Eco-fashion tips, Uncategorized

Every Day Pro Tips for Eco-Friendly Style

You recycle, you eat clean, and save electricity.  So far, the average person can incorporate eco-friendly habits into their daily lives fairly easily.  In a lot of areas this is true, except for how we dress.  The fact is, we still need to concentrate heavily on changes in our closets if we are to make the next steps to sustainability.  Here are some pro tips to step up your game in that department:

 

Check your label.  Does you clothing have more than 50% synthetic content?  Synthetics like polyester are derived from petrol, use up scarce natural resources and pollute the air and water in the process of fabrication.  It could also contain microfibers which pollute our water each time the clothing is washed.  When you’re finished with these toxic fabrics, cut them into dusting cloths.  From now on, check the fiber content to avoid synthetics, and never purchase another 100% polyester item.

Repairs.  Take a youtube video tutorial and teach yourself how to mend your clothing.  You can even make alterations to your own clothes to improve and enliven your closet.  The longer things last, the longer they stay out of the landfill.

Damage Control.  Keep your silk clothing in excellent condition by caring for it properly, go to an organic cleaner, or hand wash in cold water and hang dry.  A lasting garment of high quality silk that is cared for correctly is not only more respectable, it also is healthier to wear silk agains the skin than any other fabric.

 

 

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Eco-fashion tips, trend, Uncategorized

HELL NO UNIQLO

Happy April and happy Earth Month.  Let’s talk about Uniqlo … while we have a veritable pig engaging in pissing contests with the wealthiest men all over the world, scheming to build walls in the urinals so he can change the rules of said pissing contest, the new feud between fast fashion earth-destroyer Tadashi Yanai and our own embarrassing guy here raises an important topic.  The problem?  They’re worried about the wrong things.

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Image: Spirited Away

If you recall, a couple years ago, I wrote a letter to Obama asking him to even the playing field in the US market by taxing imports from human-rights violating countries which manufacture clothing at a price point below $50.  He wrote me back, but did nothing to fix the problem. The current face-off has overseas manufacturers whose violations of human rights have left over ten thousand people dead without consequence at Rana Plaza and bumped textiles to the number two source of pollution worldwide, and Trump wants to stop them.  Why? Because they took our jobs.  Yes, they did in fact take our jobs, and that is a very important point, but examining the side effects of sociopathic driven brands Uniqlo, Zara, H & M and Urban Outfitters / Anthropologie, you would understand that this issue is just important to liberals as it is for conservatives.

As a response to taxing imports, Uniqlo’s owner was quoted saying “We would not be able to make really good products [in the U.S.] at costs that are beneficial to customers … It would become meaningless to do business in the U.S.”  But what he fails to explain is the reasons why he would not be able to manufacture in the US.  Could it be that our labor force is unskilled? No, that’s not it.  Maybe it’s because we don’t allow CHILD LABOR in our country.  Probably.  Now let’s get back to the part about “really good products.”  What’s a really good product that Uniqlo makes … the cheap cashmere that if you’re lucky lasts 1/10th as long as authentic Italian cashmere?  Not good in my book, I’d rather pay full price for quality cashmere that lasts years.  Or what about the Heat Tech ™ microfiber, tech means it’s really good, better than anything else, right?  Think again: the first time you wash it, those micro fibers dissolve irreversibly into our drinking water and cannot be filtered out.  Each subsequent wash releases more and more tiny synthetic particles that glob together in the ocean and destroy marine life.  The synthetic-heavy textiles created overseas spew toxic gases into the air and use excessive amounts of water in the process.  Wow if you didn’t know already, you may begin to see we don’t need these inferior products and their planet-devastating side effects.

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Image: Spirited Away

Internationally speaking, I worked a lot with professionals from Japan, and learned about the market from the Japanese consumer’s point of view when I was establishing my business.  When Uniqlo first brought their brand to the US, the Japanese people in my industry all agreed it was a desperate attempt for validation.  It turns out the mediocre brand was doing “meh” in its home country and sought to take on specifically the New York market to add prestige to its brand.  Fast forward to now, their aggressive takeover of the US market has undercut quality goods which have a better cost per wear by bamboozling customers, is well on its way to ruining our water supply just from normal wash and wear, and let’s not forget they left a body count that is comparable if not higher than the number of deaths here on that awful day Sept 11.  WE DON’T WANT YOU UNIQLO.  Please stop messing with us, your aggressive takeover is over, please pack up and go while we can still clean up the mess and do better without you.

