You are what you wear! In my last post about fashion blogs, I pointed out how clothing, fabrics, and prints are leading influencers and recipients of our cultural production. Fashion trends clearly influence us, but think for a moment about how our cultural trends are also influencing the fashion world, especially the new movement toward sustainability.
I see signs of “green living” everywhere! I see recycle bins near garbage cans. I see ads for cars boasting new and improved eco-friendly functions. And I see businesses advertising how they support sustainability.
But you don’t hear much about environmentally safe fabrics and what is being recycled to make them. The most interesting eco-friendly fabric is made from r-PET (recycled polyethylene terephthalate). In terms of fabric, r-PET is typically referred to by its common name, recycled polyester. Think about it, discarded plastic bottles are being transformed into nice, quality clothing, not rough material you can only use for a grocery bag.
I got my r-PET polyester t-shirt from the Seattle-based start-up, ReThink Fabrics, and can certify that the shirt is baby-blanket soft, reasonably priced, and great to work out in (because the moisture-wicking fibers keep athletes feeling dry and anti-microbial properties help prevent bacteria growth). ReThink Fabrics’ website not only advertises exactly how many plastic bottles were recycled to make each and every garment, but it also allows buyers to track the impact of their purchases by providing metrics that detail their carbon offset.
Although this company is relatively new, its cultural impact has reached the runways of New York Fashion Week in the Ashton Michael GreenShows and been featured in the eco-friendly Black Eyed Peas Energy Never Dies tour. The brand has even partnered with the sporting goods brand Hummel to produce a recycled apparel collection.
While the cycle of influence continues to revolve, syncing mainstream culture with the sphere of fashion, it’s safe to say that the eco-friendly trend will be “in” for years to come.
To view video clip of the Black Eyed Peas tour, see: http://blackeyedpeas.dipdive.com/media/76887