Saturday, June 13, 2009

Q&A: Is There Such Thing As Stylish Eco Clothing?

Definitely! Especially now that more designers and manufacturers are recognizing the significance of organic and eco friendly fibers, there is a wide range of styles and designs at a variety of price points just as with non-eco-friendly fashion.

It's a myth to think that organic and eco friendly clothing doesn't have as much stylish design, or rugged "outdoor living" feel, or performance characteristics as most other clothing.

Organic fibers can even have some advantages over non-organic fibers. For example, many people, when first exposed to organic cotton clothing, remark at how soft it is and notice a distinct difference to non-organic cotton. This results from the organic cotton fibers not having been treated with the variety of harsh chemicals that are typically used in the processing of non-organic cotton.

Also, some eco friendly fibers are offering a really soft feel and wonderfully comfortable drape such as in bamboo and Tencel® clothing. Hemp clothing often offers a stylish "outdoor living" comfort for a casual day around town.

Stylish details noticeable in organic apparel collections are very much the same as those that distinguish collections on a runway. Necklines that vary from rounded to V to square; sleeve lengths from short to long and three-quarter in between; and lightweight tissue-knit cotton to everyday jersey-style cotton for varying degrees of softness. You'll also find pointelle stitching and raw-edge seeming for simple trendy touches; and buttons, pockets, cuffs and pleats that make the simplest eco clothing pieces come to life like any other.

Current style trends showcased in fashionable eco clothing include ruffle-trimmed blouses, puckered bandeau sundresses, tunic tops that double as mini dresses, and bubble hems that flatter every figure.

Eco apparel is also not just neutrals and earth tones, as the stereotype would like to report. Many manufacturers of eco clothing are using low-impact, water-based and environmentally friendly dyes (look for certifications, not all eco fabrics use safe dyes) to add vibrance and appeal. Collections mix and match prints with solids while varying fabric knits and weights to add even more stylish touches.

As with non-eco fashion, you'll find a wide range of price points and styles within many eco lines. Some clothing companies just start with a few pieces of organic and eco friendly clothing out of their entire line while other designers like Jonano, Beckons Organic, Dash Hemp, and Kate Organic use these fabrics throughout their entire collection. These fashion lines are all great examples of stylish organic and eco clothing at a great range of prices.

The bottom line is you can find all the stylish and fashionable elements in organic and eco friendly clothing that's fun and healthy for you and the environment.

Ed Mass is President and Founder of Yes It's Organic, an online store for Organic, Fair Labor, and Eco Friendly Green clothing including organic clothing for adults to organic baby clothes, organic bedding, organic sheets, organic towels, sustainable furniture, organic logo shirts and promotional products for organizations wanting to improve their environmental footprint, and more. After being an environmentalist for over 40 years, including designing solar energy systems in the 1970s, Ed decided to participate more directly in growing the organic, fair labor and eco friendly industries by educating consumers and influencing their buying habits.