Saturday, August 27, 2011

A History of Eco-Fashion

Cover of "Green is the New Black"Cover of Green is the New BlackBy Adrienne E Estes

In the sixties, hippies donned tie-died shirts, long skirts and peace-sign accessories. The seventies were defined by polyester garments and sequined roller-disco outfits. The eighties and nineties...must we even reminisce?

Since then, an overshadowing trend of "fast fashion," cheaply made garments, most likely from third-world sweatshops, provided easy, cheap access to the trend of the season. Prices would be significantly low, making the purchase extremely tempting and most likely not regrettable, even if the dress falls apart after only three nights out.

A new era of eco fashion has been rising, shaping the way this current decade will be remembered in terms of style.

The idea of eco fashion began rising in the 1980's when concerns regarding chemicals in fabrics, such as flame-retardants and pesticides in the crops, came about. At the time, it meant chemical-free, and was mostly protecting us against fears for our own health and not so much our planet's deterioration. After the Chicago Tribune uncovered Levi Strauss's unethical use of sweatshop labor overseas in '92, eco fashion began to really take off.

Although it seemed big brand after big brand were being busted for the use of unfair, exploitable labor and ethical fashion was on the rise, the concept still triggered the image of an expensive, itchy burlap sack for a dress. It simply wasn't stylish.

As the years progressed, many designers began to take a stand for eco fashion, and produce lines of clothing that were stylish, organic and fair trade. It was a new generation of fashion entrepreneurs, creating something that was not only a new up and coming trend, but also a style that would morph its way into a timeless fashion that anybody, of any personal style and walk of life, could wear.

As small time designers began launching new eco fashion labels, big time designers also jumped on board. Designers such as Stella McCartney, Giorgio Armani, Gucci and Vera Wang have supported the eco fashion movement through use of sustainable fabrics and fair trade practices.

The way we have remembered decades in terms of trends in fashion, a new era of timeless style, eco fashion, is dawning on the horizon. More and more designers have switched to promoting sustainability and ethics, and keeping a whole-hearted commitment to the environment and the world around us. The way green is the new black, socially conscious clothing brands are the new leaders of the fashion industry.

Adrienne is a contributor at {r}evolution apparel, a sustainable clothing company for travelers and minimalists. She writes about sustainable fabrics, eco fashion designers and the process of creating a socially conscious clothing line.

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  1. Yay long live our dear planet :)) Thanks for sharing all this! :)

  2. it was really excellent!
    thanks a lot for sharing with us.