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06-08-2005
  16
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www.americanapparel.net makes organic t shirts too

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08-08-2005
  17
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thanks for the interesting facts melisande I'm all for this, though I wish it would become a bit more widespread (that is, being able to easily find affordable organic clothing in regular shops), as I wish the use of pesticides in general would become less widespread.

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08-08-2005
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Wow, this is a good thread. I hope clothing companies and designers become more aware of the importance of organic fabric.

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08-08-2005
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I really don't see the point. Wearing organic clothing once in awhile isn't really going to help you if your that concerned about pesticides. Unless your going to update your entire wardrobe with their $150 jeans, then I wouldn't worry about clothes with pesticides that most likely affect you less than the air you breathe or the food you eat. Plus there are more important things to worry about in the world than cotton with pesticide that probably can't percolate that badly, like sweatshop labor and animal cruelty.

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08-08-2005
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With all respect, you really didn't get the point. The point is that the same pesticides used on the cotton, get into the soil and the water and eventually into the air you breathe and the food you eat. I am not talking about the toxins leaching out of the clothing; they go into the soil and the water before the cotton is harvested. The entire biosphere is interconnected, you see?

As far as "sweatshop labor", the farmworkers who are exposed to the pesticides are probably as much at risk as the workers who do the sewing in the factories.

Poisoning the biosphere is also quite cruel to animals.

You are correct that buying the occasional organic cotton garment is not going to make a dent in the problem. If everyone started trying to buy organically grown food and products, though, and created a greater demand for organic farming, and there was less demand for agribusiness mass production, then there might be a movement.

I hope I explained myself better this time.

You may say that I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one...

Quote:
Originally Posted by nonee_desul
I really don't see the point. Wearing organic clothing once in awhile isn't really going to help you if your that concerned about pesticides. Unless your going to update your entire wardrobe with their $150 jeans, then I wouldn't worry about clothes with pesticides that most likely affect you less than the air you breathe or the food you eat. Plus there are more important things to worry about in the world than cotton with pesticide that probably can't percolate that badly, like sweatshop labor and animal cruelty.

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08-08-2005
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Nonee, I used to feel that way too, until I learned the information I posted above, perhaps you missed seeing it. Take a look, I think you'll see what we're talking about.

You're welcome Utopia! I agree with you, it is difficult. But unlike political issues where the people have little say, these particular problems are directly contingent on consumer demand; that is, as consumers, we have the power. It won't be easy, but I think we can do it!

Quote:
Originally Posted by tangerine
You may say that I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one...
No, you're not, Tangerine. I hope someday they will join us, and the world will live as one!

Hmm...I think I'll go bump the fair trade thread now... :p

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08-08-2005
  22
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Karma for Tangerine and Melisande I am impressed with you guys, you explain the issues so well!

For those who question the impact of one person's choices, I like the stats on the back of every Seventh Generation package explaining the impact if every household in America substituted just one of these products for conventional. This is a growing movement--all of us together do make a difference. I also like to give "green" gifts, of either a basket of organic products, a Heifer gift card (heifer.org), subscription to a green magazine, etc. My friends have stopped using some toxic chemicals around the house and switched to the good stuff. I bring all the recycling home from my office of about 40 people, and I've been doing it for years. That's like 1500 bags of stuff that didn't go to the landfill. It all adds up. Never think that one person can't make a difference--we can.

PS Another source of organic cotton workout clothes & stuff is Blue Canoe (bluecanoe.com). I've bought from them for years and the quality is good.

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08-08-2005
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Oh, Fashionista-ta, that is so amazing! Bringing home the recycling for 40 people cannot be easy. I'm still relatively new here, but you always write wonderful posts, you really are an inspiring person.

I also use the "good stuff" too :p ; it's really amazing that all we really need is baking soda, citric acid, soap and some natural oils...for everything from our bodies to our homes!

I'm very very interested in the Seventh Generation inscription you mention; do you think I will find it online?

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08-08-2005
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fashionista-ta, thank you for the additional information! Karma right back at ya!

Melisande, thank you also for posting the statistics, and other info.

It's never too late to start making a difference.

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08-08-2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Melisande
Oh, Fashionista-ta, that is so amazing! Bringing home the recycling for 40 people cannot be easy. I'm still relatively new here, but you always write wonderful posts, you really are an inspiring person.

I also use the "good stuff" too :p ; it's really amazing that all we really need is baking soda, citric acid, soap and some natural oils...for everything from our bodies to our homes!

I'm very very interested in the Seventh Generation inscription you mention; do you think I will find it online?
Melisande, thanks, you're so sweet to say that My coworkers think I'm a tree-hugging leftie nut and that I look dumb carrying those bags around, but do I care?

Seventh Generation has a really great newsletter you can subscribe to at their website (seventhgeneration.com). It's long, but great information. Here's an example of what I'm talking about from my bottle of dish liquid:

YOU ARE MAKING A DIFFERENCE (tm)
If every household in the US replaced just one bottle of 28 oz petroleum based dishwashing liquid with our 28 oz vegetable based product, we could save 118,700 barrels of oil, enough to heat and cool 6800 US homes for a year!

Similar statements on their recycled plastic and paper products. But isn't that kind of amazing, just one bottle across the country could do that?

Also, every single product has this quote on it: "In our every deliberation, we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations." From the Great Law of The Iroquois Confederacy

Too bad we learned about the squash and the corn, and didn't pick up on this ... it might've come in handy.

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08-08-2005
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From the July 31, 2005 Baltimore Sun:

Quote:
Eco-style
Quote:

The latest looks in 'green wear' blend sophistication with conscience.


By Elizabeth Large
Sun Staff
Originally published July 31, 2005
With the opening of American Apparel in Federal Hill this month, Baltimore has entered the age of mainstream eco-fashion.

The chain, which sells trendy casual clothes for both sexes, has been phenomenally successful in its eight years of existence. Hailed by some as a new Gap, it has 56 hipper-than-hip stores and a young, controversial CEO.

But American Apparel is most noteworthy because its clothes are "sweatshop free," and it uses that fact as a selling point. Besides paying its workers decent wages and offering good benefits (including massage therapy), the chain has jumped on the environment-friendly bandwagon with its Sustainable Edition line.

"It's our 10 most popular styles in the highest-quality organic cotton," says spokesman Roian Atwood, who also cites various eco-improvements the company has made at its downtown Los Angeles manufacturing plant.

Not to mention the million pounds of fiber and material scraps it recycles each year.

Most important, though, American Apparel's clothes are stylish and inexpensive. This is the reality: People are willing to protect the environment and help the underprivileged if they can look good and not pay too much doing it.

The fast-growing organic food movement has raised interest in all things "green," but fashion is different, says Suzanne Murray, beauty and fashion editor of Organic Style magazine. "There's no real health benefit from buying organic. Green fashion used to not be attractive. Now it is. The aside is, by the way, it uses less pesticides."

According to the Organic Trade Association, sales of organic fiber products, most notably women's clothing, increased almost 23 percent in 2003, the last year for which figures are available. Most of that is organic cotton, which is grown without chemicals. Its farming depends on crop rotation and natural fertilizers.

But beyond organic, some surprising things come under the eco-fashion umbrella. You could say - and Murray does - that vintage wear is part of the green trend because it involves recycling old clothes. New fashion with a vintage look gets the fashionista interested in the real thing, found in attics and thrift shops, so it's good, too, says Murray.

And although this may seem like a stretch, well-made, classic clothes that you don't replace every year are preferable to more ephemeral styles, say eco-manufacturers.

Anything artisanal, such as hand-knit sweaters and hand-sewn clothes, is eco-fashionable because it doesn't involve machines. As is anything manufactured with a social consciousness under safe conditions for fair wages.

Most of us, though, think of green wear as clothing made from material grown or produced without harmful chemicals. Or made from plants that it's almost impossible not to grow, like bamboo and hemp. Or from materials that are biodegradable. That includes both natural fibers and low-impact dyes. Of course, it's more complicated than that. Environmentalists, for instance, aren't happy that fabric made from genetically engineered corn is being touted as an eco-solution.

Needless to say, nylon, polyester and other petroleum-based synthetics coated with formaldehyde are not considered environmentally friendly.

But give yourself green points if you own a trendy handbag made from recycled Coca-Cola cans.

Why the interest now in green wear? After all, it first made its appearance in the early '90s, and shoppers have gradually had more choices with advances in the eco-fabric industry. Credit the current buzz to the trickle-down theory of fashion. Top designers have gotten interested in eco-style, and the end result may be organic knockoffs at your favorite discount store.

When 28 designers including Oscar de la Renta and Halston took part in a runway show called FutureFashion during New York's Fashion Week earlier this year, their stunning, one-of-a-kind designs were made from bamboo threads, fibers spun from corn, organically grown cotton and recycled metal. Buyers were surprised by how good they looked. In the same vein, supermodel Angela Lindvall is providing 40 high-end designers with sustainable fabrics for an eco-show this fall, reports Organic Style's Murray.

