Eco-Friendly Clothes that Won’t Break the Bank

Most of us who enjoy and believe in an organic lifestyle try to incorporate our beliefs into every aspect of our daily lives. Making educated choices in food, cleaning products, furniture, and clothing are just a few ways we can do that. But buying organic usually comes with a price….literally.

Everyday organic item pricing is almost always higher than non-organic. With the increase of popularity in the organic industry, however, companies are coming out with low-cost options. This is even creeping its way into the fashion world.

Clothes are not only necessary, they’re what separate and individualize us, whether we realize it or not. For me, what I wear is a chance to express myself. Moods, seasons, personality, and priorities are all reflected in our choice of dress and represent us in the minds of others. A person is more likely to remember someone’s clothes than the color of their eyes.

If we put that much thought into our image, why aren’t we putting even more into what our clothes are made of?

As the public learns more about the benefits of living organically and demand increases, companies are coming out with organic clothing lines for a lower budget. But price isn’t all that matters! When looking into where products are sourced from, I found it troubling that even if the tag says “organic,” it might still come from a sweatshop, have been imported, or have been fumigated. (Yikes!)

Such issues are increasingly becoming public knowledge. In response, popular brands are unveiling organic lines. Some, like H&M, REI, and Jonano, are meeting the demand for organic choices while keeping prices reasonable. Levi Strauss offers choices that include organic cotton and recycled zippers and buttons, as well as natural indigo dyes. Products from popular t-shirt company American Apparel are made in the U.S. and are sweatshop-free. They’re a great place to find inexpensive basics like leggings, t-shirts, and hoodies. Their cotton products are made with 20% organic fiber, and they’re hoping to bump that up to 80% in the near future. They also recycle over a million pounds of scrap fabric per year and have solar panels on the roof of their LA headquarters. Talk about moving toward greener living!

So next time you’re picking out a new pair of jeans or strolling around the mall thinking about buying that lovely blouse, remember that there are choices in mainstream fashion. Don’t compromise your way of living just because the majority of the retail world does. You can focus on honoring the companies out there who are thinking organically, just like you!

Evolving Into a Locavore

I have a problem with consuming products that are more well-traveled than I am. I don’t want to be jealous of the places my lettuce has been, or the things my pillow has seen. I want to know where these products came from, and what they’ve been subjected to.  I would like very simple life stories from the things I buy, please.

I don’t know why I didn’t come to this conclusion sooner, but after reading extensively about the issues, I am now a reformed “locavore.” Local foods and other products are better for me, better for the planet, and better for my community.

I trust American organic industry, and I want to support it. I consider my dollar to be like a vote; the businesses and products people are willing to pay for will stay around, while those they don’t support will disappear. I personally want the organic farmers and producers in my community to stay, so I’m going to vote for them by buying and using their products.
There are so many reasons to buy American-sourced products: decreased fuel consumption, a stronger economy, more support for local farmers, better personal health, a better knowledge of where and how your products were made, greater biodiversity…the list goes on. So why not?

Apparently I’m not the only person asking myself this question, as I recently read that the local farming industry in the United States has increased by 20% in the past 6 years. That, to me, is amazing news. So here’s to spending money conscientiously and shopping locally!