We love green. We love dressing well. Until recently, the two did not mix. Luckily for us, much has changed, and green-friendly fashion is looking better than ever.
In honor of Earth Day, we sussed out the best eco-friendly fashion out there, and convinced our favorite green online retailers to offer LearnVest readers exclusive coupon codes of up to 25%, plus some freebie giveaways. Because if there's anything we know you love more than looking good and living green, it's a deal.
Green Hits Its Stride
Green fashion has evolved and grown up from the hemp sacks of yesterday. In the past year, there were “green” fashion weeks in Amsterdam, Portland, London, Paris, Los Angeles, Vancouver, and New York City, where in February models strutted the runway in sustainable couture. There's a well-stocked section devoted to green clothing on the highbrow boutique Net-A-Porter. And more celebrities are glamming it up in eco-fashion, like Alicia Silverstone, Natalie Portman, and Emma Watson.
The only problem is that green fashion still typically carries a higher price tag than its non-green counterpart, with an organic t-shirt selling for anywhere from $50 to $200. One retailer who keeps prices super-low is H&M, whose amazingly chic and well-stocked Conscious Collection is all under $60. Bravo!
Green collections are also available on ASOS and Urban Outfitters. The Sustainable Apparel Coalition, an initiative launched in March that seeks to reduce the environmental and social impact of apparel and footwear, claims such household names as Adidas, Gap, Levi Strauss, Nike, Target, and – this one is shocking – Walmart. Yes, Walmart wants to produce clothing ethically.
The Benefits of Wearing Green
Protect Your Skin
Have you ever gotten a rash from your clothes? It’s no wonder. Conventional clothing often is coated with a variety of chemicals, but sustainable apparel manufacturers avoid these irritating and dangerous additives.
Look for: Natural dyes, 100% organic.
Avoid: Wrinkle-free fabrics (which use formaldehyde), and flame and soil retardants.
Protect Our Water
Conventional cotton uses more carcinogenic and toxic pesticides than any other crop in the world. These toxins find their way into waterways, groundwater, and even animal feed in the United States and elsewhere. Manufacturing synthetic materials like polyester and using synthetic dye also release toxins into rivers and streams.
Look for: 100% organic cotton, linen, flax, hemp, kapok, 100% natural latex, lenpur, mohair, jute, sisal, PET recycled fabric, reclaimed fabric, and soy.
Avoid: Conventional cotton, “all-natural latex,” polyester, nylon, acrylic, polyvinylchloride (PVC), olefin-polypropylene and polyethylene.
Lower Your Carbon Footprint
Organic cotton is not grown with synthetic nitrogen fertilizers, which contribute to climate change. Sustainable designers avoid synthetic textiles like nylon and polyester, which are derived from fossil fuels and are energy intensive. And some sustainable brands, though not all, power their facilities with renewable energy or manufacture their goods in the United States so they don’t have to ship containers halfway around the globe.
Look for: Wind power, solar power, carbon neutral, low water use, and made locally.
Support Other Women
Most sustainable clothing labels strive to provide good working conditions and wages for the people (who are usually women) producing the apparel, no matter what country they are in. Online retailer LivLuna, who makes supporting women its core mission, knows that earth-friendly attire is a must.
Look For: Made in the U.S.A, sweatshop-free, or Fair Trade.
Oh, yes we did. We scored two fabulous giveaways and nine exclusive coupon codes to chic green fashion sites for you. Read on for the details.
LivLuna has it all: it sells only from sustainable and sweatshop-free designers; features un-photoshopped, real women as models; donates a percentage of the proceeds to charities supporting females; and uses eco-friendly packaging. The site also features a community that blogs on female empowerment and social change.
The Giveaway: LivLuna is giving away this sassy and sustainable embellished top in size medium (worth $37) to a LearnVest reader.
We love Naya Shoes for being eco-friendly and not remotely reminiscent of Birkenstocks. They use natural, non-toxic, and recycled materials for both the shoe itself and the packaging. And if you buy your Naya shoes through Nordstrom by May 3rd, a tree will be planted through Plant-It 2020.
The Giveaway: Naya is giving away to a LearnVest reader a pair of its Wind shoes (worth $124) in your size (color availability will depend on your size). Double your chances of winning an additional free pair by liking Naya on Facebook and voting on your favorite Earth Day look.
To enter to win one of these items, comment below on one change you want to make to be greener this year, and indicate what you want to enter to win: the tank, shoes, or both. [This contest is now closed. Congratulations to Margaret and Rachel!]
It Gets Better
Because we want everyone to score, we asked our favorite fashionably green retailers and brands to offer discounts to LearnVest readers, and gathered a slew of exclusive coupon codes for up to 25% off so you can stock your whole spring wardrobe for a bargain.
Click the pictures below to grab a sweet Earth Day Deal!