Sunday, June 27, 2010

Eco Chic: Movement? Or Marketing?

The term Eco-chic represents a current trend merging the concepts of high-fashion, global responsibility and sustainability. This term has been circulating in main stream media for a few years now but I have often wondered if it is just a genius marketing ploy for large corporations to ride on the heels of scientific information and the global concern for our planet, to capitalize on the demise of the earth as we know it; Or is there really something to the whole Eco-chic concept as a mind set or a movement in the right direction? It seems that the latest must have fashion accessory is a social conscience and I say it’s about time! Eco chic to me is a lifestyle. To merge global awareness and living green into your lifestyle in all that you do, including how you dress.

Try these facts on:

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Council for Textile Recycling, used clothing and/or textile waste (which is also includes shoes, household linens and accessories) represents up to 5% of U.S. landfills.

According to data from the EPA ( In the US an estimated 12.4 million tons of textiles were generated in 2008, or 5.0 percent of total municipal solid waste (MSW) generation.

What about the clothing and textiles that DO sit in the landfill, besides taking up space they are toxic to the water and soil. This presents real problems as synthetic fibres do not decompose and while items made from natural fibres like cotton do, they produce methane which contributes to global warming.

According to:
"Textile waste in landfill contributes to the formation of leachate (is the liquid that drains or 'leaches' from a landfill) as it decomposes, which has the potential to contaminate both surface and groundwater sources. Another product of decomposition in landfill is methane gas, which is a major greenhouse gas and a significant contributor to global warming.

The decomposition of organic fibres and yarn such as wool produces large amounts of ammonia as well as methane. Ammonia is highly toxic in both terrestrial and aquatic environments, and can be toxic in gaseous form. It has the potential to increase nitrogen in drinking water, which can have adverse effect on humans "

SOME people are getting the message: The textile recycling industry annually prevents 2.5 billion pounds of postconsumer textile product waste from entering the solid waste stream, according to the Council for Textile Recycling.

and a UK recycling website suggests "If each person in the bought one recycled garment each year, it would save an average of 371 million gallons of water and 480 tonnes of chemical dyestuffs. (

How can YOU make an impact on the environment through fashion?

1) Buy Vintage, Used or Resale clothing. Purchasing vintage clothing and taking a look into fashion’s past is a wonderful way to recycle fashion. Choose vintage pieces and style them with the clothing and accessories that you already have. You can visit your local thrift, consignment, or on-line boutiques for vintage (pre 1989) and contemporary, previously loved clothing, shoes and accessories. Having a passion for the past and styling vintage current is also showing your respect for the future by limiting your consumption.

2) Re-Style what you already have. Take a stroll through you closet, drawers and storage facility and put your creativity to the test. Re-style new looks using the clothing shoes and accessories that you already have, thereby avoiding acquiring more. It IS possible to revamp your own wardrobe, be gentler to the environment and your wallet.

3) Donate clothes from your personal collection and pay it forward. Give someone else an opportunity to style your used clothing into their Eco chic wardrobe. Take your clothes to a consignment shop or a donation center and recycle them the same way you recycle your cans and bottles.

4) Re-purpose and re-design your clothing buy making minor alterations to make the garment new and fresh. You love your black long sleeved tunic what about removing the sleeves to give it a new appearance and style it with accessories, a bag and/or shoes you have never worn before.

The concept of Eco chic should not encourage more consumerism but inspire a lifestyle change and adaptation to a new view of your wardrobe and all it’s possibilities. This is not to say you will not or do not buy new items but give a second look at what you have. It is unrealistic to assume that you would not purchase new items or consume new clothing or accessories. However, my ECO-CHIC message is simply that you could reduce the amount you consume being gntler on the environmant, fashion-forward AND stylish! Give those creative muscles a work out and try to recycle, re-style fashion and respect the environment.

My final thoughts: Making the decision NOT to be Eco-Chic is real GARBAGE!



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