October 25, 2014

Green Fashion Costs More Green

By Zina Paschal

English: A model on the runway in clothes at a...

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“Everything we do has an impact on the environment, so developing chemicals and materials that don’t produce negative discharge is definitely worth it,” said Clem Von Holstein, a sales employee at Patagonia.

With the rise of environmental groups and green awareness, many clothing companies have adopted the idea of producing clothing made of organic materials.

However, along with these fibers and materials come higher prices. But is it worth it?

Many people believe that the price is worth the cause while others tend to think that it is too expensive.

Patagonia is one store that believes that going green with their fashion, in the name of saving the environment, is worth the higher prices.

Yvon Chouinard, an environmentalist, started Patagonia. He specialized in outdoor clothing and gear with the use of organic material and recycled fibers.

At first glance you would think you were walking into a mountain climbing store. Behind the counter hangs a huge picture of the Patagonian Mountains, located in Argentina. Coats and jackets cover the walls and serve as decorations for the reddish bricks. Fleece sweaters and vests of all sizes from kids to women to men cover the racks of the store alongside flannels of all colors.  One can tell that this store is different from others just by the feeling of the material between your fingertips.

Von Holstein said, “Working at Patagonia is one of the best things that have happened to me.”

He is also an environmentalist, so he strongly believes that stores like this are essential in helping to protect the planet.

The way organic clothing is produced does not contribute to the depletion of natural resources. Stores like Patagonia use resources such as cotton and wool to make their products. The quality of the clothing tends to be more appealing because the material is richer in color. It also feels softer to the hands.

American Apparel is also a supporter of green fashion. With their oversized hats, infinity scarves, lace dresses, high-waist leggings and pants, and grandpa sweater, the stores brings you back to the 80s. The colors of the clothing play as highlighters, which illuminate the store with loads of vintage charisma. The majority of their cotton t-shirts, sweaters, and dresses are made of organic fibers and cotton, which is used for its sustainability.

Rachel Masters, an employee at American Apparel said, “It is always better to use less and although it is more expensive to produce organic clothing right now, it will pay off in the future and will help the environment.”

She is all for her store carrying organic t-shirts and sweaters.  Many people may step into American Apparel and may only focus on the bright colored scarves, body suits, leg warmers and t-shirts without being aware that most of the apparel is made of organic cotton. After all with their 80s vibe, the green thought doesn’t automatically pop into your head. This goes to show how clothing can still be fashionable and trendy with a good cause behind it.

Eric Kunevera, an employee at American Apparel, believes that since the clothing is made “right,” meaning organic, one does not have to feel guilty about wearing organic clothing. Kunevera believes that organic clothing gives customers choices and a variety in clothing. “Carrying organic clothing in our stores allows customers to choose between regular clothing and organic,” said Kunevera. “We even have customers who specifically ask for organic tees and if we do not have them, they do not buy.”

While there are many who are for fashion going green, some do not understand or see the impact that it has on the environment. Collin Powers, a shopper at American Apparel said, “I think organic clothing is good but I do not know what impact it has on the environment.”

Although he shops at American Apparel, he doesn’t do it for the organic aspect of it. He simply likes the clothing.

Not everyone will understand how such a small article of clothing can contribute to sustaining the environment.

Seanella Abraham, a student at New York University and frequent shopper has no hopes in the fashion going green process. Although she shops on a weekly basis, according to her, she does not keep an eye out for organic clothing. Like Powers, she also does not see how this helps the environment.

“I do not think organic clothing helps the environment and it doesn’t really matter if fashion goes green,” said Abraham. “There are millions of other things that are affecting the environment so buying expensive clothing because it is eco-friendly it is not going to make a difference on the environment.”

It is clear that this student has better things to worry about besides the environment.

Emari Parsons, a student at the Fashion Institute of Technology, and also a savvy shopper said, “Going green just makes everything expensive and people will buy things that are not organic because it is cheaper.  Only people who are environment friendly will contribute to the whole organic fashion stuff.”

Organic clothing is pricier than regular clothing so many are discouraged to buy it.

Again, is it worth it for fashion to go green? Environmentalists and people who have the money to purchase organic and eco-friendly clothing will support the cause while others who do not have the money won’t.

“There’s no point in organic clothing or fashion, it’s just a waste of money,” said Parsons.