Most of us don’t know where our clothes come from, even though the label on everything we purchase is required to tell us. It isn’t uncommon to see things coming from India, Malaysia, or China. These clothes not only take more fossil fuels to get to us, but can also be produced in harsh environments where regulations on workers are not in place. In many cases these clothes are more affordable, but they pay a heavy environmental cost. Important things to be aware of when trying to buy “green” include clothing that is made in America, uses organic cotton or linen, uses recycled material like polyester or rubber, and products that are made using less energy (water, electricity, etc.) There are many brands that carry affordable options that are more environmentally friendly.
Five of The Best New Affordable Mainstream Fashion Lines
American Apparel has incorporated sustainability into their business model. Creative Reuse, an accessories and intimates collection made entirely from re-purposed and excess fabrics, shows how they see inspiration even in the scraps.
H&M is launching the Conscious Collection, a new ongoing collection for women, men and kids made with eco-friendly fabrics such as organic cotton, organic linen, recycled polyester, and Tencel (a biodegradable cellulose made from wood pulp).
Makers of the original blue jeans, Levi Strauss & Co. has been an innovator in creating eco-friendly denim, using organic cotton and natural indigo dyes. The new WaterLess Jeans line reduces water use by an average of 28% per pair (up to 96% for some of the 12 available styles) and represents the brand's commitment to turning blue jeans green.
The organic men’s and women’s casual wear brand has brought eco fashion to the masses through a limited-edition Loomstate for Target collection, and other collaborations with Vans, Bloomingdales and Barneys.
Zoe&Zac, the first collection to offer affordable green footwear for under $30—no kidding!—enlisted the help of Eco-model Summer Rayne Oakes, to help design collection that currently includes both footwear and bags made with eco-friendly materials like recycled rubber and hemp.