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!

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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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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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Uncategorized

What we should be looking at in our clothes (But aren’t)

We are looking at the wrong things in what we wear.  Sure, we all love to look good, but what exactly is the difference between fast fashion & good fashion? Let’s take a closer look.

  • Quality fabrics: ladies, you should have at least 12 pieces of clothing that are made from silk. 5-6 tops, and 5-6 dresses.  They should run about $200-600 each or higher.  Know your silks: acetate doesn’t count.  Charmeuse is divine, chiffon can’t go wrong.  Don’t show up anywhere past 6PM wearing anything denim or jersey. Ever.
  • Finishing: There should be a special detail somewhere on your outfit.  Ether it’s dyed by hand, or a little bow sewn on by hand, or go crazy with head-to-toe sequins. But anyway hand-finishing is the sign of a beautifully made piece of clothing.
  • Avoid things that are priced too low, for what they are.  Usually this means that it was copied from a different designer and the designer wasn’t paid for the idea.  In addition you may assume any clothes priced too well were made by murderers and thieves.  We all know that cheap clothes are a major source of strife in the world, and this should stop with you. It’s not worth it and usually you end up looking like a slob or a dupe anyway.
  • We have seen some pretty extreme examples of labor exploitation lately, but there still is no end to it.  If you see that certain retailers have accomplished certain items at certain price points by badly abusing their workers, how do you think the rest of them are doing it?  Exactly the same way, they just haven’t gotten caught.  So as a rule of thumb, you should avoid buying low & middle market fashion goods entirely. 
  • Ecological impact: I cannot express this enough- the textile industry is among the top three sources of pollution in the world right now.  If you are against fracking, if you don’t eat GMO foods, why would you buy clothing that damages the environment? At the very least, avoid petroleum-based stretchy knits and plasticky push-up bras because that can’t be good for the earth.  Look for designers who are finding ways to reduce waste & are developing eco-friendly methods.
  • Just buy them: don’t wait for someone to launch a kickstarter campaign.  We all have goals & need your support to accomplish them.  It’s a little ridiculous when a designer has to hawk a particular item as part of larger crowdfunding initiative, when people should have been checking them out & purchasing the items anyway without the gimmick of some future goal that may or may not be attainable.  And enough with the sample sales- we can’t continuously provide items every season at below cost.  In what market does that make sense? Just buy good quality clothes at regular price.

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image: Nude Girl Lounging in a box of rabbit fur, by University of Washington Libraries Digital Collections

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