Saturday, April 4, 2009

Eco Fashion - Throwback or New Trend?

LONDON - FEBRUARY 29: (L-R) Actress Sienna Mil...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Eco Fashion - The Latest Trend by Ceri Heathcote

Lately fashions and trends change so quickly. Some people change their whole wardrobe each season to keep up with the latest high fashion look. High street shops have reacted to this by selling low cost clothing that can be bought and thrown away after just a few wears. But what impact does this consumerism have on the environment and how can we minimise this impact whilst still looking stylish?

Pesticides and cotton - Cotton is particularly prone to insect attack and so vast amounts of pesticides are used by farmers to ensure a good crop. As the insects become more tolerant to the pesticides, the farmer are forced to use more pesticides. When combined with other damaging methods of cultivation used when growing cotton, there is a significant amount of environmental damage caused including the contamination of drinking water and health risks to growers, barren and infertile soil and destruction of flora and fauna. Organic cotton is grown without the use of pesticides and with minimal environmental impact. There are also a range of other organic materials available including soy, hemp and bamboo.

Waste and landfill - The environment, food and rural affairs committee has stated that almost 30% of the waste at some UK landfill sites comprises of clothing. Much clothing is made of synthetic materials which will not break down and even the natural fabrics will produce gases such as methane contributing to global warming. Chemicals in fabrics that have been thrown away can also be washed out, contaminating water supplies. You can reduce the amount of clothing that is put into landfill by recycling, swapping and selling your old clothing and buying clothes that will last.

Textile Manufacture - Textile manufacture can be very damaging to the environment with both energy used and gas and chemical emissions produced. The manufacture of both natural and synthetic fabrics uses a variety of chemicals that can be very damaging to the local environment. You can reduce the impact of clothing manufacture on the environment by again buying clothes that will last and recycling, swapping and selling your old clothes. It is also possible to buy clothing made from old clothing and recycled materials.

Clothing distribution - There is even an environmental cost of the transportation of clothing from the place of manufacture to the UK. Most clothing is made in countries a long way from the UK and transportation will use valuable resources and fossil fuels as well as creating damaging emissions. It is possible to buy clothing that is made from hemp, grown in the UK, although at the moment there is not a huge amount of choice. The best way to minimise the environmental cost of the distribution of clothing is to buy less 'fast' fashion and instead find ways to make clothes last longer. The impact of distribution is also reduced by buying or swapping second hand clothes in the UK instead of buying new.

There are many ways that you can reduce the impact of your clothing on the environment whilst still looking stylish. It is important to remember that you do not have to have the latest fashion to look good and often those that swap or buy second hand clothes create their own much sought after eclectic style.

This article was written by Ceri Heathcote for, a website for swapping, buying and selling second hand and vintage clothing.

Clothes swapping and buying and selling secondhand clothes is a great way to reduce the impact of fashion on the environment and to save money.

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