When Vanity Fair announced "green is the new black" in its May 2006 publication, it kick-started the latest fashion trend.
The environmental club at SJSU is an advocate of eco-fashion, which is a trend that involves being chic as well as aware of fashion's ecological effect.
Julia Kamoroff, co-president of the environmental club, said she supports all sustainable efforts in every aspect of life, including eco-fashion.
"Clothing is a huge industry, and impacts the environment in many ways," she said. "Transportation of goods across seas has a huge ecological impact. The materials that clothes are made from can have toxic byproducts and utilize unsustainable resources."
Sustainable fashion makes a difference on the environment by decreasing the use of fossil fuels for transportation and using more "natural" materials and less-toxic dyes, Kamoroff said.
The Sustainable Technology Education Project - a project aimed toward increasing people's awareness of sustainable technology - defines sustainable fashion as clothes made in regards to the environmental, humans and the conditions for those who work in the industry, according to the Sustainable Technology Education Project Web site.
For an item to be considered eco-friendly, it must be organic, recycled, fair-trade certified and free of animal products, according to the Eco-fashion World Web site.
More and more designers are taking into consideration the environment and those who live in it by producing eco-fashion lines. Designers such as Oscar de la Renta and Stella McCartney have created eco-fashion lines for the runway and the everyday. McCartney has a line of organic T-shirts that are made in Africa, using fair-trade certified organic cotton. De la Renta's Chase line features chic handbags made of discarded materials from men's suits.
Deborah Lindquist and Bahar Shahpar are green designers who create clothing out of recycled garments and low agricultural impact materials that are naturally or organically produced, according to the Positively Organic Web site.
Organic cotton and wool are examples of low impact materials. Organic cotton is nickel-free, has low impact chemical dyes and doesn't contain heavy metals. Organic cotton only has a low environmental impact but is safer for people with allergies and sensitivities, according to the Positively Organic Web site.
Celebrities such as Sophia Bush and Gavin Rossdale have been seen wearing vintage scarves and repurposed kimonos by Lindquist, according to the Tree Hugger Web site. Alicia Silverstone's and Heather Hills' favorite Shahpar pieces entail intricate details of shell buttons and vintage trim, according to the Tree Hugger Web site. Sharon Stone, Hayden Panettiere and Gwen Stefani have also been spotted sporting sustainable garments, Tree Hugger reported.
Examples of environmentally friendly clothing boutiques contributing to the green movement include two well-known, eco-friendly apparel boutiques in California - Eco Citizen and Avita Co-Op.
Bay Area Eco-Industry
Eco Citizen is nestled on Russian Hill in San Francisco. The boutique is owned and operated by Joslin Van Arsdale and features eco-friendly merchandise and organic hemp clothing.
Arsdale said she started Eco Citizen because she had the desire to help people and to contribute to the well-being of the world.
"I am interested in clothing that is made in factories that does not exploit people and that takes into account the well being of the earth," Arsdale said.
The store's mission is to support the planet and the people, while advocating and enforcing "fair trade practices, sweatshop-free merchandise and organic fashion products," according to the Eco Citizen Web site.
"I make sure none of my garments are products of child and slave labor and all are certified fair-trade labor," Arsdale said. "This includes organic cotton, recycled materials, recycled metals such as gold and silver for the jewelry."
Eco Citizen is the first boutique to offer high-end, fair-trade fashion based in the Bay Area - the center of the green movement Arsdale said.
Stewart + Brown, TOMS Shoes and Linda Loudermilk are all green designers featured at Eco Citizen.
Stewart + Brown is known for its certified organic cotton apparels that are free of pesticides and herbicides.
TOMS Shoes offers vegan footwear that contains no animal products.
Linda Loudermilk's line is clothing made from sustainable materials such as sasawashi, sea cell and other self-sustaining plants.
Eco Citizen is approved for people and the planet by Green America, a nonprofit membership organization dedicated to encouraging social justice and environmental sustainability, according to its mission statement.
"Eco Citizen promotes a lifestyle choice that goes beyond the traditional allure of fashion, by transcending the self through transparent business practices, while providing fashion-forward and classic clothing for the 21st century woman," Arsdale stated on the store's Web site.
The store offers apparel for men and women, as well as eco-friendly accessories and shoes. The boutique offers a variety of handbags, including a small clutch made of woven recycled magazines. The clutch is fashionable and functional and the perfect size for cell phone, makeup and keys. For $36, customers can rock a fabulous clutch while reducing their carbon footprint.
"Eco-friendly clothing is any garment that takes into account the people and the planet," Arsdale said. "It feels good to know that the items I sell are not only well designed, but also fair trade, organic and sustainable. To know this gives me a purpose."
Avita Co-Op is located in Los Angeles. According to its Web site, the store is dedicated to supporting the emergence of eco-brands that fit the Los Angeles lifestyle.
"We hand select every brand and every piece with our knowledge and heart," said Amanda Shi, owner and designer of Avita Co-Op on the store's Web site. "We are about styles and eco. The brands that are in this celebrity-driven store have to be eco, emerging, and evolutionary."
The boutique offers clothing and accessories for men and women, as well as bath and beauty products and home accents. Great finds include the "gifts under $50" selection, which features cosmetic bags, perfume candles, body cream and jewelry. A popular item among Avita Co-Op customers is the Avita V-neck raglan top, which is a blouse made of bamboo jersey.
Organic bamboo fiber is antibacterial as well as biodegradable, which makes it nature's most sustainable resource, according to the Bamboosa Web site. The $149 blouse comes in three colors - white, black and maroon.
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