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16-11-2006
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stylebites, that is brilliant!
what a fantastic move. can you say who it would be for, or is it still confidential?

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16-11-2006
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Just wanted to recommend this website I ordered from recently:

www.lotusorganics.com

I got this snuggly organic cotton fleece robe in lavender:


They even included a little hand-written thank-you note in the package, complete with little squiggly artwork around my name, cute

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18-11-2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fash ho'
stylebites, that is brilliant!
what a fantastic move. can you say who it would be for, or is it still confidential?
Thanks for the support FashHo'!

I'm waiting for more to be firmed up before I make an announcement but if all works as planned it will be a major project that you'll all hear about. This has actually been a long-term goal of mine and working as a fashion editor/stylist for the past few years was always a way of preparing for the eventual move to fashion sustainability work.

Don't worry...I'll make sure tFS is the first to know! I'm going to make sure that we all have a way of shopping for the clothes that we love--beautiful clothes--while not compromising our ethics!

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18-11-2006
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Congratulations stylebites!! Can't wait to hear updates on the project!

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17-12-2006
  260
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Stumbled upon this designer's website: http://www.lindaloudermilk.com/wf06/wf06_022.html

All materials are supposedly made from ecofriendly sources.




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18-12-2006
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^^ they look beautiful!

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17-01-2007
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Wanted to post another brand: www.thelivingplanet.net. (Note site works with Internet Explorer but would not play nice with my Firefox at all).

I purchased a shirt from this brand at a brick and mortar store and am impressed by the stitching and quality of the fabric. Enjoy.

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25-01-2007
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Article published in the NY Times today about the environmenntal hazards of fast fashion:
Quote:
Can Polyester Save the World?
By ELISABETH ROSENTHAL
Published: January 25, 2007

WOKING, England - JOSEPHINE COPELAND and her 20-year-old daughter, Jo Jo, visited Primark at the Peacock Center mall here, in the London suburbs, to buy presents for friends, but ended up loaded with clothes for themselves: boots, a cardigan, a festive blouse, and a long silver coat with faux fur trim, which cost £12 but looks like a million bucks. “If it falls apart, you just toss it away!” said Jo Jo, proudly wearing her purchase.

Environmentally, that is more and more of a problem.

With rainbow piles of sweaters and T-shirts that often cost less than a sandwich, stores like Primark are leaders in the quick-growing “fast fashion” industry, selling cheap garments that can be used and discarded without a second thought. Consumers, especially teenagers, love the concept, pioneered also by stores like H&M internationally and by Old Navy and Target in the United States, since it allows them to shift styles with speed on a low budget.

But clothes — and fast clothes in particular — are a large and worsening source of the carbon emissions that contribute to global warming, because of how they are both produced and cared for, concludes a new report from researchers at Cambridge University titled “Well Dressed?”

The global textile industry must become eco-conscious, the report concludes. It explores how to develop a more “sustainable clothing” industry — a seeming oxymoron in a world where fashions change every few months.

“Hmmm,” said Sally Neild, 44, dressed in casual chic, in jeans and boots, as she pondered such alien concepts, shopping bags in hand. “People now think a lot about green travel and green food. But I think we are a long way from there in terms of clothes. People are mad about those stores.”

It is hard to imagine how customers who rush after trends, or the stores that serve them, will respond to the report’s suggestions: that people lease clothes and return them at the end of a month or a season, so the garments can be lent again to someone else — like library books — and that they buy more expensive and durable clothing that can be worn for years.

In terms of care, the report highlights the benefits of synthetic fabrics that require less hot water to wash and less ironing. It suggests that consumers air-dry clothes and throw away their tumble dryers, which require huge amounts of energy.

But some big retailers are starting to explore their options. “Our research shows that customers are getting very concerned about environmental issues, and we don’t want to get caught between the eyes,” said Mike Barry, head of corporate social responsibility at Marks & Spencer, one of Britain’s largest retailers, which helped pay for the Cambridge study. “It’s a trend that we know won’t go away after a season, like a poncho.”

Customers “will ask ‘what are you doing?’ ” Mr. Barry said, noting that 70 percent of Britons shop at his chain. “So we’re doing a lot of thinking about what a sustainable clothing industry could look like in five years.”

Consumers spend more than $1 trillion a year on clothing and textiles, an estimated one-third of that in Western Europe, another third in North America, and about a quarter in Asia. In many places, cheap, readily disposable clothes have displaced hand-me-downs as the mainstay of dressing.

