Eco-Friendly Fabrics – Fashion School Experts Examine the Pros and Cons of the Top Green Fabrics

December 17th, 2011 by admin No comments »

It wasn’t long ago that clothing made with eco-friendly fabrics brought up images of treehuggers in burlap. But with ever-growing demand for clothing made from sustainable fabrics, more top designers are embracing the environmental trend. So which fabrics are truly eco-friendly? So many manufacturers are jumping on the bandwagon, we’ve asked a panel of fashion school experts to guide us through the choices. The fact is, even if a garment is marketed as eco-friendly, the label doesn’t necessarily tell you everything about what makes the fabric good – or bad – for the environment.

Organic cotton. Organically-grown cotton is produced without pesticides or artificial fertilizers. This sustainable farming practice not only results in cotton that is free of chemical pesticides, it creates a healthier workplace for farm workers. But just because a garment is made from organic cotton doesn’t mean it’s completely eco-friendly. If it’s been dyed, see if it was done with low-impact dyes that are better for the environment. Better yet, look for organic cotton in shades that it’s naturally grown in, like cream and light brown.

Bamboo. Bamboo is currently the superstar of eco-friendly fabrics, and on the surface, it appears to have everything going for it. More like a grass than a tree, bamboo grows rapidly, and after it’s cut, regenerates itself. And bamboo fabric feels as soft as cashmere. But the way it gets that soft is primarily through extensive chemical processing; in fact, the chemicals have been linked to health problems like headaches and nerve damage. And the news gets worse. As bamboo becomes more popular, environmentalists expect over-harvesting that will impact wildlife, as well as the clearing of forests to grow additional bamboo.

Wool. While some clothing manufacturers consider wool sustainable because it’s a renewable resource, it’s not a pretty picture for the sheep. They are subjected to toxic pesticides and handled roughly by handlers who, during the shearing process, slice off more than just wool. Wool that has been certified organic, however, comes from sheep that have been treated ethically and humanely.

Silk. Silk is a natural fabric that is renewable and biodegradable, so that’s a few check marks in the sustainability column. But silk is usually produced in China, India, or other Far East countries where where U.S. fair labor practices aren’t in place, and then transported across oceans to reach us – not great for fuel consumption. And then there’s the little matter of the moths that are boiled alive after they’ve finished spinning the silk. For a more humane choice, look for vegan, or “peace” silk, in which the moths are allowed to live.

Linen. True linen is considered eco-friendly because it’s made from flax, which isn’t usually farmed with pesticides. But as with organic cotton, linen is better for you and the environment when it’s in a natural shade, or dyed with low impact tints. Our fashion school experts also caution us to be wary of “faux linen,” which is actually just conventional cotton that’s textured to look like linen. » Read more: Eco-Friendly Fabrics – Fashion School Experts Examine the Pros and Cons of the Top Green Fabrics

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First Job Wardrobe Tips – Fashion School Secrets For Dressing Like an Executive on a Mailroom Budget

December 12th, 2011 by admin No comments »

Congratulations, you’ve landed your first job out of school. Now the question is, what are you going to wear? How you dress can go a long way in establishing your professional credibility. But dressing for success is a challenge when you’re on an entry-level salary. Don’t worry, our fashion school experts have ways to stretch your budget and look like the successful executive you’re destined to be.

1. Create the illusion of a huge wardrobe. Even if your closet is pretty bare, there are tricks to looking like a successful clothes horse. Make sure all your shirts are a completely different color or style. The same goes for trousers or skirts. For example, a navy blue shirt will look very close to a black shirt, so don’t own both; use the money for a different color. If you own just five shirts and five slacks, that’s 25 different looks – as long as each piece is distinct.

2. Choose versatile pieces. Any piece in your wardrobe should be able to match with at least three other pieces. For example, a top that only looks good with one of your skirts is too limiting for your work wardrobe. When something can be paired with multiple items, it expands your wardrobe exponentially.

3. Have a “uniform.” Here’s a wardrobe trick that helps you present a professional image, especially when you’re starting out and don’t have too many clothing options. Adopt a signature style and stick with it. It’s your “look,” and it helps you create an identity in the workplace. In a way, you’re using fashion design to differentiate yourself from your co-workers. Just be sure that this signature look is buttoned-up and work-appropriate.

4. The survival of the fittest. A big secret one learns in fashion school is that an inexpensive garment that fits perfectly looks a lot better than an expensive designer piece that is too big or small. And the fact is, most people buying off-the-rack are wearing clothes that don’t fit well, particularly when it comes to dressier work clothes like suits. Your secret weapon on your way up the corporate ladder just may be a good tailor. Even if you buy a suit from a second hand store, you can look like a million bucks when the suit fits like a glove. » Read more: First Job Wardrobe Tips – Fashion School Secrets For Dressing Like an Executive on a Mailroom Budget

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