"We're more and more seeing openness to this in the highest level of fashion," says Isaac Nichelson, head of Livity Outernational. The company's high-end clothing and accessories are made from hemp, bamboo, recycled bottles and pesticide-free organic cottons, combined with Earth-friendly methods of manufacturing. Nichelson's collection is now available at Bloomingdale's, Urban Outfitters, boutiques and specialty shops.

"[This acceptance is] so clearly the future," he says.

It may be the future, but the future is now. Too bad many Americans haven't noticed.

Timberlake and Patagonia, the outdoor-clothing manufacturer, have for years been producing clothes with a conscience. Patagonia, for instance, doesn't use finishes like formaldehyde on its products. In 1993, it started using fleece made from recycled plastic soda bottles. The company converted its entire line of sportswear to organically grown cotton in 1996.

But people buy Patagonia's products primarily because they like their looks and fit.

Nike is the largest retail user of organic cotton in the world, according to the nonprofit Organic Exchange. Check out the Nike Organics fall collection of active wear.

And for even more mass appeal, Wal-Mart's Sam's Club stores this spring introduced an organic line of yoga-inspired women's clothing.

For those who want to dress like a rock star and be public-spirited about it, Bono of U2 fame and his wife, Ali Hewson, launched a green-wear line last March called Edun (nude spelled backward), on sale at Saks Fifth Avenue and Barneys New York.

Nordstrom is working to incorporate organic cotton into a portion of its private-label offering, says spokesman John Bailey. "Also, from time to time, our stores have offered products, such as organic cotton T-shirts in our men's departments, that have been popular with customers."

Whole Foods Market, a leading retailer of organic and natural foods, is carrying green apparel in its flagship store in Austin, Texas, and is considering expansion. "That will be huge," says Organic Style's Murray. "That will have an impact."

The impact will be on people like Keirsten Funderbunk of Towson, who says she eats organic foods and is a vegetarian. She shops at Whole Foods and Trader Joe's, and uses natural beauty products like Aveda. But the 27-year-old doesn't dress green. She buys her clothes at Lerner's.

"[Organic fashion] would definitely be of interest to me if I saw it out there, but I don't see it," she says. In spite of her environmental awareness, she adds, "It would have to keep up with the trends, and it would have to be stylish."

Going green

Right now the best resource for those interested in green wear is the Internet. Here are some sites to get you started:

www.ecoist.com

Unusual handbags and coin purses made from candy wrappers, snack bags and soda labels.

www.bamboosa.com

Clothes for men, women and babies made from bamboo. Bamboo is a sustainable resource, grown without chemicals and naturally regenerative. Bamboo fiber is softer than cotton and feels more like silk or cashmere.

www.nosweatapparel.com

Sweatshop-free clothing and sneakers, some organic.

www.organicclothes.com

Clothes made from certified organic cotton, wool and linen and pesticide-free hemp.

www.bluecanoe.com

High-quality organic yoga wear, casual wear and lingerie.

www.lindaloudermilk.com

Check out the designer's Luxury Eco collection, featuring organics and recycled vintage.

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08-08-2005
  27
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Thanks, Atelier, karma for you! Fantastic article with some information that was new to me!

I try to buy really basic things organic, like short and long-sleeve Ts (like Mobility-Ts from Patagonia), knit skirts (Patagonia), some of the stuff I sleep in, and household stuff like sheets, towels, washcloths. I hope we start to see more & more fashionable alternatives. Armani has done some hemp and linen stuff for Armani A/X--only big-time designer I can think of.

I also believe in wearing things till they fall apart. And when that happens, new cleaning rags

The "vintage" thing applies to more than clothes--I have a house that's almost 80 years old, with vintage light fixtures I've had rewired & installed, some antique furniture, and tons of glassware and dinnerware from about the same era as the house. And it's all "green" ...

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09-08-2005
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Thank you, Fashionista-ta and Atelier, for the important information!

Tree-hugging leftie nut? That would be me too...and proud of it :p! Yes, it is amazing that one bottle each could do that. I'm going to look the seventhgeneration website up. The Iroquois quote is so moving! Your home sounds absolutely lovely, Fashionsita-ta! Antiques and handicrafts have always been some of my passions.

I've mentioned this before but www.peopletree.com is my favorite site for ethical fashion. Really nice, fashionable options, organic AND fair trade as well, not just sweatshop free. What more can I ask for?

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09-08-2005
  29
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I have organic cotton clothing, and it is soooo soft! plus, it has none of the nasty chemicals other fabrics have.

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09-08-2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LucindaMay
I have organic cotton clothing, and it is soooo soft! plus, it has none of the nasty chemicals other fabrics have.
Organic bedding is sooooo nice. I found a queen size organic cotton blanket from Ross for $20 . I know thats not typical, but I was sooo shocked when I found it.

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