Eco Fashion Explained What is it, who is doing it & why?


What is eco fashion? Good question and a necessary one too. ‘Eco’ has suffered  due to the incorrect, vague or over-use of the word so let us help out a little here with a bit of eco fashion explained…

The term eco fashion has come to cover everything from organic, recycled, vegan, sustainable or carbon-neutral in its production. It can even extend to ethical manufacturing standards. If you want to support the Australian eco fashion movement, it is important to understand the difference in these terms and in what way each are ‘eco’.

 

eco-fashion-explained-H-and-M-organic-cotton

H&M is one of the world’s leading users of         organic cotton

ORGANIC

The word organic has almost becom as convoluted at eco. If a piece of eco fashion branded ‘organic’ it can mean a range of things. Generally it refers to the materials the item is made of. For example, material produced from organic means such as cotton that has been grown without the use of any chemical fertilisers or pesticides and coloured in a way that is also free of chemicals, such as with vegetable dyes.

eco-fashion-explained-bassike-organic

Bassike has a whole range of certified organic clothing

This can also refer to the way in which the item is manufactured, such as being carbon neutral or sustainable (see below for further details on this). The legislation around eco fashion branding varies and in Australia is quite loose, often only indicating that around 70% of the garment is organic and necessarily extending to its production.

Brands doing it: H&M, Bassike

eco-fashion-explained-Woodzee-recycled

Woodzee is a leader in recycled fashion for your face


RECYCLED OR RECLAIMED

When fashion is branded ‘reclaimed’ is can be mean it is second-hand or vintage, or pieces that  deconstructed and re-purposed from other pieces that have undergone the same process. This is eco fashion at its most sustainable. Repurposing things that already exist for continued use is one of the pillars of sustainability and the best step you can take in the direction of eco fashion.

eco-fashion-explained-billabong-recyled-boardshorts

Billabong’s bottle board shorts

Recycled can also refer to items that are actually made from recycled materials, such as recycled textiles, plastics or wood. Billabong has a range of board shorts in fabric made from recycled  bottles, Californian brand Woodzee makes slick sunnies from 100% recycled wood.

Brands doing it:  Billabong, Woodzee

 

eco-fashion-explained-Natalie-Portman-dior-vegan

Natalie Portman has Dior falling at her feet with vegan heels


VEGAN

That’s right, this movement isn’t just about diet! It extends to fashion too. The most popular step towards vegan fashion is the use of non-leather goods. A vegan fashion stance also means cutting out all kinds of wool, fur and silk. It’s true that a lot of the alternatives to these seem anti-eco, such as plastic, acrylic, polyester and other synthetics.

Natalie Portman has long been famous for her vegan fashion stance and fashion house Dior literally fell at her feet by designing an entire range of vegan heels. Mega designer Stella

eco-fashion-explained-stella-mccartney-vegan

Stella McCartney is queen when it comes to luxe vegan accessories

McCartney has also made a name for herself in the vegan fashion world, designing a whole range of accessories that are all style but no animal.

This raises important questions around how ‘eco’ this movement actually is. Things that are not natural need to be manufactured, meaning emissions are involved to produce them, even if they are recycled.

Brands doing it: DIOR, Stella McCartney, Nolvadex (featured in cover image)

 

SUSTAINABLE

eco-fashion-explained-denim-sustainable

Denim is one of the most sustainable fashion fabrics

This is eco fashion at the highest level, essentially encompassing all of the above. Sustainable fashion not only uses sustainable materials but is sustainable in its design and manufacturing.

It is made with great thought to where it will end up and so is ultimately designed to last a long time or be easily recycled.

The materials used are ones that are considered sustainable in the way they are sourced, where they are sourced from, how sustainable

eco-fashion-lisa-gorman-sustainable

Aussie label Gorman is leading the way in sustainable fashion

the process is of turning the materials into fashion, meaning consideration of how carbon neutral it is.

Brands doing it:  Gorman, Novaldex

 

Budding Australian eco fashion designer? Eco fashionista? Check out the events put on by sustainable fashion group Undress Runways

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