With Earth day approaching, we all start considering what we are doing to reduce our “carbon footprint”. A lot of us drive hybrid cars, buy organic produce, take public transportation and of course, recycle. As a personal shopper, I started thinking of ways I can encourage people, including myself, to be a little greener in the way they dress. I don’t mean to suggest that green is the new black, but keep an open mind, and it just might be.
Designers getting into eco-friendly garments, shoes and handbags are truly multiplying at a staggering rate. Denim brands like 7 for all Mankind, James Jeans and even Levi’s are all doing eco-friendly versions. Skinny, wide legged and boot cut styles are all covered. Most are made with organic cotton with some stretch thrown in, some even using recycled zippers, buttons and rivets. One company will even “fix” the gaping holes in your favorite old pair of jeans by reweaving them with matching thread… www.denimtherapy.com.
Stella McCartney, talented designer and offspring of Paul has never used animal or fur products in her designs. As a lifelong vegetarian, her designs align with this long held principle. She even has shoes in her line and watch out, they are high and tres chic! Terra Plana (www.terraplana.com) is another shoe line that is made from sustainable or recycled materials. This line includes everything from sandals to dressy pumps. Tom’s Shoes also adheres to the socially conscious concept by donating a pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair you buy (www.tomsshoes.com).
If it’s handbags you want, no worries, there are plenty of green alternatives. Canadian designer Ashley Watson (www.ashleywatson.com) makes every bag out of recycled leather, which makes each one a little different from the next. Ella Vickers (www.ellavickers) is one of several designers that use old sail boat sails to make roomy tote bags, duffels, backpacks and dog beds as well. You have to love Kim White handbags (www.kimwhitehandbags.com) because they are all made of reclaimed car upholstery from the 70’s and 80’s! She also uses furniture upholstery from the 50’s to 70’s. I never thought the “Gremlin” could look this good!
In a similar category, my favorite shopping bag, beach bag, and all around great tote is the Envirosax line (www.envirosax.com). They are carried locally at Maison d’Erte, 5640 College Ave. in Rockridge. This line comes in many different colors and graphic prints, is paper light and folds up super small. They are reasonably priced and last forever. This is my very favorite gift giving item.
White Apricot (www.whiteapricot.com) is a great website for those of you who want to take green fashion to the next level. They have great top ten lists and feature only designers, clothing, shoe and handbag lines that are eco-friendly. They make dressing green easy to do.
In addition to buying green, there are many ways to make what you already own green. Obviously, recycling clothing by giving it to a worthy non-profit is a great way to reuse clothing. Re-purposing clothing by having it altered is another way. A good seamstress or tailor is very important in this endeavor. The main alteration I suggest to clients is to shorten long pants to a Capri or walking short, and shortening a traditional trench to knee length or shorter. Consigning current styles and making some money back is another way to guarantee more wear from a stylish garment. Vintage is one of my favorite ways of recycling. I happen to love the lines and shapes of vintage handbags. They take me back to a different time, and I find myself wondering who once carried my stylish bag. I have a wonderful vintage Christian Dior handbag that I just love using and I can feel good about reusing.
On Saturday, April 26, 2008 is an event that I think is the epitome of the whole green movement. “Discarded to Divine” (www.discardedtodivine.com) is the brainchild of Sally Rosen with the St. Vincent DePaul society. Academy of Art University, City College of San Francisco and FIDM students have created over 100 garments from the discard bin at St. Vincent DePaul. 50% of every garment is discarded material including curtains, upholstery, old wedding dresses, bedding and many other materials. The event is being hosted at the Academy of Art Tent at 601 Brannan Street from 7-9:30 p.m. on April 26th. There will be both a silent and live auction and all proceeds from the ticket sales and auctioned items will be donated to St. Vincent DePaul. All of the food, drinks, models fees and venue have been donated and the theme of the event will be …you guessed it, GREEN!
This event really closes the circle of recycling and giving back to the community, what a potent combination. It should also be noted that Oakland born, later Piedmont High School Alumni, Amanda Cleary is one of the Academy students that has designed a couture dress for the event. The dress is featured on the www.discardedtodivine.com website. Tickets are $45-$90 and they are going fast! Happy Earth Day!