Monday, December 17, 2007

"Green" Fashion Reconsidered

When it comes to being environmentally friendly, talk is cheap. That is the point of this New York Times article deconstructing the current trend of "green" fashion.

For instance,

When you only look at the raw materials to ask if something is really green, you are like the blind person holding the tail of the elephant,” said Chris Van Dyke, chief executive of Nau, a three-year-old outdoor clothing line founded on the principle of sustainable practices throughout its production cycle, including the ecological costs of shipping and caring for garments. “There’s a whole lot of other factors you need to assess.”

The point of the article? Before purchasing something just because it is green, you need to do your research. For instance, hemp and bamboo fabrics are typically promoted as eco-friendly alternatives because they are raised without pesticides and grow much faster than cotton, but they are naturally tough fibers that are usually softened with harsh chemical treatments before being woven, which causes more pollution.

Granted, everything is a compromise and nothing will ever be 100% green, but at least we can all educate ourselves and make the best possible choices. However, it's also important to remember that perhaps the greenest clothing is the stuff you already own - buying fewer high quality pieces, taking good care of them, and wearing them for as long as possible might be the most environmentally friendly choice of all. So next time you're craving a fashion fix, "shop in your closet" and try to mix and match things in a new way or rediscover old favorites. Hey, you're being green and you're saving money!


WendyB said...

I liked that article. People are getting too self-righteous about buying "green" and they have no idea what really goes into the product. I have no problem with a product that has good and bad points to it. I'm more annoyed by smug consumers who see everything black and white.

The Fashionable Kiffen said...

Definitely! I'm sick of the self-righteous "green-ness" too.