Style: Design of the Times

Top eco clothiers share what they like about the latest crop of earth-friendly fabrics

By Zoe Cormier

The mention of eco fabrics once called to mind shapeless, unflattering garments. But growing numbers of contemporary designers are working with greener textiles, changing the very look and feel of fashion. From organic versions of old favorites to new, high-tech materials, here are eight fabrics that can change the impact our wardrobes have on the planet.                           
—Zoe Cormier

The granddaddy of green fabrics, hemp is durable, grows quickly with little or no chemicals, and is more bountiful per acre than cotton. It was cultivated for millennia before becoming synonymous with hippie style, and fortunately today it’s being used to create more stylish threads.

designer’s take
“It’s great to sew with and is the most sustainable crop in the world, and yet growing it has been outlawed in the US for years. How can people be so stupid?”
—Jennifer Ambrose
founder of Enamore,

organic cotton
Soft, versatile cotton is the world’s most popular fiber, but conventional varieties account for 10 percent of the world’s pesticide use and 25 percent of insecticides. Organic cotton helps meet global demand while preserving earthly resources.

designer’s take
“In some countries, farmers walk around with chemical sprayers on their backs. So one of my favorite things about working with organic cotton is the difference we make in their lives.”
—Marci Zaroff, founder of Under the Canopy,

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Issue 25

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