Thursday, December 13, 2007

Eco-Friendly Clothing and Cost

Eric Wilson's article "A World Consumed by Guilt" has an interesting premise. It problematizes green clothing and how it is marketed. He observes:

Some clothes, like Loomstate’s $295 organic cotton jeans — sold unwashed
and not color-fast, to save energy — require unusual care. A pair of
2(x)ist soy underwear, $24 at Macy’s, include a warning that
imperfections are to be expected. “These characteristics should not be
considered flaws in the fabric,” the packaging says, “but rather as an
intrinsic quality contributing to the uniqueness of the garment.”

Some designs marketed as environment-friendly might include only a
fraction of organic cotton, or a tag made of recycled paper. And some
so-called green fashion may be downright silly, like the Goyard canvas
shopping tote shown in the Barneys “Have a Green Holiday” catalog: the
bag is $1,065, plus $310 for painted monogramming of a triangular
recycle symbol in gold. The canvas, the catalog says, is “100%

Being environmentally conscious is crucially important and such awareness should extent to all facets of life. Fashion should not be any different, naturally. It is, after all, a multi-billion dollar business, hence it begs for attention. So, I applaud the designers' individual desires to make visible efforts to be green. This is all about acquiring the right behaviors of consumption, right?

However, would we be more environmentally conscious if we consumed less? I admit, I do enjoy my new Ben Sherman items and I am always [secretly] looking forward to what the next new line will look like. However, teaching myself how to hold my desire for unneeded new things in check is, de facto, more beneficial to me and the environment.

Using what we already own till it's time to update is a more environmentally conscious move. Minimalism, I believe, informs environmental awareness. Of course, designers have to think of their profit margins and by choosing to provide green clothing they are providing alternative options for those who have the resources to only acquire $285 organic cotton jeans and $1,065 'green' bags.

But the rub would lie in the following, I would reckon, and that is: how can the average shopper be adequately reached and informed about issues of consumerism and their overall immediate purchasing effect, or 'carbon footprint' on the environment?

graph per nyt


Anonymous said...

double ha. less is better. minimalism, minimalism. as someone i know says, 'oh, buying stuff is just too much work. it's, you know, a big schlep.'

B.R. said...

But I do think it's rather admirable that designers are providing the option. I doubt I'll be buying such products any time soon, however, as I do think that minimalism needs to be practiced more. By me, at least.

Anonymous said...

People should be aware not because this is a current fad, but because this is an important issue......

Anonymous said...

eco-friendly behaviors are, quite often, minimalistic. the less we consume, the better off the planet. when i really have to shop for clothing though, the first place i go is second-hand stores. this way, i reason, i am purchasing items that have already been used by other people. it's a mode of recycling, really.... so, my t-shirt logo would read, 'of course, i'm green, i only wear $3.00 already-used jeans.'