Why Green is the New Black

G Magazine

Treading lightly is the newest fashion trend from the catwalks of Paris and New York to a store near you.

Green is the new Black

Credit: Andrew Lee

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Fashion is a fickle creature.

One minute we’re floating around in flimsy tunics and ‘boho’ skirts and the next being told that we should squeeze ourselves into skinny jeans (and if they’re a size 00 then so much the better).

But there is one look steadily infiltrating the world of fashion that has more to do with hemp and bamboo than it does Hermès and Balenciaga. This is eco-fashion, and the latest style to hit the catwalk.

Of course, ‘eco’ clothing is not a new concept. Socially responsible and environment-friendly garments have been around for ages, but they’ve been more closely associated with hippies than high fashion.

However, just as ethical and organic products are becoming commonplace in the food and beauty industries, so too are fashion designers beginning to address the issues of doing good as well as looking good.

“People today talk about the conscious consumer. Hopefully there’s a conscious designer too,” says Sue Thomas, fashion lecturer at RMIT University in Melbourne.

“It’s the idea that as a designer you’re making considered choices and thinking about the repercussions of those choices: what is it that you’re designing, why are you designing it and why is it needed? And as a consumer you’re thinking, do I need this? And if I do need it, then what am I paying for it? Where is it being made, what is it made from and will wearing it and laundering it impact on the world?”

So-called ‘green fashion’ has been building momentum since the turn of the century, but it’s during the last couple of years that it has experienced significant growth.

“Five years ago there were just a handful of eco-designers,” says New York-based Summer Rayne Oakes, who has been dubbed ‘the Eco-Model’ for combining her environmental activism with a successful career in modelling.

“Now there are hundreds. Independent designers are coming to terms with sustainable style and creating designs that are lighter on the planet.”

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