June 6, 2011
Have you been to a wedding recently, where the bride didn’t wear white? These days, anything seems to go when it comes to weddings, and our traditionalist take on wedding attire and customs has been replaced with a much more easygoing outlook. There are a number of different reasons for this – marriages being conducted in unusual places have led to a relaxing of the rules. Another reason could be down to the vast environmental impact which a traditional white wedding can have, and the realization by the bride and groom that they can dispense with tradition and go for a green, rather than a traditional white, wedding.
Because of the chemicals which go in to making the wedding dress, the impact upon the environment for having a big white wedding can be immense. Chlorine bleach and other harmful toxins are often used to make wedding gowns the brilliant white which we associate with the traditional bride, and they are a far cry from the eco-friendly dresses which we can source today.
Getting a dress which has been whitened with vegetable dyes can be just as visually stunning, but without the associated cost to the environment. If you’d rather opt for something a little less mainstream, why not consider going organic with your dress, getting one made up from bamboo, hemp fibers, silk or organic cottons? All of these fabrics can come unbleached, meaning your wedding dress is truly eco-friendly.
With the current passion for vintage sweeping the fashion scene at the moment, another great way of doing your bit for the environment while having a dream wedding is to opt for a second-hand wedding dress. Choose from a wide range of eras to get the best style to suit your personal taste, and recycle in the best possible way by making a real fashion statement at the same time. Vintage Edwardian, Victorian or Georgian dresses can be hired or picked up second hand, in addition to cheaper versions from the sixties, seventies and eighties eras depending upon your ideal fashion preferences. If you’re not sure where to start looking for vintage, head on to Ebay first for ideas, and narrow your search down once you have gained an idea of the type of wedding gown you’d like to go for.
If you do decide to go vintage, you can take things one step further and provide a themed wedding for your guests,. Tie in the groom’s outfit and even the décor of the venue in to your theme, to make your wedding dress the focal point of the day. A sixties-inspired wedding, or a more classical and traditional Victorian event can make a huge style statement, and also offer ample opportunities for recycling, reducing the cost of your day overall, and (best of all) staying green, for your white wedding.
March 31, 2011
I’m pretty sure that most people own a pair (or indeed several pairs) of blue jeans. They’re a staple of the modern day wardrobe, and can be dressed up or dressed down for pretty much any occasion. The thing about jeans is you can get quite sentimental about them. Apart from the fact that they seem to get more comfortable the more you wear them, you’re likely to have had all sorts of adventures and experiences in a particular pair of favorite jeans, so parting with them can be difficult.
However, (and I’m sorry to be the one to break it to you), the chances are that you’ve got some jeans, languishing at the back of your closet, that really are ready to be passed on. Perhaps they have a little tear in the seam, a missing pocket, or a rip at the knee – or perhaps they’ve turned from navy colored denim to that ’80′s stonewashed look, following one too many washes? (Although I hear the stonewashed look is making a come-back – I never can keep up with the latest fashion trends…)
In some cases, your old jeans may be good enough to pass on to a non-profit or charity re-sale shop, allowing somebody else to take them on new adventures. But if your jeans are really on their last legs (excuse the pun), there’s still a chance they can be put to good use.
Our jeans have probably kept us warm during wintry weather. Green Jeans Insulation works on exactly the same premise – that denim jeans have qualities which help to keep the heat in! Their ‘Ultratouch’ Denim Insulation products contains at least 90% post-consumer natural fibers – mostly old jeans donated to their company – helping them to produce a high quality, thermal product from sustainable materials to insulate homes and offices.
The Cotton, from blue to green campaign supports Green Jeans Insulation by calling for donations of old jeans from across the country. To date, the campaign has attracted almost 300,000 pieces of denim clothing, enabling the company in turn to manufacture over 500sq ft of Ultratouch Insulation. The campaign organizers have then worked with communities in need to provide free insulation in over 500 homes, helping to drive down energy costs and ensure that homes are using their energy more efficiently.
Teens for jeans
Another innovative US-based youth charity – www.dosomething.org has also been championing jeans recycling amongst teenagers. Their proposition is simple: donate your gently worn jeans to your nearest Aeropostale store, and Do Something will arrange to have them passed on to a homeless shelter or charity. In return, all Teens for Jeans donors get 25% off their next pair of Aero jeans, so everyone’s a winner!
From jeans to flip-flops
In the UK, www.recycleyourjeans.com invites you to send them your old jeans, and in return, they’ll send you back a pair of customized sandals. The design includes a special heel-to-toe technology which supports posture, relieves lower back pain and ensures the right muscles are doing all the work.
Hopefully you’re feeling a little more inspired about the many ways your jeans could live a useful second life. So, what are you waiting for? Start clearing out that closet!
March 28, 2011
Now, when you look at the title of this blog post, you could be forgiven for thinking one of two things:
a) That I’m about to launch into a spiel about the wonderful anti-oxidants contained in a certain variety of tea…or;
b) There’s a typo in the title of this post.
I forgive you loyal reader. On the contrary, I plan to discuss neither. Instead, I want to introduce you to www.greenflyshop.com. They sell t-shirts. Environmentally friendly t-shirts in fact. See what I did there? But they’re not just any old t-shirts. They’re t-shirts with a clear, strong message.
