Caring about the environment isn’t just about hybrids, buying food from specialty shops and planting the free tree elementary schools give out on Earth day. Going green is soaring into the mainstream, specifically the fashion world.
Designers like J.Brand are producing organic cotton jeans for a high fashion price ringing in at over $200. William Sledd, a high hit video blogger on youtube, even talks about going green for fashion.
It’s not only for rich hippies or tree huggers. Companies like Victoria’s Secret, Target and H&M are all hitching rides on the green band wagon.
Wal-Mart’s been a front runner in the organic trend, although their clientele isn’t completely accepting. American Apparel, a new addition to The King of Prussia Mall, carries organic tees, as does Urban Outfitters.
Gillian Davis, a sophomore communication major, works at an organic boutique that specializes in skincare. “Why would you want to put anything unnatural on your body?” Davis said in reference to organic clothing.
Davis likes the eco-friendly lifestyle and makes an effort to do her part whether it be wearing a bamboo fiber shirt, organic hat or supporting the musician Jack Johnson that produces environmentally friendly merchandise.
The main material in green apparel is organic cotton. Cotton, the world’s most popular fabric, makes up most clothing items so it makes sense for organic cotton, a green substitute, to be the leader in eco-friendly attire.
The Environmental Protection Agency reported five of the top 10 pesticides used on cotton are possibly or have been proven to be cancer-causing. These chemicals get into the water and soil so it’s important to cut the use by any means.
Other green merchandise includes bamboo, hemp, recycled fabrics and the concept of repurposing is growing in popularity.
Repurposing, taking an item and using it in another way, can be shopping and revamping an old dress into a completely new look or hunting through a thrift shop.
Matt Betz, a senior business administration major, cares more about the environment in the edible genre but has hit up a used goods store. “I wouldn’t buy something new for one use,” Betz said.
Davis goes vintage. “I rock my mom’s late ’60s gear often. It gives me a unique style,” she said.
However, there’s distress. Even though many companies are taking the green trend to a blossoming height, it’s not heavily advertised in the actual stores. Magazines like Glamour and Marie Claire may be featuring Earthy brands and lines but walking into an American Apparel it’s difficult to find the products.
Students like Davis and Emily Duncan, a sophomore exercise science major, would be more likely to drop a few more dollars on an environmentally friendly item.
Betz, like other students on campus, wasn’t even aware of the damage clothing production has on the environment or that there were alternative purchasing options.
There’s an array of green choices from Oscar de la Renta runway designs, to Sam’s Club linens and recyclable Nike sneakers (used to make playgrounds with the Re- Use a show program).
Timberland provides in-depth labels including environmental effects and packages footwear with 100 percent recycled post-consumer waste (PCW) fiber with soy-based inks. Levi also uses soy- based inks and uses natural indigo dye. Buffalo Exchange is a “guilt-free fashion” haven in Philadelphia where you can buy, sell or trade new or recycled clothing (buffaloexchange.com).
“If it helps the environment, I’m all for it,” Davis said.