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Campus chic

Credit: Frances Soong | Art Staff Credit: Frances Soong | Art Staff

These days, people are starting to become more and more aware of the environment. They try to buy products that are more environmentally friendly in every aspect, and fashion is no exception. Every year, eco-friendly materials appear on the runway; however, many people are not used to eco-fashion and are not really sure what it is. Here is a brief introduction to eco-fashion and some tips on how to translate eco-friendliness to your own wardrobe.

Eco-friendly clothes are made of raw organic materials that do not use pesticides. In addition, they do not involve the use of harmful chemicals or bleaches to color the fabric. These materials are often made from recycled and reused textiles. High-quality garments can be made from second-hand clothes and even recycled plastic bottles. Finally, eco-friendly clothes are made in a fair trade environment. People involved in the process of making these materials are treated and paid fairly.

Hemp

The textile with the highest potential for being eco-friendly is hemp. The ecological footprint of hemp is significantly smaller than any other fabric. Hemp plants grow quickly and densely, so it makes it difficult for weeds to interfere with the harvesting. The use of pesticides and other chemicals is also greatly reduced. In addition, hemp does not require much water, so no irrigation is needed. Hemp fibers are naturally long and require minimal spinning and processing work. Thus, hemp is very eco-friendly and long lasting. If you are interested in hemp clothing, try www.hempest.com. The site offers organic hemp clothing, accessories, gear, paper, food, and body care products. They have anything you can imagine in hemp.

Organic cotton

More farmers are getting involved with organic cotton — the process of growing cotton in which, during the growing cycles, farmers do not use pesticides, herbicides, or insecticides. Moreover, in the process of manufacturing clothes from organic cotton, producers use natural dyes to reduce the amount of artificial chemicals. In recent years, new cotton growing techniques have emerged that grow colored cotton. The process naturally grows cotton in shades of blue, green, and other colors. In fact, the color of the cotton gets more vibrant as the clothes are washed. Loomstate (Loomstate.org), a clothing brand based in New York City, uses 100 percent certified organic cotton from various regions of the world such as Turkey, Peru, Africa, India, and the United States in all their clothes. They were also featured at Barneys New York.

Soy silk

Soy silk is a byproduct from making tofu. The liquefied proteins are extruded into fibers that are then spun and used like any other fiber. It is easy to purchase this silk yarn and make your own scarves or sweaters. Try www.soysilk.com to order some. The high protein content makes it easier to dye colors, so you can even create your own color.

Bamboo

It may be surprising, but bamboo is actually highly renewable grass. Because it is highly renewable, it is classified as eco-friendly. Bamboo grass also has natural antibacterial properties so it is easily biodegradable. If you want to see what kind of clothing can be made out of bamboo grass, check out www.organicbambooclothing.com. They offer a variety of clothing made from bamboo.

Wool

Wool can be an eco-friendly material as long as conscious effort is made in processing. With high emphasis on productivity and speed, wool is produced from factory-farmed sheep. These sheep live miserable lives and their handlers do not care for the condition of these sheep. It is common to cut off a sheep’s nose in the shearing process. With a responsible, eco-friendly manufacturer, most of these issues can be alleviated and truly eco-friendly wool can be produced.