Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Organic fashion

Marc Jacobs take note: The latest fashion craze is not body-covering handbags or saran-wrapped skinny jeans. It's organic clothing and retailers say it’s more than just a trend.

With environmental issues on the country’s mind, clothing companies are realizing that people care about how their clothes affect the planet.

Last fall, Cotton Ginny officially launched an “eco-ganic” line with t-shirts, pants, jackets and baby-wear made out of 100 per cent organic cotton. This March, they are adding more environmentally conscious clothes with their new line, “Ology,” which uses sustainable fibres such as bamboo, soy and organic cotton.

Cotton Ginny's Bamboo line

“I believe that the future is here – the environment is on the radar of every country in world,” says Laurie Dubrovac, director of marketing and communications at Cotton Ginny. “This is keeping eco-fashion at a forefront. If you’re not carrying something with sustainable fibres, you’re a miss.”

However, Cotton Ginny was not the first retailer to go green.

Effort’s Hempwear, a hemp supplier and store in Scarborough, opened in 1993. The company uses materials made from hemp, organic cotton, bamboo and other natural fibres.

“These fabrics can provide new textures that wouldn’t otherwise exist,” says vice-president Robert Greenweld. “They’re new and different.”

Effort’s makes contemporary sportswear designed for people aged 20 to 70. Greenwald says that the future for organic clothing is bright. “The fibres are here to stay,” he says.

This is true especially for bamboo, a rejuvenating plant that can grow up to 75 feet in less than three months.

Toronto-based designer, Rosie Conner, is making her new handbags out of bamboo – hoping that this season’s bag frenzy will make people aware of the importance of eco-friendly fabrics.

Conner is finishing production of “The Big-Bottomed Bag” – a silken-like, hourglass-shaped, yoga bag which Conner designed and manufactured for Dear Lil’ Devas, an online yoga store. “By using eco-friendly fabrics, people aren’t handling fabrics with chemicals,” says Connor. “I think people in general are becoming more mindful of how they are affecting the environment.”

A bamboo bag, from Dear Lil' Devas

Greenwald and Dubrovac say that if more companies use organics in their clothing, the world would be a healthier place.

Conventional cotton, which is found in many clothes, is sprayed with pesticides and other toxic chemicals that play a major contribution in pollution.

“Cotton is one of the most chemically-treated crops,” says Dubrovac, noting that farmers who treat cotton are also exposed to harmful toxins.

Organic cotton, however, is non-toxic, biodegradable and pesticide-free.

The trade-off? There is none. The clothes feel soft and luxurious and designers keep the styles trendy and fashionable.

Cotton Ginny’s “bamboo ology” line features Asian-inspired, form-fitting hoodies, pants and skirts which cost $20 to $70.

And these are not fragile fabrics. Organic clothing is durable, meaning it can be machine-washed like conventional fibres and will last just as long.

Copyright Chloe Tejada 2008

1 comment: said...

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