A couple Saturdays ago I had the privilege of interviewing Marta Swain, owner of a local boutique that specializes in eco-friendly and fair-trade clothing, for my monthly magazine column. Sadly, my column couldn't afford me nearly enough space to share all of the fascinating stories and awesome pictures I left with. But here on my blog, I've got unlimited space! Sustainability isn't a topic I bring up too often on this blog, but I think it's far too important not to bring it up every once in a while.
Marta's shop is called Clothing Matters, and as anyone who has visited will tell you, it really does matter. How many of us get dressed without even really thinking about it? I've got to raise my hand as one of the guilty ones here. I think about colors, patterns, proportions, textures...but I rarely stop to consider where my clothing comes from. The answer often isn't pretty. As Marta shared with me, conventionally-grown cotton is one of the worst environmental offenders: it's the crop most heavily treated with carcinogenic chemicals and pesticides, and it's incredibly water intensive. Not exactly sustainable! But even beyond the myriad environmental issues, fast fashion is responsible for a great deal of economic and social injustice. Workers around the globe are paid next to nothing and have to work in unsafe conditions. (I'm generalizing, but it all too often holds true.)
So what's an eco-conscious girl to wear? Luckily, there are plenty of options - and before you dismiss it as "not your thing," take note that this isn't just for hippies. Yes, there's clothing made out of hemp and bamboo and soy (all wonderful fabrics), but there are also divinely soft shirts made of organic cotton - and, though you'd never know it by looking, some are also made of recycled bottles. And then there's downright luxurious "peace silk," which is made through a process that, unlike regular silk, doesn't kill the silkworms and is made without harmful dyes. I seriously don't think I've ever felt anything more wonderful on my skin...you can count on that teal dress making its way to my closet soon! (top photo)
As a consumer that's increasingly aware of the impact of my purchases, to me, Clothing Matters is a breath of fresh air. We may never be able to make the footprint of our clothing completely disappear, but buying eco-friendly clothing is at least taking that footprint in the right direction.
So, if you ever visit Grand Rapids, I encourage you to pop in to Clothing Matters to see, as Marta says, "just how good clothing can be." I look forward to returning and sharing some new finds with you! But first: What are your thoughts on the issue of eco-conscious clothing? Do you own any yourself, and do you have any favorite environmentally-friendly shops?
Note: This was not a sponsored post - I just loved the shop so much that I wanted to share it with you! :)