FASHION designers are leaning towards green, and it’s not the colour we’re talking about. Ever since Vivienne Westwood opened up about her love of eco-fashion, it seems organic goods have never been so trendy. And now the rest of the fashion world has joined in on the eco-friendly buzz, with many designers and buyers using Fairtrade items and recycled materials in order to contribute to the environment.
The innovative move now being used by designers across the country will receive a warm welcome from environmental charities such as Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth, and will also help to raise awareness of the benefits of earth-friendly fashion.
The majority of the population understand the importance of saving the environment. Today there are millions dedicated to helping save the planet – through the means of recycling, saving energy and “going organic,” this allows almost anyone to do their part.
Although eco-fashion used to only appeal to a small minority of people, it has now become a trend of its own, with many celebrities and trend-setters snapping up the latest unique, eco-friendly pieces in a bid to become greener.
Angelina Jolie is reportedly a fan of the idea, purchasing many eco-loving garments for the Brangelina family to wear. Fashion has never been more inventive, and many high street stores have also homed in on the idea including H&M, who released their eco range ‘The Garden Collection’ in 2010, a string of fashion-forward pieces with a sustainable quality.
Although the idea of eco-friendly fashion is fantastic, is it something that everyone can wear? Green fashion is often stigmatised and considered to be dull and “hippyish.” After all, it is difficult to imagine the latest IT-piece to include ingredients like hemp or soy whilst trying to embrace the latest trends.
However designers today have become a lot more advanced in their creations by making the most of what they’ve got to create some incredibly diverse items. Fashion brand Pepe Jeans have recently introduced a new line of organic jeans, which are manufactured using an ozone technology, which reduces the amount of toxic chemicals, energy and water used in the process. UK designer Stella McCartney is also doing it, using organic cotton materials to produce many of her creations.
One of the reasons that many wanting to help out the environment via earth friendly fashion miss out, is because people are sceptical about how green their item of clothing really is. Just because the cotton jeans say they’re 100 per cent organic does that mean that they really are? And how does eco-friendly fashion truly benefit the economy?
Fashion Assistant Stacey Irvine from brand Eco Chic fashion says “Eco chic is focused on helping the environment and making people realise that old material can be beautiful and as good as any dress bought from the high street or any designer store. “The only difference is that our garments are one-off. By re-using the material that people no longer want is definitely beneficial as it helps the earth, it takes loads of years for clothing and plastic to disappear and a lot of people recycle their rubbish, why not recycle your cloths too? Vivienne Westwood is a massive fan of upcycling garments and helping the planet also. With us doing it, we’re doing our part as well.”
Eco Chic was set up through an organisation called Impact Arts, a non-charitable organisation. The fashion line helps to promote upcycling, taking old meaningful materials and making them into beautiful garments. Eco Chic has six designers from different backgrounds and the company hold what they describe as pop-up-shops, commissions and upcycling.
The Upcycling Achievement
The whole concept of upcycling can be a little confusing to those unfamiliar with the term. Stacey discusses the process of upcycling and pop-up-shops: “Upcycling is basically taking any material such as curtains, sheets, jumpers and so on and making absolutely anything out of it, for example a 1950s style dress could be made from vintage curtains. Another designer made amazing marine trousers out of old floral curtains!”
Although many fashion lines use recycled materials in particular, other eco-friendly fashion companies merely select organic fabrics such as bamboo and organic cotton to create sustainable and practical clothing which helps to reduce waste. However do the eco-friendly fashion lines always use the most innocent fabrics to create stylish items?
Stacey said: “We have had occasions where new material has had to be used if upcycled material cannot be found. We have a shopper who sources the material for us in order to assure we use recycled materials the majority of the time. Pop up shops occur once a month, which is when our company hold markets such as ‘Granny Would Be Proud.’
“We show off our ranges to the public at these markets, the last pop up show that we held was at a vintage market and a lot of people were pleased to see upcycled garments being used to create some amazing fashionable pieces that you’d probably find in high-street or designer stores.”
Many of the designs from the Eco Chic line have a specific vintage feel about them, with fifties-inspired prom dresses and hourglass silhouettes being the focal point. The fact that many upcycled garments are one-off pieces with a story behind the fabric’s, is also something that makes this a lot more interesting.
Eco fashion has sneaked its way into the mainstream and appears to have even shaken off its uncool reputation. With the expansion of green fashion, this also brings an awareness of the other different ways to save the planet however through the simple task of recycling old clothes that you no longer want, this provides an easy way to participate.
Eco Chic’s Stacey says “Upcycle your cloths to do your part in saving the environment, even if it’s a small gesture it is a massive gesture towards the planet!” So there we have it, we should have known our grannies curtains would have come in handy some day.
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