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Recycled clothing…Green Fashion…by Patagonia???

Kelly Ann Schneider
Oct 22, 2009

Yes, you read that right! We all know Patagonia, the company that makes great outdoor clothing, especially fleece jackets. And now, Patagonia has become a recycler of scrap resources and a leader in “going green” as a result. Did you know that back in 1993 the outdoor clothing company was the first company to make fleece products from recycled plastic soda bottles? From 1993-2006, Patagonia saved some 86 million soda bottles from the landfills. Since soda bottles are a derivative product of oil, the reduction in oil imports is enough to fill a 40-gallon gas tank some 20,000 times.

Now, Patagonia recycles not only used soda bottles, but also old, worn out fleece garments into polyester fibers to make many clothes. In 2005 Patagonia launched the world’s first garment recycling program where you can recycle your old worn out fleece and today Patagonia offers a new line of clothing called “Common Thread” made from recyclable fleece. The line includes fleece jackets, tees, even boardshorts. One such jacket, the Synchilla Snap-T pullover is made of 86% recycled polyester. Now that’s a lot of recycling! And when you’ve worn it out, send it back, for recycling!

Patagonia deserves a big pat on the back for reducing our dependence on oil, reducing landfill, promoting clothing recycling and creating an cleaner environment, which is all part of their mission statement to take environmental responsibility. Further, Patagonia is a great example for other clothing manufacturers and retailer to go green. If you want to participate, mail in or drop off your worn out fleece to Patagonia; details at

Green Glamour - Fashion with a Conscience

by Amanda Quraishi, Austin TX

Eco-style is all over the runways! In the past ten years the increasing concern about the environment has finally found a voice in the fashion industry.

It used to be that anyone who wanted to dress in an eco-conscious manner was limited to hippie-inspired hemp sandals and tie dyed t-shirts with little concern for the world of haute couture.

Now, thanks to designers like Stella McCartney, Bahar Shapar, Anna Cohen and Linda Loudermilk, women can be both fashionable and proclaim their love the earth! These designers are committed to using fabrics and trimmings that are bio-based, recycled, and cruelty-free. Organic cotton, hemp and soy are used in place of silk or wool. The fabrics are purchased by manufacturers who are committed to sustainable practices; and the garments are made using free-trade by ethically sound companies.

Thousands of smaller companies and independent designers have taken their cues from these trendsetters, selling their fashions on websites like Ebay, Etsy and Catwalk Genius. With internet marketing and sales, indie designers have the ability to startup and sell items globally with very low overhead which makes their venture even more sustainable.

Green fashion shows have had a great deal of attention from within the fashion industry, and from celebrities who are leading the way promoting sustainable lifestyles. Hollywood starlet Natalie Portman is arguably one of the most fashionable people on the planet. Her strict vegetarian lifestyle leaves no room for fur, feathers or leather in her wardrobe. She brought her passion to the world of fashion design this year by launching a vegan shoe line at Te Casan. Other celebrities like Leonardo Di Caprio, Cameron Diaz, and Brad Pitt are strong activists for ecologically based charities, and make a point of buying and wearing things that don’t conflict with their beliefs. All this adds up to lots of great endorsements for the green style trend.

As consumers become more and more aware of the possibilities, there is sure to be an even greater number of designers cropping up to give people what they really want: Fashion with a conscience.

What are your “green” clothes made of?

by Amanda Quraishi, Austin TX

Sustainable fabric is just one element of a rapidly expanding industry for “green” fashion. The definition of the word sustainable in regard to fashion has been debated and often misused, but according to the Institute for Market Sustainability and Transformation (MTS) there are five main areas on which a garment can be rated for its overall sustainability:

  • Safety for Public Health and Environment
    Is the garment manufactured in a way that causes damage to the environment, or to individuals who are working in and around the production area? Are there chemicals and other toxins that are created or used in the process?
  • Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency
    Is the garment manufactured in a manner that uses renewable energy or that is energy efficient?
  • Biobased or Recycled Content
    Is the garment made of biologically natural or recycled materials (as opposed to synthetics/petroleum based)?
  • Facility or Company Based
    What are the manufacturing company’s overall environmental policies? Does the company maintain transparency in its post-industrial and post-consumer practices?
  • Reclamation, Sustainable Reuse, & End of Life Management
    Is there a practice in place? Does the company take responsibility for the product during its entire lifecycle, including collection and disassembly?

    As you can see, these standards reach far beyond the definition of organics where the materials have been grown without chemicals or pesticides. Sustainable fabrics are those that have been grown, manufactured, sold, and reclaimed responsibly throughout their entire lifecycle.

    It is true that for the average customer, it is hard to know if you’re buying an item that fits all of these criteria, but responsible consumerism sometimes means going the extra mile. Asking questions of the stores where you’re buying your clothing can yield some information. You can also write or email manufacturers to ask about their sustainability practices. You can also check to see if the products have been certified by an independent third party, which is something that should be found on the tag or label.

    By demanding clothing and household goods that are made from non-toxic, sustainable fabric, consumers are playing an important role in bringing a much-needed change to the global marketplace.

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