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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Environmentally Conscious Style on a Budget- part one

Contributor Sisi King talks us through the rising trend for ethical fashion.

Written by Sisi King

12445-esthetica-rImage courtesy of Esthetica, approved sponsored by Monsoon

2009 was quite a year for ethical fashion. Dazed and Confused featured an in-depth interview with fashion icon Vivienne Westwood and leading environmentalist James Lovelock. Vogue devoted a sizable spread to green fashion, web and London Fashion Week kicked off with Esthetica, physician a showcase of 28 ethical designers. Ecofashion it would seem edged its way from the periphery into something approaching centre stage. Out were the unshapely, unflattering garments previously seen on only the most hardened of the eco-warriors. In were beautifully crafted clothes with a conscience as a growing number of designers and consumers tackled the prickly issue of clothing, style, and the environment. This momentum seems only likely to gain in strength judging by the numerous events and exhibitions planned for 2010.

Essentially what we are seeing is a growing realisation that while it is absolutely imperative that far more is said on the environmental and human consequences of fast fashion, there is no need to sacrifice a sense of style to take part in this dialogue. Like music and art, fashion is an extension of culture, a manifestation of the changing influences of the society within which it exists. There should be no shame in wanting to take part in this expressive medium, but nor should this interest be at the expense of our planet. However on making the decision to marry an interest in clothing and green issues you may find yourself stumped with where exactly to source reasonably priced stylish garments whose production has not impacted negatively both socially and environmentally. Herein lies something of a problem.

gabmillAlexa Chung in Oxfam Reworked campaign, photographed by Kai Z Feng

Ecofashion may now be occupying headlines, but hugely desirable as this clothing may be, cheap it is not. Dressing sustainably and stylishly can come with a considerable price tag. Of course there is a reason for this and the answer is to save and buy responsibly, but at the cost of most ethical lines and my current income I’d average 2 garments a year and shoes every other. The rise of fast fashion is undoubtedly one of the major scourges of our time, and while I can in no way condone its revolving door of trends, neither do I particularly want to spend my year interchanging two outfits. So until I get a wage that affords me a capsule wardrobe of organically grown, naturally dyed, fairly traded wonder garments, you’ll find me in Oxfam.

2482927517_c779706755Image courtesy of Oxfam Boutique

Rethinking the charity shop
The reinvention of the charity shop is long overdue and still a considerable way from anything you could call complete. Currently thanks to the efforts of fashion guru and creative director Jane Shepherdson, Oxfam would appear to be one of the few charities pulling its stores through a major image reworking and providing us with anything approaching a viable option to mainstream buying.

Shepherdson’s vision of the Oxfam Boutique has reinvented recycled fashion, turning on its head any idea you may have about ill-fitting dresses secured with safety pins. In doing so she has firmly established the charity shop as a major resource for the environmentally conscious style seeker on a budget, while bringing to our attention the main reasons behind why choosing to buy donated clothing is one of the easiest ways to reduce our environmental footprint which, where clothing is concerned, is big.

Stay tuned for part two this afternoon…


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