“My mother had the same wardrobe her entire life,” Ms. Neild said. “For my daughter, styles change every six months and you need to keep up.”

As a result, women’s clothing sales in Britain rose by 21 percent between 2001 and 2005 alone to about £24 billion ($47.6 billion), spurred by lower prices, according to the Cambridge report.

And while many people have grown accustomed to recycling cans, bottles and newspapers, used clothes are generally thrown away. “In a wealthy society, clothing and textiles are bought as much for fashion as for function,” the report says, and that means that clothes are replaced “before the end of their natural life.”

Dr. Julian Allwood, who led a team of environmental researchers in conducting the report, noted in an interview that it is now easier for British consumers to toss unwanted clothes than to take them to a recycling center, and easier to throw clothes into the hamper for a quick machine wash and dry than to sponge off stains.

He hopes his report will educate shoppers about the costs to the environment, so that they change their behavior.

There are many examples of how changing consumer priorities have forced even the most staid retailers to alter the way they do business.

Last year Marks & Spencer — Britain’s mainstay for products like underwear and shortbread — decided to go organic in its food business; it now sells only free-trade coffee and teas, for example. Many executives regarded the shift as a foolish and risky decision, but the store found that sales jumped 12 percent. The store learned a lesson that executives think will apply to clothes.

“Morally, we know more sustainable clothing is the right thing to do, but we are more and more convinced that commercially it is the right thing as well,” Mr. Barry said. In fact, marketing the “green” value of clothing, even if costs a bit more, may provide an advantage over competitors.

Part of the problem is that neither manufacturers nor customers understand much about how and when clothing purchases degrade the environment, since these can occur anywhere from the harvest of cotton or the manufacture of synthetic fibers to how — and how often — the garment must be washed.

“We’ve got fantastic standards when it comes to food, but it is all brand-new when it comes to clothes,” Mr. Barry admitted. “We have a lot to learn.”

In their efforts to buy green, customers tend to focus on packaging and chemicals, issues that do not factor in with clothing. Likewise, they purchase “natural” fibers like cotton, believing they are good for the environment.

But that is not always the case: while so-called organic cotton is exemplary in the way it avoids pesticides, cotton garments squander energy because they must be washed frequently at high temperatures, and generally require tumble-drying and ironing. Sixty percent of the carbon emissions generated by a simple cotton T-shirt comes from the 25 washes and machine dryings it will require, the Cambridge study found.

A polyester blouse, by contrast, takes more energy to make, since synthetic fabric comes from materials like wood and oil. But upkeep is far more fuel-efficient, since polyester cleans more easily and dries faster.

Over a lifetime, a polyester blouse uses less energy than a cotton T-shirt.

One way to change the balance would be to develop technology to treat cotton so that it did not absorb odors so readily.

Also, Dr. Allwood said that “reducing washing temperature has a huge impact,” speaking of a significant drop from about 122 Fahrenheit to 105. Even better, he said, would be to drop washing temperature below normal body temperatures, but that would require changes in washing machines and detergents.

The report suggests that retailers could begin to lease clothes for a season (just as wedding stores rent tuxedos) or buy back old clothes from customers at a discount, for recycling.

But experiments along these lines have faltered. A decade ago, Hanna Andersson, an eco-conscious American clothing company, tried offering mail-order customers 20 percent credit toward new purchases if they sent back their used garments. This “hannadowns” program was canceled after two years.

People hope “we’ll find new sources of energy, so we won’t really have to change much,” Dr. Allwood said. “But that is extremely unlikely.”

To cut back the use of carbons and make fashion truly sustainable, shoppers will have “to own less, to have less stuff,” Dr. Allwood said. “And that is a very hard sell.”

And so Marks & Spencer is thinking about whether its customers will be willing to change their buying habits, to pay more for less-fashionable but “sustainable” garments. After all, consumers have shown a willingness to pay more for clothes not made in sweatshops, and some are unwilling to buy diamonds because of forced labor in African mines.

On a recent day outside Marks & Spencer on Guildford High Street, where everyone was loaded with shopping bags, Audrey Mammana, who is 45, said she was not “a throw-away person” and would be happy to lease high-end clothing for a season. She would also be willing to repair old clothes to extend their use, although fewer shops perform this task.

