learn of those environmentally-friendly conscious service
providers and manufacturers before you decide to choose any
particular product of your choice. Evaluate services and
products for environment friendly attributes.
You'd like you product to be
non-toxic, resource and energy efficient, durable, recyclable
and repairable. As far as possible, choose products that are
made of recyclable materials that can be reused with less
wastage. Look out for Energy
Star, Energy Efficient, Environmentally suitable and Non-ozone
depleting substances in the products of your choice.
|Nowadays in fashion, the words
"eco-friendly," "organic" and
"sustainable" get bandied around a lot. Which is a
good thing. Except that sometimes it can be hard to tell the
difference between a brand that's actually helping to make the
planet a better place--and one that's just riding the eco
bandwagon with a less-than-well intentioned
"organic" label. "Yes
[companies are cashing in on consumers' growing environmental
awareness by labelling their clothes "green," without
actually changing their production process too much]," Timo
Rissanen, Parsons' Assistant Professor of Fashion Design and
Sustainability, told me. "The industry on the whole and
marketing in particular have little integrity."
"'Green', 'eco', 'sustainable' and
the rest are nice but meaningless, feel-good marketing
terms," he added.
Part of the reason why it's so hard to put
your finger on what a brand is actually doing to help the planet
is because for many of the "eco" terms, there's no one
definition. "'Sustainable design' could mean any number of
things," Rachel Miller, who teaches sustainable design in
the Department of Fashion Design at Pratt Institute, said.
"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."
And one "feel-good" marketing
term does not necessarily imply the whole gamut. For instance,
Miller explained to me, a company that uses organic cotton could
be manipulating labour laws in less than savoury ways and
likewise, items labelled fair trade are not necessarily
It's also important to remember that even
the best environmentally-friendly products will have a
less-than-great impact on the planet. For instance, trucks and
in many cases, planes, are still used to transport
"eco" goods, and even garments labelled "100%
organic" will use a polyester thread. In other words, it's
not smart to use Earth Day as a reason to go shopping--even if
it is all "eco-friendly."
"Not buying [clothing] is best [for
the environment]," Rissanen says. "Buying second-hand
is second best." But buying sustainable-designed clothes is
certainly third best. Which is nothing to poo-poo: The earth
needs all the help it can get.
But just because there is some clever (and
not necessarily altruistic) marketing going on, doesn't mean you
can't feel good about eco-fashion. And it doesn't mean there
aren't brands out there who are legitimately doing their part to
help the planet, taking a holistic approach to sustainable