Organic clothing gets designer treatment

February 27, 2008 9:54:30 AM PST
Almost all of us look at prices when we shop for clothes, but most of us probably don't think much about the price to the planet. America's $180 billion dollar clothing business has a big impact on the environment. Everything from making clothes, to transporting them, to just getting rid of them takes its toll. So now, a growing number of designers and customers are embracing a new fashion movement -- high style with a high purpose too.

It's called 'eco-chic' and it's the newest craze is fashion that looks good and is good for the environment. Hundreds of San Francisco shoppers packed an 'Appel and Frank' eco-event for a chance to buy into the green movement.

"If we look out for the earth, then it will be better for everyone," says one consumer.

Products range from non-toxic nail polish to jewelry recycled from scrap metal. One top, made of a Japanese leaf called Sasawashi, is part of the biggest trend in eco-friendly fashion -- clothing made from plants that use no pesticides or chemicals.

Another blouse is made of organic silk, rice, and wool. It's designed by Linda Loudermilk, one of the first high fashion designers to embrace eco-chic.

"Linda's mission is that you don't have to sacrifice style to be conscious with your clothing choices," Martha Guffogg.

There were also handbags from Eco Girl in San Mateo and are made of old curtains. The curtains stay out of the landfill, and there's no need to use energy or natural resources to make new fabric.

Jeans by a Berkeley company called Del Forte Denim are made of certified organic cotton.

"We like to do all our production and all of our sourcing in the United States is because it cuts down on things like shipping and greenhouse gases," says Amber Clisura, Del Forte Denim.

The new "Eco-Citizen" store in San Francisco sells nothing but eco-friendly clothing. The materials are sustainable, and the work environment has to be good too. No sweatshop labor.

"All of my designers have been to their factories. They have close working relationships with their factories and very transparent business polices with them," says Joslin Van Arsdale, Eco Citizen Store Owner.

High end eco-clothing costs about the same as other luxury designer fashion. Organic cotton t-shirts go for $46 dollars and organic cotton jeans go range from $150 to $200 dollars. Dressier items can run several hundred dollars and many consumers seem willing to pay.

"I think the trend in San Francisco is not more, and having more, but maybe having a little less and making educated choices," says Autumn Feldmeier, shopper.

Designers also point out that if the popularity of eco fashion goes up, the prices will come down.


Eco Citizen Store

Eco Girl Vintage Handbags

Del Forte Denim Jeans

Linda Loudermilk, Eco Friendly Fashion Designer

Howard Chew, Jewelry from reclaimed metal : 925 890-8146

Soulstice Spa, Non-toxic nail polish and other beauty products

List of all items featured at the Eco-Chic Shopping Event

Appel and Frank Shopping Events, Next Eco-Event, Sept. 18, 2008