Warning: If you’re of a sensitive disposition, look away now.
WTF! Recycle Already!
Unapologetically frank, greenflyshop is all about getting to the point. And fast. Their t-shirts work on the premise by now, just about everyone should be aware that our planet is in peril, and that changing our behavior is the only way to change our environmental destiny. On entering the site, greenflyshop explains that their products are designed ‘…for the green activist who’s tired of people who still don’t get it.’
And I guess there are a fair amount of those people in our every day lives, who for one reason or another, are aware of the environmental challenges facing the country and the globe, but either don’t recognize – or in fact, refuse to accept that they can do anything to make a difference.
Greenflyshop uses its clothing products to target those people, designing hard-hitting statement t-shirts which are designed to make people stop and think. They recognize that the sentiments expressed in their t-shirts are not up everyone’s alley, so they print the following warning:
‘Warning: not for pansies, wimps, cry-babies, whiners, the faint of heart, people easily offended or boring folks that are just like everybody else.’
Act like you live here
Their clothing products demonstrate real bravery and an opportunity to address in a frank and honest way some of the attitudinal shifts that are likely to be required in order to make meaningful progress on changing people’s environmental habits for the better.
T-shirt statements include ‘I’m Green and I will kick your ass,’ ‘Green Mother F*cker,’ ‘Act like you live here,’ and ‘Recycle b*tch!’ are definitely entertaining, controversial, and for some, perhaps a little gratuitous. But one thing’s for sure – they create impact.
And of course, they’re made from 100% organic cotton, manufactured by companies participating in the Fair Labor Association, which monitors international labor standards and campaigns worldwide to improve the working conditions of staff on the production lines.
So, if you find yourself frustrated by other people’s lack of commitment to green issues, and you’ve got something you’ve always wanted to say, why not get it off your chest with a greenflyshop t-shirt? You’re pretty much guaranteed to get your message across! Go here to purchase your green tee (or hat or bag).
February 4, 2011
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, approximately 50 million disposable diapers are sent to US landfills every day. That amounts to almost 20 billion diapers every year, clogging up landfill sites across the country. So what’s the alternative?
Well, there’s now a burgeoning market in eco-friendly diapers, designed to keep your baby clean and dry, while also minimizing the harmful effects on the environment. And considering the fact that the average baby is estimated to use between 5000 – 8000 disposable diapers before they are fully potty-trained, it’s an important choice for parents everywhere.
The scoop on diaper poop
Being a parent is probably the toughest job in the world. So it’s no surprise that the idea of washing and drying thousands of cloth diapers every year is not the most attractive proposition. But it’s hard to argue with the landfill statistics – not to mention the financial costs associated with buying disposable diapers.
Disposables can cost the average family upwards of $2000, while cloth diapers cost around $800 (including laundry costs), saving over $1000 – a pretty impressive sum. Add to that the environmental costs of disposable diapers, and also the anxieties about health risks associated with them, and it becomes easier to see why cloth diapers are making a comeback.
Cloth diapers – the eco-friendly alternative
Disposable diapers bear a high cost – in terms of the potential impact on your baby’s health, your family budget and the planet. There’s now a growing body of evidence to support the switch from disposable diapers to cloth, including;
• Reducing the overall carbon footprint when laundered in full-capacity loads, which are then line dried and potentially used and re-used for other children;
• Preventing exposure to dioxins, pesticides and super absorbent polymers (SAPs) used in disposable diapers;
• Reducing reliance on renewable and non-renewable resources including water and energy; and
• Reducing landfill
There are a wide variety of cloth diapers on the market, which fall into broadly three categories:
1. Pre-folded or flat diapers – these are the most basic variety, but are also most economical, allowing you to fold them to meet the growing size and shape of your baby.
2. Fitted all in one diapers – these are slightly more sophisticated, and designed to fit snugly to your baby’s body. They also often include covers and poppers to fold and close them quickly and easily.
3. Pocket diapers – these are also contoured to match the shape of your baby, as well as allowing you to use disposable or re-usable inserts to make diaper changing more straightforward.
Perhaps one of the biggest down sides involved in switching to cloth diapers is the increase in family laundry generated as a result of the switch. However, there are plenty of ways to launder your diapers in an eco-friendly way, including using baking soda and other natural detergents, washing at a lower temperature and line drying. There are also a growing number of laundry services with impressive ethical credentials, which can collect, launder and return your diapers on a weekly or fortnightly basis, helping to make the switch easier on everyone. Is it time you switched?
November 29, 2010
Knitting is an age-old craft loved by grandmothers the world over. They spent the long winter nights tenderly knitting those wonderful jumper and cardigan creations that kept us snug and warm, not to mention the cute little booties for the new arrivals in our families.
But as clothes became cheaper, knitting – as a pastime and as an art form – became virtually redundant. However, the last decade has seen the resurgence of the craft, with a new breed of enthusiasts setting up knitting circles to share ideas and inspiration. With needles at the ready, they’re determined to breathe new life into the woolly art form.
