Give Your Wardrobe the Green Treatment

I never really thought of myself as one who is especially environmentally conscious. But after all of the recent media attention on “going green” — including our own eco awareness department here at HV Mag — I decided to do some reflecting. I’ve realized that I do make efforts, however (usually) unconscientiously, to be kind to our ecosystem: I bring my coffee to work in a thermos instead of stopping at Starbucks every morning; I refill my water bottle throughout the day rather than using a different one each time; Though I don’t drive a Prius, the car I lease is a Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle (which means it releases 90 percent cleaner emissions than the average new car); And I can proudly say that I do not own any real fur, and very few pieces of leather. However, on the other hand, I probably have enough bad habits to be put in quarantine by the EPA. For one thing, I can hardly remember the last time I’ve recycled anything. I haven’t carpooled since I played club volleyball in the eighth grade. And the amount of gas I burn per week (roughly estimated at 25 gallons) is utterly atrocious. Now, I’m finding out that even my closet is damaging to our precious Earth.

A few months back, I was up in Woodstock meeting with a storeowner for Shop Talk. I spent the afternoon speaking with Joanna Black of Hip-E Living Boutique, which sells only organic, natural, sustainable, recycled, or energy smart merchandise. To say my interest was piqued would be a gross understatement. Joanna really opened my eyes to a whole other world and realm of, well, fashion. She explained to me the many ways (and reasons) to be more green-minded — not just by recycling soda cans and growing your own vegetables — but also by modifying your wardrobe and choice in cosmetics. According to Joanna, there is a global effort to become more eco-savvy. Retailers everywhere, from large department stores like Nordstrom, to independent designers like Stewart + Brown, to upscale designers like Marc Jacobs, are taking steps toward being socially and environmentally accountable. In addition to creating clothes with eco-friendly materials, their packaging, manufacturing, and retail stores are getting the green treatment.

After my day of enlightenment, I ran over to Mother Earth in Poughkeepsie and purchased a load of organic lotions, shampoos, and other beauty items. For a few weeks I even bought strictly organic produce. Needless to say, my grocery-shopping regimen hasn’t been quite so severe for some time now, though I have continued to be very adamant about using only organic products on my face, hair, and body. But until now, I haven’t quite taken to the clothing aspect of the green movement.

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During the past week, my curiosity about eco-fashion has grown enormously. Last Thursday I attended the Spa Week Media Party in Manhattan, an event that kicked off this season’s Spa Week (which is such a fabulous deal you’d be a fool not to at least check out their Web site). I spent several hours speaking with representatives of fashion and beauty companies like Phyto Universe and Olivier (and having my nails manicured and my makeup professionally applied with Jane Iredale, a mineral cosmetics line). I learned about all of the latest in green beauty, from skin care, to makeup, to hair care, and sampled tasty treats from Le Pain Quotidien and organic martinis by 360 Vodka. Most importantly, I watched a green fashion show — complete with a grass runway — featuring styles by eco-friendly designers Emily Katz, Sameunderneath, Stewart + Brown, and Toggery by Kate D’Arcy. These fashion companies create clothing using green-minded materials like bamboo, organic cotton, and natural hair fibers, and make strides toward being responsible to our society and the environment by using locally obtained products — which saves time, money, and pollution — and taking advantage of factory surplus fabrics — which reduces waste and saves additional resources.

I was really intrigued by this concept: we’re basically helping to save the planet by shopping! I’m also happy to see that the clothes are super fashionable — so don’t worry, wearing eco-friendly garments doesn’t mean you’ll be sporting a burlap potato sack. I’m even more excited that you can find designs by these companies at many stores in the Hudson Valley (see below for details). So now we have no excuse not to green our wardrobes. I’m ready to begin erasing my carbon footprint… are you?

Check out these great looks from the Spa Week Media Party green fashion show:


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 Stewart + Brown                                                   Sameunderneath



              Emily Katz                                                 Toggery by Kate D’Arcy


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Find apparel and accessories from these ecologically conscious designers at these HV boutiques: 

Stewart + Brown 


Outer Luxe

Pamela Robbins



Tru Grace

Hip E Living

Toggery by Kate D’Arcy

Cow Jones Industrial

For more great sustainable fashion, check out Truly Organic Apparel has simple, fresh looks for men and women — and the best part is they use organic cotton and a natural dye process. So, if like me, you’re ready to start taking a green-minded approach to fashion, definitely take a look at their e-commerce site and browse their debut spring/summer 2008 collection.

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