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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

rainbowpoptart
Goodness... I see where your mother is coming from: if you eat too much, no matter how healthy the food is, and don't work off the calories, you're going to gain weight. But she's being very obsessive and dramatic about it. There is nothing wrong with eating pizza or a cookie every now and then, and there's nothing wrong with relaxing from time to time either. As long as you aren't constantly eating junk and not burning the calories, then you do not have a problem. Eating unhealthy things every now and then does not make you fat. EATING every now and then does not make you fat. Try explaining this to her, calmly and patiently. Tell her that you don't want to be forced to do all of this exercising - being forced to exercise makes it a lot less interesting. Do not take "This is for your own good" for an answer; if you do not want to do it, it is NOT for your good. (This, of course, would be a different story if you were actually fat.) ALSO tell her that exercising too much and not satiating your cravings is JUST AS UNHEALTHY AS BEING FAT IS. If you were to not eat healthful meals and not snack every now and then, no matter how healthy or unhealthy the food is, plus exercise so frequently, you would not be healthy.  Eating is good for you, even if the food isn't. Eating too little and eating too much is not healthy. Exercise is good for you. Not exercising enough and exercising too much is not good for you. If you talking to her doesn't help, try telling another adult how you feel, and maybe they can help get it through to her. Regardless of what happens, take care of yourself. Moderate how much you eat, but don't limit yourself to less than you feel you need. Exercise, but don't do something you don't want to; working out should be fun. Good luck with everything. I'm really sorry that she makes you feel so badly about this.
reply 1 day
jake495
jake495 posted in Family Issues:
Make sure she knows its your body not hers In a respectful way of course
reply 1 day
ThePaleWalker636
I'm perfectly happy with myself. I'm around 5'6" and somewhere between 140-150 pounds, and I don't feel fat. But my mom is constantly telling me that I am, or, at least, that I'm going to be. She forces me to go to exercise classes because I don't like many sports, tries making me go on diets, but I don't want to. She tells me that if I continue the way I am, having an extra cookie once in a while and only eating cereal for breakfast, that I'll end up fat, and she makes sure to emphasize how horrible that is for a person to live with. She rolls her eyes and sighs whenever she sees me getting a snack, and just in general makes me feel awful for eating the things I like and for relaxing. I've told her that I don't want to do these things and that she makes me feel bad when she says things like that, but she swears it's for my own good and that I should never want to be fat, that it ruins people's lives. How should I deal with this?
reply 1 day
drowning
drowning posted in Friends:
"NS12" wrote: I meet this guy at a festival and we have been talking for the whole week and my mum has noticed I keep texting someone and I know I need to tell her but I don t know how I am going to tell her, I doubt she ll get angry or anything but he lives about 4/5 hours away from me. I know I need to tell her as I don t like keeping secrets from her. I know this was a bit ago, but I truly hope that you were able to be open with your mother. If you feel as if they won't get mad at you, then chances are that your guardian will not. Honesty is the best policy, and if you feel guilt keeping a secret, then it is one you probably shouldn't be keeping.
reply 2 days
drowning
I agree with @rainbowpoptart. You really shouldn't worry about relationships that much given your age. I promise, they're better things to worry about than boys and more secure romances occur later on in life anyways. But, given the situation, you shouldn't worry about either. The boy is unfaithful and so is your friend. If your best friend really valued your friendship, she would not have put it in a position that could end it. Don't waste your time on those who will not put you first just as you do for them; better people will come into your life and they are the ones who you should really worry about.
reply 2 days