Eco fashion is the latest buzz word on everyone's lips. Consumers with a conscience want to buy into it and fashion labels want to grab a bit of its marketing potential. So what actually is eco fashion? And how is it helping the environment?
Eco fashion is a term that can be used to describe any clothing that is manufactured in a sustainable way that minimise environmental impact. It can also include ethical and fair-trade clothing which often applies similar principles as the link between people and their health and well being is often inseparable from that of the environment. Some of the main ways that fashion and clothing can impact on the environment are:
Pesticides used in the cultivation of natural fibres - the cultivation of cotton uses large amounts of chemical pesticides which have a range of environmental impacts including health risks to those living in the vicinity.
Chemical pollution / by products of textile manufacture - chemicals from textile factories can enter the water and eco systems damaging flora and fauna and posing a risk to humans.
Textile waste -synthetic textiles do not bio degrade and represent a significant landfill problem in the UK. Even natural textiles produce Carbon dioxide as they break down.
Use of fossil fuels and production of carbon dioxide - all manufacture and distribution of textiles uses fossil fuels and produce carbon dioxide. The manufacture of synthetic textiles is particularly fuel intensive.
There are many different eco fashion initiatives and labels which help to minimise some or all of these environmental impacts. They include natural organic fabrics such as cotton, bamboo, hemp and soy, sustainable materials, fabrics made using recycled materials and the recycling and restyling of second hand clothes. Eco fashion was once considered clothing for hippy, tree hugging types, who did not really care much about style. Lately Eco fashion has become very stylish with top designers getting involved in designing sustainable lines and a huge amount of choice emerging. You can find almost any eco fashion item of clothing that you want including organic cotton trainers and recycled jewellery.