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An Honours student at Vega- School of Brand Leadership focusssed on brand building and strategy.

Friday, 15 April 2011

One with the Earth!!!: The Evolution of Eco-Friendly Fashion

The new black is green (oh so they say)! In a world that is quickly globalizing, we need to constantly think of ways to transform and become responsible inhabitants of the Earth on which we live. Face it, our world is disintegrating in the palm of our hands; man-made processes of production are polluting our clean air and contaminating our water. What can we do; the people who love clothes, fashion, style and all things that make us fabulous? Well, it is pretty simple hey…Eco-Friendly fashion!
Eco-friendly clothing does not mean recycling rubbish bags and creating a piece of art, it goes into more detail. I think, as a generation that has so much potential to initiate change in the world, we need to educate ourselves about this beautiful phenomenon and stop being ignorant, because, in any context there is no cool, or fabulous way to pull of ignorance. So that is exactly what I did, I simply googled “green fashion” and this is what I found.
Eco-Friend fashion is a broad term that means different things to different people, by no means does this mean that we must all start wearing vegan friendly items of clothing, there are different categories that can make an item of clothing eco-friendly:
·         Vegan: These are products that have been manufactured without the use of leather or other animal tissue such as alligator skin or fur from an animal. A material that is used is known as “vegetal leather” which is made of Amazonian rubber or other man-made materials
·         Ethically Produced:  Fashion that is produced in an ethical manner is fashion that is made with the consideration of the people and the environment from which the materials to create the fashion have been claimed. This includes the use of organic materials and exchanged using fair trade agreements.
·         Craft/ Artisan: these are products that are produced with the use of skills such as embroidery or intricate beading which “preserves” ancestral tradition and culture.
·         Custom: This is a method where fashion houses only make clothing that has been ordered. This encourages a culture of “slow fashion” so as to reduce the mass production of clothing.
·         Fair Trade Certified: A movement that sets standards for international labour, to protect the rights of workers, these include: working conditions, decent working hours, rights of leave etc. Fair trade focuses on the exporting of goods from developing countries to developed countries
·         Organic: These are products that are produced from natural fibres that have not been contaminated with pesticides and other recycled materials. This process is certified by different organizations.
·         Recylced: Anything that has been made from materials that existed in other forms. Such as old jeans made into a denim jacket or old curtains made into a fabulous dress.
·         Vintage/ second hand: if one is to say something is vintage in the correct sense, this means that it is a piece of clothing created between the 1920’s and 1975. However, in this day and age it generally means second hand clothing.
With that being said this means that if you have ever worn a piece of clothing that fits into any of these categories then it means that you are dressing in an eco-friendly manner! How exciting is that? However, in order to completely immerse oneself into the culture of eco-friendly clothing it requires connections and ummm money! Organic, fairly traded, custom and vegan clothing is not cheap at all. They are generally not accessible to the average fashionista.
Another misconception that I have to clear up is that eco-friendly clothing is usually not aesthetically pleasing. However, after doing a little bit of a search I found a couple of designers that hold the promise of eco-friendly fashion’s success in the palms of their hands. These include Ajna, Acadean Collection, Green Girls and We Wear Chemistry.  My favourite however is a label called Ada Zanditon. Her clothing has a voice that challenges the norm, but not in a ridiculous way, in a way that is coherent and convincing. Her clothing is original but also beautifully crafted and most importantly, it is relevant!
Eco-firendly clothing is slowly going to start becoming a part of fashion around the world. It is a movement that is necessary if we want to preserve or world and our heritages, traditions and cultures, and because the categories of eco-friendly fashion are so vast I believe that it speaks to a student perspective. Start shopping at thrift stores, there a an incredible amount of charity stores, thrift stores and hospice stores in Cape Town, and yes in Johannesburg as well.  And maybe turn those old pair of denim jeans into something new.  Live everyday as if it was on purpose, look after your world, and look fabulous while doing it!
 (To check out some organic clothing in Cape Town, go to Hemporium on long street)
Here are some pictures of Ada Zanditon's beautiful garments :)

Much love and even more Dopeness:
Koosh: The Lil’ Black
(Pictures accessed from Ada Zandition's website via http://www.ecofashionworld.com/)

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