Eco-friendly duds have come a long way since the days of hippy and itchy hemp pants. Eco and luxury have joined forces, Barneys New York sells stylishly sustainable garb, and celebrities such as Natalie Portman and Rashida Jones are delving into designing green fashion lines of their own.
Ecologically minded designers are making it easier than ever before to go green without foregoing fashion. Defined by the nonprofit Sustainable Technology Education Project (STEP) as clothes ‘that take into account the environment, the health of consumers and the working conditions of people in the fashion industry,’ these styles are in higher demand than ever. According to the BBMG Conscious Consumer Report, almost 9 out of ten Americans surveyed identify themselves as ‘conscious consumers,’ who if offered products of equal quality and price, are more likely to buy from companies that are committed to environmentally friendly practices.
‘Who said you have to give up looking fabulous and living well in order to do good?’ says Rebecca Luke, senior stylist and co-founder of the Sustainable Style Foundation. In honor of Earth Day, the SSF released its fifth ‘Best Dressed Environmental List,’ with hopes of inspiring everyone, ‘from Madonna to the mom next door, to make more sustainable decisions in their personal lifestyle choices,’ says Sean Schmidt, SSF co-founder.
The top spots on SSF list is held by 2004 Nobel Peace Prize Winner Wangari Maathai, for women, and human rights advocate Van Jones, for men. Not far behind are the green movement’s heavy hitters, including George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Oprah Winfrey and designer Stella McCartney. ‘These individuals have a great sense of personal style but they’re also trying to make the world a better place,’ says Luke.
You don’t have to be a celebrity (or have their budget) to get your closet to go green. Here are some of MainStreet’s favorites designers and boutiques: