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Ecofashion dos and don'ts

DO...

...educate yourself.
The label might say it's organic and eco-friendly, but was it made in a sweatshop?

...follow a garment's life cycle-from inception to finish.
When engaging the process, find out all you can about the materials used to create your garment, the people involved in its manufacture and how you might recycle it when you are finished wearing it.

...recreate an old garment.
Why give up an article of clothing when you can re-use the collar or sleeves and create something new? Repairs can be decorative or functional, so go ahead and "upcycle" those old clothes.

...buy second-hand. Or try ‘swishing.'
Consumerism is so out. Invite your friends to a "swish" party and swap usable clothes and accessories.

...avoid garments that need dry cleaning.
Enough said.

...redefine clean. Embrace wrinkles!
The consumer-use phase of everyday clothes often impacts the environment much more than the pre-consumer phase. Be sensible about what gets tossed into the hamper. Wash clothes with cold water, air dry or tumble warm. Forget your iron ever existed.

DON'T...

...get distracted by trends.
Shop as if buying heirlooms for future generations.

...think that all fibers are the same.
Organic alternatives are usually best, but do your homework. Ecofashion reveals that bamboo fabrics sold as "natural" sustainable alternatives sometimes were processed in the same ways as the most polluting fibers, like viscose rayon. Technological advances are quite fashion-forward these days: There are human-made, biodegradable fabrics that feel as soft to the skin as natural fibers.

...buy clothing colored with synthetic dyes.
Synthetic dyes can produce environmental disasters, both in their production and application. Be aware, too, that some natural dyes get sourced from unsustainable resources or are used along with toxic chemicals for setting the color.

...throw away old clothes.
The average American consumes 70 pounds of textiles annually. Most of this ends up in landfills. Consider recycling or donating the clothes, accessories and shoes that you no longer wish to keep.

...obsess about mistakes.
We all learn from them. Artistic and scientific innovations respond to them. Rise to the ethical fashion challenge-use your creative agency to experiment with passion and purpose.