But, she added: “If you cut out tumble-drying, I think you’d lose me. I couldn’t do without that.”
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/25/fashion/25pollute.html?ref=fashion

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16-04-2007
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extracts from a new article on organic textiles
from wwd.com

Quote:
Fashion code
Published: Tuesday, April 10, 2007
By Kavita Daswani

For eco-friendly clothing makers, the choice to go green is based in morality.

For some vendors, moving into organic and eco-sustainable clothing and accessories means employing local communities. For others, it's about reusing old materials — including rubber tires and plastic milk jugs.

But whatever their methods, manufacturers across the country who are now focusing on organic lines say they were motivated by a sense of personal responsibility.

"If everybody changes their purchases to a sustainable product, producers will start doing more sustainable products, period. The market will demand it of them," said Marylou Marsh-Sanders, a co-founder of sustainable clothing line Spiritex, in Asheville, N.C. The year-old line is the latest step in a 17-year journey for Sanders, whose previous company, Ecosport, in 1990 became one of the first to mass-produce garments made from organically grown cotton.

"We are trying to come into the marketplace using fair trade and fairly priced fabrics," said Sanders. "Our goal for social responsibility covers not just the organic element, but the fact that everything is sewn locally. It's extremely important to try and center your business so you can support locally grown products instead of using a cheap labor pool from China and paying higher prices for fuel, which is inevitable."

Denise Mari, owner and founder of Organic Avenue, a New York store that has dedicated half its space to sustainable and organic fashion, will introduce for fall her own line of clothing made from ahimsa silk, a type of fabric that doesn't harm the silkworms that produce it, as well as organic cotton and hemp. She will also abandon conventional dyeing processes and instead use vegetable dyes that do not pollute the environment.

"People love the way organic clothing feels," said Mari, "so if something is hot, and it's good for the planet, too, that's extra amazing."

The focus on organic products is happening in accessories as well as clothing. Simple Shoes, a company in Santa Barbara, Calif., that has been around since 1991, ventured into the organic arena in 2004.

"We wanted to be more responsible to the environment," said Monica DeVreese, the company's brand manager. "The reality is that the footwear industry creates a huge amount of garbage. We wanted to do our part to rectify that."

The new products, under the name Green Toe, were launched in fall 2005 with the goal of overcoming "the stereotype that eco-friendly shoes are just for hippies, and [to show] that they can look good and be comfortable."

Made of natural materials like crepe rubber, cork mixes and jute, the shoes are constructed using water-based adhesives instead of the typical chemical variety, and as much stitching as possible. The shoes have names such as Toeday and Toetally, and a brand-new collection of eco-friendly sneakers, called ecoSneaks, will offer models like the Satire, Atire and Retire because they are made using recycled rubber tires. EcoSneaks will launch on July 1, and feature elements made from recycled water bottles and organic cottons, and make use of bamboo as a natural odor inhibitor. Even the laces are made from recycled plastic.

"The whole idea is to keep a really lighthearted, feel-good attitude," said DeVreese. "We don't want to be too serious or preachy. We just want to do the best effort we can do in terms of innovation for the season."

The shoes are produced in China, but DeVreese defends that decision: "It's not where, it's how. We make sure that the factories protect workers' rights and [address] environmental issues," she said.

Newcomers to the arena are finding that the public increasingly responds to clothing lines that are produced without harming the

environment.

"I'd been working in fashion for a while, but realized I wanted to do something that had a little more meaning," said Raina Blyer, founder of a line called Ryann. "I was bothered by a lot of practices in the industry — unfair trading and the environmental impact — and wanted to work with a company I could stand behind."

Two years ago, she launched Ryann, based in New York. Every piece has "some eco property," she said, in the form of hemp, recycled polyester, bamboo and soy-cotton blends. But for Blyer, it's about more than just the fabrics; her production is done entirely in New York, and she uses minimal packaging, no hangers and recycled paper for printing. Instead of driving to the factory, she takes the subway, and — as much as possible — delivers orders herself instead of using the mail.
It's not just about cutting costs, but also considering the environmental impact," she said. "Every little thing makes a

difference."

Kelly Barry was compelled to begin an organic line after studying environmental science and working in the fashion industry, supplying organic cotton to companies making yoga and baby clothing.

"The larger companies hadn't yet hit on the high-end organic fashion idea, so I saw this niche for fashionable and environmentally sustainable clothing that was really current with what's going on," she said. She introduced her spring 2007 Kelly B collection during San Francisco Fashion Week and signed 15 stores, and has since acquired another 15 accounts. She is based in San Francisco, and all her manufacturers are no more than 30 minutes away, allowing her to ensure that the production is in keeping with her standards.