Now the brand name, (ironically a portmanteau for Unique Clothing … there’s nothing unique about their basic garbage) is a lie.  So, why are they a fashion brand with no designers?  You always know that a brand is shady when no designer will show their face or put their name on something.  Designers are in a unique point of view because their eyes can potentially see the suffering and damage caused by the work, which consumers often do not see.  Most often when it’s a noname brand (Zara, H&M, UO/Anthro and celebrities who aren’t professional designers,) the silhouettes are stolen from legit designers, a symptom indicative of shady practices from the top all the way down every step of the supply chain.  Only sometimes to fool us, they pick up graphic designers to endorse tee shirts simply as a marketing ploy.  If we are to begin to establish a sustainable future, and move textiles off the list of the top violators of our one and only planet earth, we need to take down these sociopaths and put designers back in charge.

If you care about the planet and want to help end the suffering, or you just want your job in the fashion industry, join me in using the hashtag – #HELLNOUNIQLO in conjunction with earth month related tweets and social media posts.  Stay tuned for next week when we go over the current qualifiers for what makes sustainable fashion brands.

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Eco-fashion tips, Uncategorized

Celebrating Earth Day Every Day

If You Care:

We can celebrate Earth Day every day by improving our dressing habits with consideration for the impact our actions have on the environment.

Care for your clothing responsibly. If your clothes have minor holes at the seam or hem, a tailor can easily repair them so you can continue to wear.

  • Hand Wash: Lingerie, nylon hosiery, slips.
  • Machine Wash: Towels, linens, socks & pajamas.
  • Organic Dry Clean: Coats, blouses, dresses, suits, outer wear.

With the best care, you will see that cost per wear go down significantly.

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Overabundance, what to do? 

Hand-me-down: when you are finished with a piece of clothing, pass it on to someone you know will wear it.

Road Trip: Gather wearable used clothing and take it personally to impoverished areas, especially those which are affected by harsh weather conditions. Be responsible!

Sunday Clothes: What do you do with the holey tee shirts? Use them to clean the floor or dust windowsills. Old tee shirts can be used to pack fragile objects for shipping or storage.

What you really need: 

Avoid future offenders: When shopping, check the content: Steer clear of microfiber, nylon, plastic, rayon, pleather, plush and synthetic fur.  NEVER shop at H & M, even when they pose as sustainable, because they are mis-allocating their colossal budgets to PR instead of being responsible.

Seek out natural fibers: opt for GOT Certified Organic Cotton, 100% silk, linen or clothing made from deadstock materials. If you can splurge, treat yourself to a piece of high fashion or something made from the raw materials.

Personalize: get clothing locally made just for you. Monograms or customized clothing is available in-store at I Love You Bedford.

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Get the best quality clothing possible and find styles you’ll want to wear numerous times. Just think about how you felt after the last time you ate fast food: Gross, am I right? Once you realize how good it feels to wear better clothing, you won’t even want to go back to wearing garbage.

 

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Image credits: Photos by Jammi York, model: Ilona MAJOR Model NY, Hair & Makeup: Rachel Lopez (c) 2016 Alisha Trimble

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Eco-fashion tips, Uncategorized

The Sustainability Scale

What makes sustainable fashion so difficult? This year, the garment industry went from top three to the Number Two source of pollution worldwide. Clearly we haven’t made any progress in the last year.  How come?

The reason is because the market isn’t supporting absolute sustainability. We know that in the current climate it cannot be profitable to go from one extreme to another with a quick solution. Green fashion is a work in progress, and while 100% sustainability is an excellent goal to work towards, let’s break it down into smaller choices we can each make in the progress toward sustainability.

Natural Fibers

Natural fibers are overall more sustainable options. The best ones are:

  • Cotton
  • Silk
  • Linen
  • Hemp
  • Wool

One thing to remember when selecting clothing made from natural fibers is that they are often created in a manner of “cut and sew” using woven fabrics.  Woven fabrics are lacking the versatility of a stretch fabric, making it more of a labor-intensive process to create a properly fitted garment. This is why clothing made from woven fabrics will cost more and take longer to produce.

The benefit to working with woven fabrics is that you can accomplish sophistication in silhouette. The result can look polished, professional, even formal.  The benefit to wearing well-made clothing is you look better. Whether you work in sales or in an office, or are a weekend socialite, a well-dressed professional will be more respected and overall more successful.

Bigger Strides toward Sustainable Options

Organic fabrics:

The popularity of organic cotton has fluctuated, mainly due to the observation that cotton (like most any fabric) is still treated with chemicals in the milling process. There are some who feel it is not worth using because it isn’t 100% sustainable; however, it is my opinion that small steps toward sustainability are always worth taking. The water used to grow the cotton will not be polluted and the people who pick the cotton and work with it in mills will be free of the health risk.  Look for GOT certification when selecting organic fabrics, such as the dress pictured below, available in store at I Love You Bedford.

