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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

Fun_125
Fun_125 posted in Friends:
I've had friends like this. The relationship made me unhappy so I took a step back. From what I think is that she isnt your real friend. This happens to the best of us. Does it suck? Yes. It does very much. When she grows up and realizes that you aren't there then she can be annoyed. But until then maybe stop spending a lot of time with her...
reply about 2 hours
Autonomy
"Lulu335" wrote: I live in a military family, which means we have to move A LOT. I'm halfway through 6th grade, and I'm really stressed out. The reason is because I have a guy who really likes me, and we liked each other back in the 5th grade, and he's even got me presents and everything, but now I'm starting to doubt whether I still like him or not. And he is a great guy; he's silly, funny, kind- but I just don't know if he's the right guy for me. Plus there's a friend of mine who I know likes me as more than a friend, and he's a great guy, too. I really need advise!! Oh sweetheart, your situation is so, so very far from being complicated. In fact, it's actually, entirely simple. But I'm here to help you see that, because you can't see it yourself quite yet. Brace yourself, you may never hear such advice in your life ever again. Or you might, I can't predict the future. You're in sixth grade, you said. Assuming you live in the United states and weren't held back, you're probably 12, maybe 11. The problem is, the human brain isn't fully developed until a person hits the age of about 25. This means, without debate, that your brain unable to fully grasp what being in a relationship actually entails, what it means, what the consequences are, and so forth. You can't even fathom it, my dear. I couldn't at your age; no one can. You've just begun to hit puberty at this point in your very young, completely normal life. Certain hormones are now being developed by your body that, up until puberty began, your body did not produce. Let me explain, in simple terms, what this means: these new hormones are giving you fuzzy feelings for boys, but these feelings are not what people with fully developed brains call "love." Love means being self sacrificing, compromising, giving and taking, communicating clearly and honestly, and so much more. What you're feeling is a part of love-romance-but it's not all there is to love. It's actually just a few simple chemicals being released in your brain: dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, and few others. Your brain releases those chemicals when, say, you see a boy you like, and those chemicals make you feel all fuzzy inside. In fact, (brace yourself,) there's nothing inherently special about the boys you like, or the boys that like you; in fact, they're also, entirely normal, and aside from a few minor differences in character, completely like most other boys their age. Had you been born in another town, gone to another school, you would have gotten the same fuzzy feeling about whatever boy you thought you liked at that school. You see? I'm not saying this to make you feel insignificant, but perhaps the insight will make moving easier for you. The next place your militant parents settle down in will also have a middle school, with a bunch of normal 11-14 year old boys and girls, all doing the exact same things the kids at your school do right now. Does that put things in perspective for you? The world is a very, very big place, and it's home to billions upon billions of people. Your situation is far from being a needle in a hay stack; it's more like a blade of grass, in a vast field of foliage. The feelings you're feeling aren't uncommon or complicated, they just feel that way to you. (Now, really brace yourself, because this is going to get uncomfortable.) We, as people, tend to think that we're special. Each one of us a unique snowflake, drifting about in big blue sky, that exists solely to show the world how special we are. The problem is, the other seven billions snowflakes (people) think exactly like we do, and in this way, we are all the same. We think our problems are new problems that no one has ever dealt with before, and no one else could possibly understand the pain and suffering we're going through. We all think this way, by nature; but it's simply naive. Heartache and suffering have existed since people existed, and possibly before then. Your situation may not be ideal to you, but once you come to terms with the fact that life isn't ideal for anyone, you might actually feel comfort. The easiest way to cope with our many problems, is to accept them for what they are: a part of the human experience. Natural, normal, repeating generation after generation without end. Again, these are concepts that require some deep thought, and you might not fully grasp them quite yet. But remember them. With time, as you grow, think about them more, and you will find peace with your life. And remember this: although you're stuck (for now) on a giant rock hurling around the sun at an incredible speed, you're not alone. With billions of other people stuck here with you, you'll never be without friends.
reply about 12 hours
Fun_125
I personally think that when you ARE ready then go for it! As long as the person you like isn't a jerk to anyone or you go for it! Just don't get too serious. It's middle school. Good luck!
reply about 14 hours
Error44
"Lulu335" wrote:I live in a military family, which means we have to move A LOT. I'm halfway through 6th grade, and I'm really stressed out. The reason is because I have a guy who really likes me, and we liked each other back in the 5th grade, and he's even got me presents and everything, but now I'm starting to doubt whether I still like him or not. And he is a great guy; he's silly, funny, kind- but I just don't know if he's the right guy for me. Plus there's a friend of mine who I know likes me as more than a friend, and he's a great guy, too. I really need advise!!I know, it is too late but I think you should not go for a deeper relationship, don't make it hard for yourself and try to be his just friend because you are so young .
reply about 17 hours
Error44
"queenslay173" wrote:I was at school when I noticed people started to tell me this boy liked me and I thought it was cool because I'm used to that type of stuff then we started to dated in October we broke up right before christmas and it was so strange. we got back together in the beginning of January and we broke up again on the 4 my friends are really mad at me and he seemed really upset I like him but I just don't want to be with him anymore what should I do ?- confused lover Tell him your reasons and make it clear for both of you
reply about 17 hours