2011 The year of Eco-Friendly Fair-Trade Fashion?

Pictured above: A dress from H&M’s Conscious Collection and YSL’s Muse 2 Artisanal Bag.

Eco friendly fashion is nothing new, however the designs and ranges of what is available are growing. More importantly, designers are also looking to implement fair-trade conditions in the production of their pieces. From H&M’s Conscious Collection, the capsule collection from Pure Threads (collaboration between Harry Potter star Emma Watson and Alberta Ferretti) the Made for Mimco collection and YSL’s Muse 2 Artisanal bag, fashion is going green.

H&M’s SS 2011 Conscious Collection hit stores on April 14 and picked up on the all-white trend seen at Dolce and Gabana’s SS 2011 show. Ann-Sofie Johansson, H&M’s head of design says “shades of white are the season’s biggest fashion trend. White creates a romantic feel, but it is also the basic colour in a sporty, relaxed style and in a preppy tailored look for men”. The women’s collection has touches of lace and Broderie Anglaise on blouses, tunics and t-shirts. While dresses and skirts are tiered, giving a floaty, ethereal feel to the collection. There are also hints of blush, cream, nude and grey, with one of the best pieces of the collection being a tailored blazer – perfect from desk to dinner.

Johansson also said eco fashion is “not just about organic cotton anymore, the possibilities for creating a complete fashion statement with eco smart materials are huge now.” There is a distinct focus on sustainability too, and the way materials are cultivated that are used in clothing. The H&M collection uses materials such as organic cotton, Tencel, recycled polyester, wool, polyamide or cotton and organic linen. Organic cotton is cultivated without the use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers which means that it is less polluting for the environment.

This approach is similar to the one taken by Alberta Ferretti and Emma Watson in the Pure Threads capsule collection. “This collection is completely organic, from the picking and spinning of our cottons to the washing, weaving and dying of our textiles” Ferretti said. The collection contains 5 pieces: two dresses, one shirt, one pair of shorts, and one maxi skirt. Inspiration was taken from style icon Jane Birkin with the skirt being tired and the denim shorts and dresses having detailed embroidery and lace. In an interview with Women’s Wear Daily Emma said she was pleased “that a luxury brand such as Alberta Ferretti has decided to create ecological clothes. I believe this is a big step forward for all of the international fashion industry, but also an important step for an increased sensitivity to the problem of ecology.” Also, part of the proceeds will go to People Tree, a charity that Emma designed a line for last year, and who promote fair-trade practices.

Pictured above: A dress from the Pure Threads collection and jewellery from Mimco’s Made collection.

Iconic French fashion house YSL have also begun to implement fair-trade practices, as promoted by People Tree, with the creation of the Muse 2 artisanal bag. Working with women from the Gafreh organisation in Burkina Faso, the Muse 2 bag is made completely from recycled materials, specifically plastic and cotton. So far only 60 pieces have been made and are available exclusively from the YSL Paris store.

Last but not least, more Australian designers are starting to promote fair-trade practices too. Mimco has recently collaborated with the international fair-trade fashion brand Made to produce a jewellery line. Made works with artisans in Nairobi using local and recycled materials such as recycled glass, olive wood beads, gold plated steel chains, bone and leather. The Made for Mimco range is available online and includes stunning hand-made necklaces, earrings, bracelets and also leather pouches.

With only a small number of pieces available (14 to be exact), similar to the Pure Threads collection and YSL bag, we hope that this is just the beginning of many greener and cleaner fashion collaborations.

Do you think these collaborations from fashion fashion, mid-range and high-end fashion is a sign of fashion moving towards a more eco-friendly future?


By Katie Hill.

Katie Hill loves writing about fashion from all over the world. A self-confessed shopaholic, she is always seeking out the lastest news and newest trends.

1 Comment

  • Inger says:

    Hi Katie
    Thanks for a great article on fair trade fashion.
    I would hope we are at the beginning of a slowly-growing trend towards fair trade and ethical production of clothing, particularly in a trend based niche such as fashion.
    People such as Emma Watson and Safia Minney have done such wonderful things to bring Fair Trade garments out of the hemp sack phase and into the fashion world.
    Lets hope it is simply the start of something bigger as consumers become more aware and start to buy from the heart.
    Fair Trade Clothing

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