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Raw Materials:

Silk, wool, mohair and other materials are workable in raw form.  We understand the concept of whole foods, how it is better to buy a whole potato than a bag of chips. Just like with food, the closer you can get to designers working with the raw materials, the bigger the impact it will have on sustainability. For example the wool vests available for purchase on my website were made by hand using the raw materials. An added benefit to purchasing clothing made this way is it is very difficult to copy, ensuring your investment is a valuable original.

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A Sliding Scale

It’s dangerous to look for absolutes when working towards sustainability.  Eco-friendly products have come a long way in other industries: for example look at our current easy access to recycled toilet paper, and our ability to recycle plastic and glass bottles with utmost convenience. We can reduce the harm caused by one of the top culprits currently destroying the earth, not by thinking in absolutes, but by taking small steps. Look for clothing made with 100% natural fibers, pay a better price for them, and don’t give up on organics.  If we were to create a Sustainability scale from 1-10, I would place 100% natural clothing at 5, organic cotton clothing at 6, and handmade clothing from deadstock and/or raw materials as a perfect 10.

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Eco-fashion tips, Uncategorized

The Worst Fabrics for the Environment

We know what we like to wear, but do we know how it’s affecting the environment? Remember, the way we dress today is the Number Two source of pollution worldwide. Let’s see what can be done better by knowing what to avoid.

The Worst Fabrics for the Environment Include:

  • Nylon — When Nylon is made, nitrus oxide is released into the air, a greenhouse gas 310 times more toxic than carbon dioxide. The cooling process of creating this fiber uses an excessive amount of water. It is also not biodegradable.
  • Acrylic — The synthetic material used in sweaters and faux fur is cancer-causing according to the EPA, specifically consisting of polycrylonitriles. It is also not biodegradable.
  • Polyester — Often blended with cotton into tee shirts and stretchy dresses, polyester is made from petrol chemicals, the residue which is absorbed into the skin. Often new garments made from this material give off a toxic odor. It is also not biodegradable.
  • Rayon — Made from wood chips, the creation of this fabric uses an excessive amount of chemicals in the process.
  • Plastics — This one should be obvious but isn’t. If you feel bad about throwing a plastic bottle in the garbage after you drink your Nestle water, then do not buy any clothing or accessories in vinyl, pleather, or otherwise plastic, regardless of how shiny and cool-looking it might be. It can not be recycled, and is destined for a landfill.

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What to Do?

Wear your nylons longer. It’s ok to keep wearing them even after they are torn.  Reuse your old nylons – be creative. They are great as a face mask for a costume. Always buy the best quality you can so they last longer.  The best pair (I’ve had mine for two years without any holes) are Wolford Velvet Deluxe and you can pick up a pair here.  Proper care also makes your clothing last longer, the best detergent to use for lingerie and hosiery or just about anything is Forever New. Just 15 mins in the sink and your tights are fresh again!

forever-new

Do not buy any more synthetic clothing.  Seeking out alternatives may feel like a difficult task at first, especially when brands make it so enticing to buy cheaply made clothes and it’s so convenient!  But together we must consider what it is doing to the planet and the public health worldwide. Instead of a faux fur jacket full of Nasty toxins, you can order a recycled silk fur piece from I Love You Bedford. There are also many pieces in the store made from Merino Wool sourced sustainably from carefully preserved quality deadstock so there is no need to wear anything acrylic.

Use your old tee shirts as rags for dusting. Give your old clothes to another person you know will wear them, instead of the charities which end up sending most of it to landfills.  Have a trusted tailor keep up your favorite garments with regular repairs.  Check the fabric that clothing is made from before you buy (or accept as a gift for my blogger pals) anything new to make sure it doesn’t have these toxic materials. By avoiding toxic fabrics and caring for our nylons so we can wear them longer, we can ensure the future generations will have cleaner air and water.

 

 

 

 

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shop, Uncategorized

Earth-Friendly Fashion Tips

greenwashing vs. commitment
There are several very small brands who have committed their practices to work towards sustainability.  Being locally made is one way a brand can be eco-friendly, because the carbon emissions from overseas shipping of the materials and garments is greatly reduced. On the other hand, big global brands use sustainability as  a title to stage another PR stunt to distract from their very questionable business practices. If these larger brands were truly interested in creating a sustainable product, they would show a commitment storewide. I am skeptical of the larger brands’ so-called sustainable side projects because they take credit away from the brands who have worked hard to make the commitment. Often undercutting the prices by using slave labor, the greenwashing actually makes it more difficult for the smaller brands to assert their sustainable products in the market at a fair price point.

