If back in the nineties you’d have dared suggest that in the future ‘green’ would mean ‘glamorous’, most fashionistas would have laughed you out of the room. However, style (just like attitudes) change, and it seems that the fashion world is gradually waking up to the idea that it pays the planet to be eco-friendly.
Despite this gradual shift towards eco-concern, the re-branding of green fashion has been tough. Too often, sustainable fabrics have been written off as ‘hippy-chic’, more suitable for middle-aged flower children rather than younger buyers. Today, this is changing as talented designers discover that sustainable fashion made with organic fabrics and fairly traded accessories can be both chic and sexy. Events like Paris’ Ethical Fashion Show and Esthetica in London are helping to build the buzz by proving green fashion can embrace sophisticated, eco-luxe designs.
Why Fashion Needs To Change
As the recession bites the high street fashion stores are focusing on ‘fast fashion’ to survive – the kind of cheap, disposable outfits created to be thrown away when the season ends. But though they may be profitable, cheap clothes come at a massive environmental and human cost. To make clothes as cheap as possible, many mainstream labels outsource their production to Third World Countries factories where children and adults work in poor conditions, and for little money, to make the clothes. ‘Fast fashion’ also uses the cheapest, least eco-friendly fabric possible, with dyes that can damage wildlife when they enter the water-table as well as irritating wearers’ skin.
To combat ‘fast fashion’, eco-concerned labels are fighting back with their own planet-positive lines. But in the fashion world, where image is everything, you have to prove that eco-friendly and organic clothes look good as well as feel good. This is where the power of modern celebrities comes in…
Clothes With Celebrity Appeal
Happily, as it becomes cooler to talk about climate change, celebrities are helping use their status to spread the word about eco-friendly brands. Hollywood stars like Natalie Portman have added designs to a boutique ‘vegan shoe’ range while celebrities from Sienna Miller to Cameron Diaz are happy to be snapped in magazines wearing new eco-chic creations. Some pioneering stars have gone one step further, by masterminding their own range of clothes. Most prevalent of all are Bono and his wife, who run an eco-positive clothing and accessories company based in New York. The U2 star has also vocally supported a range of high-end luxury accessories which offer a premium to Africa.
Dressing For The Future
This ongoing publicity means that consumers are starting to ask searching questions about their clothing and demanding that high-street companies become more responsible to the environment. It’s also having the effect of inspiring young design students to study the environmental impact of their work from the outset. Hopefully this ongoing movement will prove that eco-friendly fashion isn’t just a trend – but a fresh start for the entire fashion industry. Maybe one day you’ll be able to choose whatever colour you like on the shelves, as long as it’s green!