Eco-friendly trends have been on the rise in the past few years. No longer are the days of plastic bag abundance and superfluous energy use -- not only is being green cool, trendy, and respectable, it's expected. Even noted celebs like Lauren Conrad and Gisele Bundchen are helping the green cause. Eco-friendly fashion is style with a healthy twist; apparel is crafted from sustainable fabrics without exploiting workers. By making an effort to be conscious of how your clothes are made, you'll be able to feel good about your style.
We spoke with eco-fashion guru Starre Vartan, founder and Editor-in-Chief of Eco Chick and author of The Eco Chick Guide to Life, who told us everything we need to know about fall fashion trends and where to find them.
Though you may think brights and neons are exclusive to summer, Starre tells us otherwise. They will continue to make bold appearances through the upcoming fall months, so good news: come September, the brightness of summer will live on. When it comes to accessories, "jewelry that's either quite small or oversized is big," Vartan says. "I like Gatt von Paperhill, who makes big chunky necklaces from upcycled paper, and Dirty Librarian Chains in Brooklyn makes some delicate recycled chains." To bundle up, we'll see cardigans and slouchy jackets.
Though fashion trends are universal, they're not always healthy for the environment. This fall, Vartan says, you can almost always find an eco-friendly analogue to a non-eco-friendly article of clothing. Instead of buying plastic rain boots from the department store, try Roma Boots, a company -- inspired by the TOM's model -- that gives a pair of boots to a cold-climate child in need for every pair purchased. "Sometimes you can get the exact same look, ethically - check out this J.Crew striped dress versus a sustainably made organic cotton one," Vartan explains.
Unfortunately, your most cherished cozy sweater was probably not made ethically. This fall, change up your style and have a change of heart by going green. Vartan likes Feral Childe, a company whose products are made in New York City from sustainable fabrics with unique self-made prints. She also likes Nina Valenti: "Her NaturevsFuture line of basics has a future-modern perspective -- think asymmetrical necklines and square buttons." To further your eco-friendly fashion commitment, choose organic. "I'm obsessed with Lina Rennel's unique prints and West Coast vibe, and I live in Prairie Undergrounds soft organic cotton knits." And don't be afraid to get personal: The IOU Project, an online destination that connects consumers and manufacturers, attaches a personal element to your clothing -- and it's a great way to see where and how your fall fashion gets made.
Vartan also suggests:
Auralis: Creates and dyes her line in Brooklyn, has lots of bright yellows and pinky-oranges.
Fashioning Change: An innovative eco-fashion shopping portal, covers trends and their eco-friendly counterparts with their "Wear This, Not That" feature.
Stewart + Brown: Simple-with-a-twist basics.
Tara St. James' Study: A zero-waste, superclassic label, never disappoints.
Ambika: The designer has supersoft angora (she raises and trims the bunnies herself!).
Afia: Meghan Sebold buys beautiful Ghanian textiles directly from producers, then employs a women's cooperative to sew them into modern styles that she designs.