"I pick and choose who I work with, know that they pay their employees fairly and make sure that the dying processes are what they should be," she said, adding that the factories use dye powder that is especially low in chemicals and the water used is recirculated instead of being dumped into the ocean.

Some vendors see the exercise as a way of giving back to the community. Carmela Pinillos de Brouwer, founder of Inca Mama in Los Angeles, a maker of sweaters using organic cotton, bamboo and hand-woven alpaca, does 80 percent of her production in Centro Victoria, a facility in Lima, Peru, that helps former drug addicts get back on their feet. Every Saturday, she helps fund a breakfast there for 80 children who might be tempted to turn to drugs. The rest of the production is done by a family in Lima that was previously living in a brick-and-cardboard shack. According to de Brouwer, the family earned $30,000 last year working for Inca Mama and have been able to build a home.

"I really wanted to give back to Peru and the community," said de Brouwer, who was born north of Lima but went to school there. "It feels good to give them hope."

Retailers have taken to the concept, as well, and the Inca Mama business has doubled year-on-year
........

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16-04-2007
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Quote:
"People love the way organic clothing feels," said Mari, "so if something is hot, and it's good for the planet, too, that's extra amazing."
Extra amazing, eh? I take it Mari wasn't an English major.

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17-04-2007
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just a heads up, the newest issue of american ELLE magazine is their GREEN issue and i think it's the best one they have put out thus far. lot's of articles on organic clothing, and overall some of the best $$ i've thrown away on a magazine in years.......

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17-04-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ilaughead
Extra amazing, eh? I take it Mari wasn't an English major.
Hey, not everyone can be so lucky

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17-04-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ilaughead
Extra amazing, eh? I take it Mari wasn't an English major.
slightly extra off topic-ish here, arent we dear?

:p

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22-04-2007
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I think the eco-friendly, fair trade "trend" has become a passion for some designers now.

Eco-friendly seems to be the latest buzz word, but it is not safe to assume the term includes 'fair trade'. Here are a few things I noticed today while I was researching this issue.


Recycled glass / harrison-design.com


Denim trench / annacohen.com


mythandritualclothing.com


stewartbrown.com


Hemp and silk trousers / annacohen.com

In addition to the designers noted above, here are a few more new and not so new designers to check out for their latest efforts in eco-friendly design.

lindaloudermilk.com
noir-illuminati2.com
kellybcouture.com
charmoneshoes.com
minkshoes.com
ciel.ltd.uk

In comparison to the products that were available even one year ago, it seems that the designs are now expanding beyond the grassroots, hippie arena.

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23-04-2007
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ethical consuming article published by the Observer

Quote:
The human cost of cheap high street clothes


Dan McDougall in New Delhi and Jamie Doward
Sunday April 22, 2007
The Observer


Two of Britain's leading retail chains are selling clothing made by child slaves, an Observer investigation reveals today. The exposé raises serious questions about this country's soaring demand for low-cost clothing and has triggered angry calls for retailers to take far greater care in sourcing garments.
In a network of mud-bricked sweatshops in the lawless Haryana area of New Delhi, India, this newspaper found dozens of children cramped together producing clothes for the UK high street.

In one sweatshop, children were finishing a summer dress, now on sale for £16.99 in 250 Select clothing stores across Britain. 'I was brought here from Bihar [the poorest state in India],' said Shafiq who first claimed to be 14 but later admitted to being 11.
'All my family know is I have come to Delhi to work. They were paid a fee for me and I was brought by road from Patna with 40 other children. If they knew I had ended up here they wouldn't have let me go. But now I can't telephone them - they live in a small village. I am going to work off the fee the owner paid for me so I can go home but I am working for free. The supervisor has told me because I am learning I don't get paid. It's been like this for four months. I've had only two days off. And that was only because the factory was flooded.'

Prakesh, who is also on 'probation' and working for free, claims to be 13 but his colleagues jokingly claim he is closer to nine. He bares fresh wounds on the backs of his legs but while his supervisor looks on, denies he has been beaten.

'I want to work here. I have somewhere to sleep at night,' he says looking furtively behind him. 'The work is hard and my back hurts from crouching over the material but I am learning. I often hear other children playing in the street outside but it is my job to work. My parents needed the money for the other members of my family and they sold me. It is my duty to stay here. Another boy ran away. The supervisor told me he is in prison. I don't want to go to prison.'

.........
link to the full the observer article

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