A new trend is sauntering down the catwalk, and it's green. Eco-friendly fashion techniques are being used to make hip, stylish clothes, shoes and apparel. Unlike the occasional hemp woven dress or pair of vegan shoes, this socially and environmentally-conscious trend may stay, creating eco-friendly fashion benefits for the Earth, and the consumer, for a long time to come.
What makes clothing green? Eco-friendly fabrics, once difficult to find except for at a handful of niche stores, are becoming mainstream. Hemp, bamboo, and organic cotton are replacing synthetic materials and conventional cotton. Designers are learning the versatility, and efficiency of these sustainable linens. Hemp is a healthy crop for the environment, as it does not require the use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers, nor the massive amounts of water that cotton demands. The fibers are strong and durable, yet light-weight and easy to work with. Bamboo is one of the most sustainable crops on the planet, growing from inches to several feet a day. The fibers make soft, workable clothing, similar to cotton. Organic cotton is grown without the use of harsh chemicals. Other materials, such as silk and rubber are also sustainable.
Eco-friendly fashion is not merely the use of environmentally-sustainable fabrics, but the creative use of recycled materials. Chains can be turned into cutting-edge accessories. Recycled plastic and car tires can be used to make shoes. Old, vintage dresses can be remade and rediscovered.
Green fashion also implies socially and environmentally-conscious production methods. The less a material has to be processed and shipped, the better for the Earth. Natural dyes will replace synthetics. An eco-friendly product cannot be produced in a sweatshop. This will create a taste for simple, organic styles, made from efficient, worker-friendly means.