When people say that being green can be a “lifestyle,” they aren’t kidding. Going green can be as simple as turning off the lights every time you leave a room, using less water and just plain ol’ eating healthy. But have you ever thought about investing in an eco-friendly wardrobe?
A growing trend in the fashion industry right now is something called “sustainable fashion.” According to an article on fashionista.com, Rachel Miller, a teacher at Pratt Institute, says, “Sustainable design could mean any number of things. It could be about preserving the environment, it could be about ethics and fair wages, it could be a designer that has an interest in designing with organic materials or it may be recycling what’s already there, using recycled materials to create something new.”
There are definitely some designers out there labeling their clothing lines as “organic” or “eco-friendly.” But how do we know we can trust these brands? Be careful about the clothes you buy. Always research the products or ask the seller first.
But this doesn’t mean there aren’t people who are genuinely trying to do their part for the planet. A lot of the true, “sustainably minded” designers use organic materials like cotton and wool, hand-dye their clothing, and make use of recycled or upcycled fabrics.
According to Cheshire-Today, in the UK, Italian luxury eyewear designer MODO sells eco-friendly frames made from 95% recycled and repurposed materials. For every pair of frames bought, a tree is donated to “Trees for the Future,” a non-profit organization that helps people around the world plant trees.
Right here in Princeton, there is the up-and-coming Sustainable Fashion Initiative organization, founded at Princeton University in 2011. These Princeton students use this project to promote an eco-friendly mindset and investigate practices that will improve sustainability in the fashion industry.
There are several things you can do to maintain a greener sense of style. Instead of buying tons of clothes made from cheap materials, try to invest in some higher-quality clothes — they may be a little pricey, but they will last you much longer over time. College students on a tight budget can always consider stopping by the local consignment stores or thrift shops — you may come across some great finds for a lot less. You can save money and be more sustainable in the way you dress.
Always donate unwanted items to Goodwill, The Salvation Army or other organizations where your unwanted clothing will go to people in need. You can never go wrong with donating to charity. Don’t forget, your friendly Eco-Reps also love collecting students’ gently-used clothing. Look for boxes around campus to give your Eco-Reps those clothes to donate.
Printed in the 3/26/14 edition.