It’s almost spring 2012 and, when it comes to fashion, green is most definitely the new black. Not the color green (although there are tons of gorgeous emeralds, kellys, citrusy limes, and seafoams to choose from this season) but the philosophy of green sustainability. The GreenShows debuted at New York Fashion Week in 2009 and their lineup of contemporary earth-friendly designers has grown stronger and more eco-luxurious each year proving that style, substance, and innovation go together beautifully.
Even everyone’s favorite fashion extravaganza, the Academy Awards red carpet, is getting in on the action. Red Carpet Green Dress, started by Suzy Amis Cameron (yes, wife of director James Cameron), is an international design competition to create an Oscar worthy dress made of entirely sustainable materials. Missi Pyle from The Artist wore this year’s winning confection by Valentina Delfino!
Read Related: Seven Ways to an Eco-Friendly New Home
With a little smart shopping, you too can be an eco-friendly fashionista!
Vintage and thrift stores are the easiest (and often least expensive) way to shop green. There’s no need to check fiber content, where the garment came from, or who made it—just reduce, reuse, and recycle with abandon!
Bianca Moreno co-owner of the ultra-hip NYC treasure trove of vintage chic, A Little Wicked, puts it best: “Vintage is not only about rocking your own individual style (since no one else will have what you’re wearing). But its also about pushing your creativity. When you’re on the hunt at a thrift store or flea market you have to imagine what this piece might look like with a shorter hemline, or with different buttons. Little tweaks can go a long way in giving an old garment, new life.
And what we call ‘upcycling’ (as opposed to recycling) is amazing for the environment. There are so many beautiful pieces of clothing in the world, why create more, using more resources, and wasting water and energy, when we can just smartly upcycle what already exists. That’s the Wicked way!”
And if searching for hidden treasures at the local Goodwill isn’t your cup of tea, check out Ebay Green, Goodwill’s online shop, or one of Etsy’s numerous storefronts and go on a virtual treasure hunt.
For a (somewhat) guilt-free splurge, YOOXYGEN has a great selection of fantastic eco-friendly designer pieces from the likes of Stella McCartney and Hussein Chalayan. They also feature exclusive limited edition collabos with Carmina Campos, and Vivienne Westwood, and Katharine Hamnett. And if you’re looking for a conversation-starting party frock, Reclaim to Wear by Livia [email protected] is a one-off fifties-inspired cocktail dress made entirely of recycled fabric.
Go the indie route at the IOU Project. Each garment is handmade and completely traceable from weaving the fabric to arriving at your doorstep. These are clothes with a story, not to mention they’re fun, unique, wearable, and totally hip.
If, like most of us, denim is one of your wardrobe staples, you’ve got plenty of fabulous options. Each pair of Raleigh Denim jeans is hand-sewn and signed—although such tender loving care doesn’t come cheap (at around $285). Monkee Genes and Loomstate are slightly more affordable and just as green, or blue, or red (the red skinny is huge right now!). Of course, there’s no shortage of pre-worn jeans out there if you’re willing to search. Or just check out indie boutiques who lovingly upcycle old garments into amazing new creations like the green 3 denim skirt above.
Last and absolutely not least, what’s a fantastic ensemble without killer shoes? Melissa turns recycled plastic into colorful, whimsical creations—from platform peep-toe wedges to adorable ballet flats, they could be your perfect spring shoe. If you’re looking for more versatility, Neuaura, Novacas, and Beyond Skin all offer an amazing range of cool, affordable, vegan, Earth-friendly footwear.