Eco-friendly fashion alternatives

Student Living by

The green movement has reached makeup, shampoo, and even kitty litter, and at last, eco-aware designers and companies have expanded into the world of fashion. But rather than the billowy hemp clothing last seen on tree-hugging hippies, the new designs are chic and urban – and also happen to be made from sustainable materials.

Ecocentrik Apparel – a recently established Montreal-based online store that operates under the motto “green is chic” – is one such company. With eco-friendly options in men’s, women’s, and children’s clothing and accessories selected from over 30 independent designers, Ecocentrik Apparel aims to combat climate change while still offering trendy, affordable, and wearable fashions.

Manufacturing organic clothing is first and foremost a matter of altering the particularly harmful conditions in which clothing is generally produced.

“People don’t realize how much the fashion industry impacts and damages the environment,” says Patsy Clark, founder and owner of Ecocentrik Apparel. “Regular production is damaging to the environment, to the farmers who grow the cotton because of all the hazardous herbicides and pesticides used, and even to the people who wear the clothes which retain residual chemicals from the dye and the chemicals used to weave the fibre.”

Clark, who is a scientist by trade, has spent much of her life researching sustainability and looking for ways to optimize waste management and energy consumption. Much of the tenets of Green politics are not only about directly helping the environment by finding alternative means of production, but also about curbing the amount of unnecessary waste produced on this planet.

“We can reuse all of the materials that we already have,” says Clark. “We have plenty of materials and old fabrics on this planet already that can be transformed into new and really stylish clothing.”

Producing and providing eco-friendly clothing is also socially responsible. While most clothing is mass-produced abroad – often under appalling labour conditions – the company’s line is manufactured either in Canada or abroad under fair labour practices. In this way, Ecocentrik Apparel is able to simultaneously help the environment and stimulate the local economy – an endeavor that should not be under-valued in these troubled economic times. Additionally, two per cent of all the company’s proceeds go toward local charities.

“Every little bit counts,” adds Clark. “It’s a problem that has gone too far before light has been shed on it.”

While we are facing a situation that appears daunting, and even irremediable, the truth is that this just isn’t really the case. If everybody made a conscious effort to do their part – avoid the urge to throw plastic in the trash, turn off lights, or walk if it’s not too far – we could make an enormous difference to this planet.

Visit Ecocentrik Apparel at