Artisans- real vs. fake
How do you identify signs of real artisan-made details in clothing? Manufacturers have created machines to successfully mimic the effects of embroidery, appliqué, knitting, sequins and other embellishments originally done by hand.  What cannot be made by machine is crochet, beadwork, and draping. If something is in the former group, it my be mass produced at a lower price.  Generally, the poorer the quality, the shorter the lifespan of the clothing and the sooner it goes into a landfill. If you notice a technique that can only be done by hand, then the clothing is usually better quality, more valuable and the price will be higher.

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Local is Better
Mahatma Ghandi’s Swadeshi movement was devised to create a self-reliant local economy.
“According to the principle of swadeshi, whatever is made or produced in the village must be used first and foremost by the members of the village. Goods and services that cannot be generated within the community can be bought from elsewhere.”
One of the results of the movement in India was manual labor being respected, Swadeshi followers could weave their own cloth from a loom that was thought to be obsolete at the time. They set their own prices for the handmade cloth, and no longer needed to rely on Great Britain. Living the Swadeshi lifestyle also means eating locally sourced foods, and in that way it is a life that is in harmony with the natural world. It’s also very noticable that economics and eco-conscious often go hand in hand with this principle.

The Choice is Yours
On Earth Day and Every Day, you can choose better clothing for the earth by selecting clothes with artisan-made details. Steer clear of the PR circus and go for lesser known local brands that have chosen the high road to sustainability. Always buy something that was made nearby first before going to stores which carry imported clothes.  Last, make it a priority to buy quality items only to keep our clothing out of the landfills.

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Alisha Trimble’s Weekly April Earth Day Essays

If you know me, you know Earth Day is my favorite holiday.  While I may not look it, deep down I am a total hippie! When out shopping I look at something and visualize what it took to make that thing, and how that affected the environment. I can’t help but care about the Earth’s natural resources and naturally make choices to conserve them. This applies to my creative process, which I often keep to myself for proprietary reasons. When dealing with very confused consumers in my store on a daily basis, I decided to open up and share what I’ve learned in the process of being a sustainable High Fashion designer.

In the weeks coming up to Earth Day, I’m giving pointers on how We The Fashionable can be better to our dear Planet Earth.  This year, the garment industry went from top three to the Number Two source of pollution worldwide. While to many, it is a mystery how clothing is made, or how to change this, one thing is clear. It is important for people who are in a position to choose, to make an honest assessment of their shopping habits, how to dress more sustainably, and to care for their clothing in a lasting way. But first: let’s look at where we are now, by reflecting on the notions of Innovation and Progress.

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But how low is too low?

What is Innovation?      Convenience is King. When we look at the successful advances of technology of today, convenience is the one thing they all have in common.  Want any food delivered to your door without saying a word? Want a driver to get you at a moment’s notice? Want to instantly have a 3D shape appear? We are all wizards. I love utilizing the technology we now have & I consider myself lucky to have an iPhone. When it comes to funding, investors and the US Government throw the full weight of their moneybags toward ventures that can be described as innovative. But what is the ultimate cost?

For me, it’s great to save time and reduce stress; however, there are times when a person could easily realize they went too far. A dating app might help you to meet new people, but without discernment you might also be putting yourself in danger. When it comes to our clothing, the past decade’s advancements in manufacturing have accelerated  to Ludicrous Speed. In the relentless search for ever cheaper overseas manufacturing, countless lives have been lost and people continue to be ruthless in their competition to flood the unregulated global market with lower-cost clothing. But how low is too low?

A discerning integration of current technology with obsolete or archaic techniques is the most progressive course for innovation.

What is progress?       Being progressive means that the innovations we select to incorporate into our daily lives have a positive impact for future generations. While there are many areas in which humanity continues to make progress, in the coming weeks we can concentrate on making cultural progress while protecting the environment. Technology today is a very changeable work in progress, and here we have the golden opportunity to identify mistakes and learn from them. A discerning integration of current technology with obsolete or archaic techniques is the most progressive course for innovation.

In the weeks leading up to Earth Day, I will shed light on which choices benefit us, including being selective about the materials we wear, learning and sharing daily practices which make up a healthy wardrobing lifestyle and have the biggest impact on the Earth and humanity. If you love fashion, care about equal human rights and want to help protect the environment, then let’s work together. Feel free to share my articles as they come out, and contribute your own positive examples to the discussion in the comments. Together we can make it the best Earth Day and have a lasting influence on future generations.

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