There is a growing wave of interest in green fashion sweeping around the world. Companies are responding to demand from socially conscious consumers who are looking for sustainable clothing. However in the absence of clear standards, it is hard to know who is truly making sustainable clothing and who is simply looking to cash in on sustainable demand.
Cotton is the worst and most ubiquitous culprit in the fashion world. Conventionally grown cotton is a major pollutant and it poses a serious health risk. Cotton uses more insecticides than any other single crop. Cotton producers around the world spend nearly $2.6 billion on pesticides each year. According to the Pesticide Action Network, an international organization dedicated to eliminating hazardous pesticides, this amounts to more than 10 percent of the world’s pesticides, and nearly 25 percent of the world’s insecticides. However, there is increasing interest in organic cotton which uses no pesticides or insecticides. This represents a significant improvement over traditional pesticide rich cotton textiles
Green fashion starts with sustainably sourced raw materials and organic cotton is a great example. There is a wealth of research to develop other completely organic fabrics including silk and various wools. Another important concern involves the textile manufacturing process. Though its Detox Fashion campaign Greenpeace has succeeded in encouraging more than 20 major brands to adopt more sustainable manufacturing processes.
Ultimately consumers will decide the fate of green fashion but with rising demand the future looks bright. Thanks to companies like Hessnatu and Noir, as well as a new international trade fair called The Key, green fashion is not only growing it is increasingly stylish. Eco fashion demand is more than a trend, it is part of a lifestyle movement that is pushing companies to sew sustainability into corporate cultures all around the world.
© 2014, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.
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