So, what’s the attraction? Well, alongside being an eco-friendly and therapeutic hobby, knitting is a great way to produce fantastic, original designs that swap mass-produced fashion for something altogether more individual. Add to that the fact that you’ve created these masterpieces with your own fair hand and there’s rather a lot to proud of. Knitting allows you to model your personally created fashions, or give them away as uniquely personalised gifts for your friends and family.
One knitting enthusiast has combined natural energy with natural fibres to take knitting to a whole new level. Merel Karhof was committed to harnessing the natural wind energy generated in a nearby cul-de-sac, and so she created a ‘wind-knitting factory’. The contraption is essentially a hand-made windmill, attached to a loom. As the wind blows, the loom is activated, allowing the factory to quite literally ‘spin’ a wind-powered scarf.
To add the finishing touches to her tube-scarf creations, Merel added a label to each scarf which included the date the scarf was made, and the length of time it took for the wind to knit it. Her wind-factory produced a wonderfully quirky collection of scarves made entirely from renewable energy sources. Pretty impressive, hey?
Knitting it all together
In addition to the creative aspects of knitting, the creative circles and clubs which have developed in recent years are now regarded as something of a social occasion. Many of those who attend knitting circles report that they go along as much for the opportunity to meet like-minded people as they do for the tutorials on pattern or techniques. Knitting circles breed a special kind of solidarity, connecting people within a community and allowing them to share and express their personal style – while creating unusual and innovative designs. Classes are welcoming and supportive, and usually very inexpensive – all you need is a pair of needles and a ball of wool!
Many knitting circles have also developed a strong community ethos, designing and producing special items to support charities and voluntary organisations working in the local area. From warm blankets for the elderly to premature clothing or teddies for newborn babies – knitting groups have become a supplier of vital warm clothing and supplies for charities supporting the most vulnerable people.
Like it or not, knitting is back in fashion. So, it’s time to dust off your yarn, and sharpen your needles…the winter’s a-coming, and you’re going to need a wool-filled wardrobe to stay warm. So what are you waiting for? Get knitting!
November 15, 2010
Lingerie is big business, with financial forecasters predicting that by 2016, the retail market will sell 1.64bn bras and 4.74bn briefs worldwide. However, behind all the lace and frills, many retailers have dubious manufacturing credentials, which fail to adequately consider the sustainability of their fabrics or the ethics of their production lines.
Enter Green Knickers, a lingerie business which was the brainchild of Sarah Lucy Smith, a young entrepreneur with a flair for design and firm commitment to ethically sourced, Fair Trade products. Sarah attended a degree course in Eco Design at Goldsmiths College (part of the University of London), where she was inspired to create a special line of ‘green’ knickers, using environmentally-friendly fabrics including silk, hemp and organic cotton, to create a truly unique lingerie business which puts the Fair Trade back into fashion.
Fair Trade fashion
Green Knickers is committed to creating a commercially viable business built on ethical principles – giving customers greater choice, and ensuring that global and local suppliers get a fair deal. Sarah, with her business partner (and old school friend), Rose Cleary, are also keen to challenge the eco-warrior stereotype, reflecting a fun and playful sense of humour in all their products. Green Knickers are stitched with quirky messages like ‘Stop deforestation’ and ‘Cycle more’ which aim to convey serious messages in a fun and accessible way.
Explaining their approach, Sarah says: “There are a variety of styles, but there’s humour in all of them. That was my aim: to add a cheeky excitement and much needed humour to green politics. I want people to be excited about changing their lifestyles – not bullied into it. Otherwise you can get demoralised – people who care, often end up feeling guilty all the
It’s certainly a sound proposition, which combines stylish, sexy designs with ethical production values.
Just a fad?
We all know how fickle the fashion world can be, so it’s easy to assume that the focus on ethical fashion could be a passing fad. And with Green Knickers at £25 a pair, there are significant affordability issues which the average consumer might find difficult to swallow. However, while cost is perhaps a barrier for now, it’s clear that fair trade fashion is growing
in popularity. Charity shops have reported significant increases in sales, with Oxfam and others capitalising on the vintage fashion potential of clothing donations to their stores. Indeed, with fashionistas like Sarah Jessica Parker regularly sporting the vintage look, it’s clear that recycled fashion offers consumers a chance to develop a unique and individual look that high street store chains simply can’t deliver.
So whether you’re looking for a vintage collectable, or shopping with a conscience, it’s clear that ethical fashion is on the rise. Green is definitely the new black, and it seems that at least some high street retailers are starting to…ahem…cotton on. Consumer demand for ethically produced clothing is also likely to increase pressure on big name designers to adopt fairer trade and production values, encouraging the rest of the industry to follow suit. And with Green Knickers proving that you don’t have to substitute style for substance, let’s hope the trend is here to stay.
November 5, 2010
Enamore’s clothes are produced within the UK and also donates old fabrics to schools and community groups. The range seems to be a mixture of the modern and the retro. Check out the Bunny Camisole (below left) made from 57% soybean, 37% organic cotton and 6% Spandex which costs £60, or the Bedrock Bamboo Camisole (below right) which as the names suggests, is made from bamboo and costs £62.