The Basics of Green Fashion

With all the press chatting about “going green,” it was only a matter of time before the term was applied to the fashion industry. But for many, it’s an oxymoron – how can you possibly apply the term “sustainable” to something that changes every season?

It’s a good question.

After all, fashion has a very long history of always changing, dating all the way back to Louis XIV, who changed men’s jacket styles 68 times in his 72-year reign (the longest in European history, by the way, it all startted when he became king at age 5).

Then there was Napoleon, who, in an effort to revive the battered French economy after the Revolution, mandated that no one could come to court wearing the same thing twice. It jump-started the country’s finances and re-established France as the world fashion leader.

Finally, Charles Frederick Worth, the “Father of Haute Couture,” established the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture in 1868 to protect his work from knock off artists and to set guidelines for the couture industry. Among them: produce new collections twice a year for spring and fall.

These said people are all amazing fashion legends, creating rules for and reinventing fashion and style of dress.

So after nearly 300 of years of “out with the old, in with the new” in fashion — 140 of which by command of the couture industry – how can we possibly “go green,” you might ask?

Actually, it’s easier than you think.

Let’s take a closer look at what “green fashion” means:

1. Clothes made from natural fabrics like organic cotton and hemp require less manufacturing time and energy than man-made fabrics like nylon and polyester. Less production time = less harmful emissions.

2. Clothes that can be washed in cold water and lined dried cut down on greenhouse gases as opposed to clothes that are washed in warm water and thrown in the dryer. Green advocates recommend only using a dryer for emergencies.

3. Wearing a few pieces many ways extends the usefulness of the garment, cutting down on the need for more clothes that are worn less often.

4. Like locally grown vegetables, buying locally made clothing and accessories helps the local economy and cuts down on emissions produced through transporting goods long-distance.

5. Clothes made by reputable companies instead of by “sweat shops” show respect for human welfare and quality of life.

6. Clothes that are recycled by vintage shops and second hand stores cut down on new production.

7. Recycling old clothes into new styles or unworn jewelry into new pieces cuts down on manufacturing.

As you are reading this list, you may discover that you’re already doing some of these things – especially in this economy. Recycling and making a little do a lot are not new ideas, particularly in this column. The goal is to THINK about how you use and wear what you already have instead of automatically buying new. Then, when you do buy new, do so with an eye towards economy and multi-tasking. It’s a great way to save money and enjoy “green fashion.”

My Top Picks for Eco-Friendly Apparel:


Want more tips on how to dress well and save money on clothes? Image Consultant Diana Pemberton-Sikes can help. Download a copy of “Wardrobe Magic” to see how easy dressing green can be. It is highly recommended by me and many others.


The Drop


Fashion is my passion and art is my heart. I love all that glitters and shines bright like a diamond. My goal is to motivate others to be their best and I love showing people the lighter side of things. You only live once and I want to live my life doing what I love which is writing and creating. Thanks for following my blog and let’s connect on social media: @KayBethStyle


  • cindy

    as per previous comment, i thought it has something to do with wearing green clothes but of course it goes beyond that. i like the idea of eco-friendly fashion, why not? you get to be fashionable and help mother earth at the same time. good job

  • josephrichards23

    i was thinking it meant wearing green clothing, not ‘green’ using re used , re cycled and organic clothing. it deffinitely would be better for our planet. some of the natural clothings looks real good.

  • jolly555

    This made an interesting read,from this post I perceive I have been going green with fashion because I do almost all what is on the green fashion list especially recycling old clothes into new styles to save money.

  • Glad

    Going green in terms of cloths isn’t bad but, don’t you think it maybe a little expensive? I am not talking about recycling your cloths now we all know that would definitely save cost, I do recycle some of my cloths. The article has been quite an interesting read

  • Marcie Smith

    Yes, it really does sound like a paradox to try to go green in fashion. You mentioned some very important points, the two most important ones for me being: using locally produced clothes and recycling clothes. I have already decided that, in order to buy something new, I have to give something old a destiny first. That’s been working for me, I haven’t bought anything that I didn’t really need.

  • sidney osorio

    I guess Green fashion is not that hard to pull off as we use to think, we just need some kind of knowledge about what materials are more natural. In Many countries cotton is not as expensive as lycras and sinthetic matherials. Customising the clothes is another great idea and I would say it would be good to try buying clothes that dont leave you trapped into a specific fashion trend. Instead get something a bit more classic that you can wear any time and mix with cool accessories.

  • Anna P

    It is a very interesting and important article. I like the part about fashion history. Now I know that aside from his other merits, Napoleon had also contributed to the French fashion industry. I have never thought that clothes might have such an impact on our environment. From now on I will try to buy clothes only made of natural fabrics.

  • Mauro Villamil

    This is interesting. I am already doing some of those things you are highlighting and I didn´t even know I was. But there is still a long road to cover for us underdeveloped countries. We still use a lot of synthetic fabrics and a lot of leather. It´s a shame but we are learning. I will be more aware of how I affect the environment with the clothes I wear. Very interesting and eyeopening.

  • ePhantoMe

    The concept about green fashion has many impediments and one of them is the self absorbed fashion industry that does not care about such things. The sad fact is that sweatshops will continue popping up and people will prefer new trendy clothes that are not green.

  • Hijab Noor

    I thought this article is about some weird dresses but thank God that it was not just click bait. Most of us do not pay attention to these little details but I always find these very important. How can you ignore yourself in anyway? I am also thinking about going green and try something new.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.