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Eco Friendly Clothing Materials

Apr 20, 2012

With spring in the air, a lot of us are looking to hit the re-start button. And Earth Day is the perfect opportunity to focus on renewal. Kidzworld interviewed Terra Wellington, actress, environmentalist and the author of a new book, The Mom's Guide to Growing Your Family Green.

Kidzworld: What materials are the greenest and why?

Terra: For new clothes, if you can find clothing made out of organic cotton, hemp, bamboo, recycled polyester, or Tencel (made from wood pulp) -- these are the more eco-friendly fabrics. 

Organic cotton is currently one of the more commonly found eco-friendly materials.  To grow and process regular cotton (also called "conventional cotton"), it usually requires a lot of intensive chemicals and pesticides -- and some people feel that the residue from those chemicals stay in this cotton after a shirt or pants are made.  However, with organic cotton the farmers are required to grow the cotton without toxic fertilizers and pesticides.  This is of great benefit to you, so that you're not exposed to these chemicals, as well as great benefit to our soils, water, and beneficial insects (like bees).

Hemp is not as common but has great promise because it requires little-to-no pesticides or herbicides, less water to grow, and can be turned into several different types of fabrics -- faux silk, linen, knit, stretch, canvas, and muslin.

Other fabrics like bamboo, recycled polyester, and Tencel are great for reasons of using less resources to grow (bamboo), re-using (recycled polyester), and being biodegradable and chemical free (Tencel).

Kidzworld: Which brands are using green materials right now?

TerraLevi's has a "waterless" jean. The company has found ways to make jeans without using so much water in the manufacturing process -- the site is super cool and is in partnership with my friends at Water.org.

H&M has an eco-friendly Conscious line. This is unique because H&M is known for fast fashion.  This is a beautiful, budget-friendly line that just debuted. Blouses, jackets, skirts, pants, shorts, and dresses use Tencel, recycled polyester (made of PET bottles and textile waste), and organic cotton.

Anvil Knitwear has an "eco" collection of t-shirts made from organic cotton and recycled polyester. And American Apparel has a number of basic organic t-shirts, dresses, and underwear. 

Hanes also has a green line of clothes, made from recycled plastic bottles. It's their  ComfortBlend™ EcoSmart®  line and features T-shirts, sweatshirts and polo shirts. In one year, Hanes will recycle the equivalent of more than 10 million plastic bottles to produce these shirts. "Revenge Is" is another lined based in LA that uses similar materials.

I wish more retailers and brands would be more consistent and dedicated to sustainable fashion.  Sometimes you'll see a blip of organic t-shirts for sale around Earth Day, or you'll find socks made of organic cotton mixed in with everything else.  But the fashion industry has been very slow to provide eco-friendly choices, especially for teens -- which is why H&M and Levi's, in particular, are to be commended.  This is also why I highly recommend "re-use", as it is often a much easier way for teens to go green.

Kidzworld: Tell us more about re-use materials.

Terra:  Re-use fashion, also called vintage, is one of the most fun ways you can go green. By re-using clothes instead of sending them to the landfill, you're showing your love for less waste. Much of the new clothes that you find in the mall or department stores looks the same.  Re-using vintage pieces is a great way to show your unique style and be creative. If you're crafty, sometimes all it takes is a little embellishment, a little extra dart or pleat, or some fun accessories to put together a very happening re-use combo. There's a store in Los Angeles called "It's a Wrap" in which the film studios off-load all their clothing from movies and TV shows, and the public can come in and purchase designerwear and cute clothing at a discount. 

Also, if you have a special occasion coming up, such as prom, you might consider renting your dress.  In many of the major cities the dress rental business has become more sophisticated, and you can find amazing, cute dresses to rent for about $50.00.  By renting a dress that you will probably never wear again, you are not only saving money but also supporting re-use.

Have Your Say

Do you do vintage or is it just a pile of someone's old clothes to you? What do you think of the hot eco-friendly styles above? Tell us below and share your thoughts!

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Dear Dish-It In The Forums

drowning
drowning posted in Style:
  "imtcutiie" wrote: DONT DO IT JUST PLEASE #### #### #### ......... CHANGING EYE COLOR  JUST WRONG   Changing eye color isn't wrong. :^) But, you can't simply change it with "spells" or videos. To change your eye color, you will need to either wear contacts during the day to appear that you have different colored eyes than you truly have, or medically having a doctor perform surgical iris correction.
reply about 8 hours
drowning
drowning posted in Family Issues:
I hope you texted back if you felt that it would be the right thing to do for yourself. I did not have a good childhood due to my birthmother and father. But, in recent time, I have come to enjoy talking to my birthfather and completely cannot stand my birthmother or her new husband anymore. I plan to actually meet him for the first time in 16 years if I can join my fiancé's family vacation.  Point of the matter, do what you feel is right. If you want to talk to him; talk to him. If you don't, don't reply if you don't feel comfortable too. It is purely your choice who you allow in your life, even when it comes down to blood and family.
reply about 8 hours
drowning
drowning posted in Family Issues:
It isn't pathetic in the slightest to seek help. I don't think it is right for your mother and siblings to completely disown you over your choice of living arrangements. If they have pushed you away, remember that it is not your fault and it is purely theirs. You made a choice that you felt would benefit you, and judging from their behavior, it was a good choice. As for your father, I don't fight with my own very much, but when I do it tends to be pretty bad. My mother on the other hand, I fight with constantly so I understand where you're coming from. You shouldn't have to do anything. From the sound of it, it seems more like a personal issue going on with himself, especially a sense of shame or regret with his previous exes so he uses you as an outlet because you're the closest thing he has.  I say find an outlet, a healthy one. Sometimes it is best to let them ramble on until they wear themselves out, but remember that self-defense and "talking back" is not always a bad thing just because they are your guardian. It is important to take a stand for yourself. Be respectful, don't sink to their level.
reply about 9 hours
drowning
drowning posted in Family Issues:
I think it is very important to find a healthy outlet and someone to talk to whether it's a doctor, friend, family member, ect. You can even find a journal to write in, if it will help you. I promise you, it isn't worth it to let families opinions and views affect you. I let the same thing happen to me and I still struggle over things that I wish I didn't.
reply about 9 hours
drowning
drowning posted in Friends:
Personally, given your age, the idea of a crush is a bit cute, but you're a little young for anything serious. I would recommend waiting until you truly know what you're doing. (And, believe me, you may not see it now, but you will when you're older.) But, if you really do want to find out, you need to remember that boys and girls both feel things. Boys aren't aliens, they aren't emotionless, and they aren't always just  dumbieheads.  You'll find it funny later on in life from how nervous you had gotten over a crush So honestly, just be straight forward. If you need a topic starter to bring it up, joke about old rumors that used to spread about you both.
reply about 9 hours