Porter is a half English, half French clothing designer that was inspired by traveling the world when she was young. She translated her multi cultured ethnic experiences into her designs that inspired the bohemian look that was popular in the mid seventies. Her career as a designer began with her own extensive clothing collection and a middle eastern import store on the fashion streets of London. There she designed a number of different caftans, maxi dresses that were all very accessible and stylish.
Bill Gibb was famous for mixing prints, textures and embellishments with ethnic, medieval, and romantic flare. This made Gibb a tremendous influence of the “hippie” style of clothing that became popular in the 70’s. Gibb was influenced by a close friend and artist/textile designer Kaffe Fassett who inspired the wild use of colors and patterns that you see in his designs.
These designers all left their mark on fashion for years to come. Many of the vintage pieces that we collect today from the seventies were inspired by these designers. If you ever run across and origional piece I would recomend holding onto it, you never know when you will have the opportunity to get an item like that again.
Most of us by now should be making our own soil by composting our left over scraps and papers. We know that compost can be beneficial to our gardens, but did you know it can also play a part in making more sustainably-designed furniture? That is exactly what Israel-based designer Adital Ela of S-Sense Design found out when creating Terra, a line of furniture that’s made entirely out of compost, which she actually cultivates and gathers near her studio.
Ela calls herself a “designer-gatherer” becasue she creates stools, cups, lampshades and other pieces of furniture by blending organic matter like vegetation, dirt and various fibers in a proportional recipe, and molded using compression, provided by her feet. According to Ela’s research, the foot-mixing technique for earth-based construction is quite old, being used in ancient times in places like Iran, Iraq and Palestine.
On FastCo.Design, Ela describes how she first got the idea for making these biodegradable works when sipping a cup of chai tea in a clay cup:
I was absolutely fascinated by the way those sun-dried clay cups were tossed to the ground and blended back to become earth again within minutes. Seeing this, I started asking myself, ‘How can products, like people, come from dust, and to dust return?’
This strikes a chord with us at Dust Factory because things are very much the same in the textile industry.
There are interesting implications in Ela’s project because not only are these materials available everywhere, the time-honoured technique is something that anyone can use to create their own low-impact and easily recyclable furniture. In developing her methods, Ela realized that her own grandmother built ovens in the past using similar techniques.
Find Out More at S-Sense Design
Vintage Clothing From the Past
If we had the opportunity to go back twenty years there is a good chance that we could predict what the kids, or want to be hipster would be wearing today. Over the past ten years vintage stores have been on the rise. However each store is unique catering to the taste of the buyers for each vintage shop. As Vintage Clothing Wholesalers we have been in the industry for the past 12 years inventing ways to supply clothing to these retro clothing buyers worldwide. We have watched the trends come and go, watched the buyers come and go, watched new countries get into vintage clothing, and other countries get out of it. Over and over again we have come to the simple the conclusion that Fashion is Backwards.
There is nothing new under the sun. I guess that Pablo Picasso was right when he said “Good artists copy, great artists steal.” If this statement is true, which I have come to believe that it is, and we were to relate it to the fashion industry then we might come to the conclusion that today’s fashion designers are only good at what they do. However the vintage clothing buyers are great.
Fashion designers pretend that they are original artists with original ideas, when 95% of their designs are rehashed ideas from the past. Some of them give props to the original designers from twenty years back, but for the most past even the contemporary designers have no idea where the idea originated.
Vintage Clothing Buyers
The vintage clothing buyers on the other hand respect fashion for what it is, they respect the original designers and for their ingenuity and craftsmanship. Often turning a blind eye to contemporary designers and their cheaply made knock-offs. I guess that it would be safe to say that instead of copying their ideas, they just steal them. Not claiming them as their own design, but acting more like an art dealer, not letting the old classic pieces go by the wayside and end up in some land fill.
For the past twelve years we have learned to give respect to the dealers in the vintage clothing industry trade, not so much the fashion designers. Sure there are a handful of great designers out there, but our admiration goes to the dealers making it happen. For this reason Fashion is Backwards.