Does being fashionable mean ditching your green goals? Not necessarily. The fashion industry seems to have given up on the green trend, but that doesn’t mean you have to. A few years ago, designers seemed excited about the green trend and jumped on the organic cotton bandwagon. Beyond that, the slow moving ship didn’t seem to move it’s bow toward anything resembling sustainable manufacturing processes, fabrics, or making a commitment to making long lasting products. I don’t think the concept of slowing trends or making it acceptable to wear a dress more than once, even crossed the mind of the high fashion folk. Interestingly, many fashion icons have made their start being very green: re-using materials, making their own clothing, buying at thrift stores. Maybe it’s time for the industry to get back to its roots. In the meantime, here are my tips for being green, hip and high fashion.
1. Rent Couture! Bag Borrow or Steal lets you rent high end purses, watches, jewelry and accessories. This is a great way to keep your house from being cluttered, keep your wardrobe up to date, and save the planet by sharing those items with others. You can rent the items for an important job interview, event (think Romy & Michelle’s High School Reunion!) or for a longer time and then return them.
2. Buy Luxury Pre-Owned. Buying something pre-owned gives it a new life and creates less demand for manufacturing, packaging and shipping. If you’re after high end vintage items, the online auction site Portero sells premium pre-owned authentic items such as Cartier watches, Hermes bags, and Tiffany jewelry. Ebay is another obvious online source. High end consignment shops are another option, but can be tough to find. If you don’t care about designer brands, thrift and consignment shops are a great source for vintage and pre-owned clothing.
3. Buy the Best You Can Afford. This was my Nana’s rule of thumb. She didn’t buy many things, but what she did buy was something that was classic, high quality and would last. It’s much more eco-friendly to have a few items that you’ll wear for a number of years, including a few pieces of very special jewelry, than hundreds of items that fall apart or fade after a few uses.
4. Go for Classics. You don’t have to dress like a hippie (though you can) to be green. In fact, wearing classic well-made items from stores like Talbots, Ralph Lauren, Coach or Burberry can be very eco-friendly. If you buy a classic pair of great black pants you can have them for 10 years without having to replace them. I’ve got two pairs of Italian pants that I just realized are 10 years old and they’re still beautiful. The same goes for suits, jackets, shirts, etc.. If you think this will make your wardrobe too dull, buy a vintage trendy top, scarf or accessories – or better, rent them!
5. Buy Organic or Eco-Friendly Fabrics. Organic cotton is a great option and is so amazingly soft that there’s a reason to buy it, beyond just being environmentally conscious. Bamboo is another great fiber – I have the cutest hat made from bamboo yarn that is warm and isn’t itchy like wool. We joke about hemp underwear, but hemp is another wonderful, eco-friendly fabric.
Stay Tuned for Green, Hip & High Fashion, Part Two
Photo courtesy of Zimbio