Home > Finance > The Rise in Eco Fashion

The Rise in Eco Fashion

By: Scott McBride - Updated: 26 Dec 2012 | comments*Discuss
Fashion Organic Eco-fashion Clothing

The fashion industry has a huge impact on the environment. Many of the clothes worn today are manufactured using synthetic materials such as nylon and polyester, made from petrochemicals which pollute the environment and cause global warming.

Eco fashion relates to clothing manufactured using environmentally-friendly processes. While it includes organic clothing, eco fashion is not necessarily made from organic fibres. Eco-fashion clothing can use recycled clothing or recycled materials such as eco fleeces, made from recycled plastic bottles.

As people become more environmentally aware, so the numbers demanding sustainable eco fashion have increased. Cosmopolitan, busy, funky and fashionable people who are ecologically-aware but do not want to sacrifice style for content are now being catered for by designers and retailers. It is now possible to walk down a high street and find even small companies who are adding eco-fashion and organic ranges.

Eco Fashion Sweeps Europe

Eco fashion is no longer about hemp jerkins or homespun cardigans dyed with woad. Fashion designers, boutiques and clothing companies all over Europe are riding the wave of ethical, environmentally-friendly, sustainable products that account for £24billion of the UK market alone.

The high street is becoming more ethical too, with Marks & Spencer, Topshop, Oasis and Tesco stocking organic clothing and Fairtrade collections. By 2007, 12 of the Oasis flagship stores stocked ethical designs made from 100 per cent organic denim and jersey, while Topshop stocked a variety of ethically-conscious labels, including People Tree, Hug, Made and Gossypium.

Half a million tonnes of clothing is added to British landfill sites every year and many environmentally-aware people shun clothes made from synthetic materials that are non-biodegradable and so do not break down easily and are difficult to dispose of.

Pollution Problems

There are other pollution problems associated with synthetic materials. For instance, during the manufacture of nylon, nitrous oxide – a greenhouse gas 310 times stronger than carbon dioxide – is released. Viscose, another artificial fibre, is made from wood pulp treated with toxic chemicals such as caustic soda and sulphuric acid.

The production of natural fibres can harm the environment too. Cotton farming uses only one fortieth of the world’s cropping space but accounts for almost a quarter of global insecticide use. This equates to seven tablespoons of chemicals being used to make one cotton T-shirt. Cotton farmers exposed to dangerous pesticides every day can become ill and even die, while pesticides can affect local ecosystems, killing plants and animals and causing an imbalance. People wearing these clothes can be affected too, as the chemicals remain in the fabric and are released during the lifetime of the garments.

Hazardous chemicals are used on wool, for example in sheep dips, and have been linked with illness amongst sheep farmers, while most polycotton and all easy care, crease resistant, permanent press cotton products are treated with formaldehyde, another toxic chemical. Certain dyes are believed to cause cancer. If garments are dyed or bleached using toxic chemicals without proper precautions, chemicals can affect workers and flow into sewers and rivers, damaging local ecosystems.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • Mick
    Re: New Build Grants and Funds
    Hi We are doing a self build house and annex building which is a small lodge. We are considering ground source heat pumps and…
    22 September 2020
  • Molly Moon
    Re: Grants Available For Your Business
    We are in the process of registering as a CIC with the intention of running a community garden sourcing produce for green…
    26 August 2020
  • Mitch
    Re: New Build Grants and Funds
    My rugby club are about to progress the redevelopment of our 18 acre Freehold site. There will be significant scope & space for both…
    24 August 2020
  • ALZ
    Re: Grants Available For Your Business
    Is there any grants or funding available in Scotland for a new business taking on a commercial property from local council…
    11 August 2020
  • Bernard01
    Re: Grants Available For Your Business
    Small village bakery trying to expand to do wholesale replace single shop front window by double glaze shop front door…
    31 July 2020
  • Bernard
    Re: Grants Available For Your Business
    I’m a small business owner with a little village bakery I want to expand next door is there any grants available as I need…
    31 July 2020
  • Smurph
    Re: Loft Insulation
    We are currently building a new timberframe house, we are looking to put solar thermal and solar panels on our building, are there any grants out…
    15 July 2020
  • Emove
    Re: Grants Available For Your Business
    Hi, I have a new established company which is a clothing brand for the e o friendly community, We promote eco friendly…
    10 July 2020
  • Chrissy
    Re: Are There Any Grants for Water Treatment Systems?
    There are 7 of us households that have dated septic tanks with soakaways running to a stream. How do we…
    10 July 2020
  • Wes
    Re: Grants Available For Your Business
    I am seeking a grant to help out my struggling minority owned business. We haven't been able to pay the landlord for 3…
    2 June 2020