Alternative Apparel, a Georgia-based clothing company that prides itself on incredibly well-made, well-fitted basics, launched this past year its Alternative Earth Collection. This product line uses organic cotton and recycled polyester, along with environmentally-gentle dyes. If that doesn't sound good enough, a percentage of all sales goes to several environmental organizations, such as the Wildlife Trust and the Gulf Restoration Network. From this collection, we practically live in their Unisex Eco-Heather Crew Neck Tees, ($24, Alternative Apparel), and can't get enough of the sustainable "Mr. Rogers" Eco-Vertigrain Cardigan ($45, Alternative Apparel) and the Gym Rat Fleece Crew, $35, Alternative Apparel).
Stewart + Brown
The mission for Stewart + Brown owners and designers Karen Stewart and Howard Brown is to bring forward fashionable and functional garments of the utmost quality, while keeping their impact on the earth as low as possible. The company not only uses organic cotton and "green fabric" such as hemp and linen, but it also buys factory surplus fabrics that have been previously manufactured to reduce waste, resources, and consumption. From the surplus fabric arises the small, limited edition collection of handbags, footwear, and various accessories. We love the fact that their brand breaks down the old notion of organic, earth-friendly apparel having to be frumpy and stuffy. Take one look at their collar scoop dress, ($149, Stewart + Brown), or the Stewart + Brown Gathered Hoody, ($176, Tobi.com), and we're sure those with the old school mentality will change their tune!
Ms. Loudermilk has become quite a pioneer in turning the idea around of what it means to be earth friendly and fashionable. She has branded the concept of luxury eco through the use of materials such as bamboo and soy in runway-worthy looks, with all of her garments having a polished, sexy aesthetic to them. The designer has couture, ready to wear, men's and denim collections; bringing luxury eco to all of your fashion needs. We love her Permafrost Dress ($499, Ecocitizen) and the Garden Denim Pant ($230, Zappos.com). The denim particularly holds our interest, as it is made from non-genetically modified corn, bamboo/cotton blends, organic and recycled, pure indigo dye, and sasawashi denim, which is derived from a Japanese plant leaf that boasts anti-bacterial components.
This brand has taken the reusable shopping bag concept and infused a fabulous fashion element to it through the use of graphic prints and bold colors. Plus, most bags cost a mere $8 to $28 -- with bags this stylish and affordable, its hard not to tote one around at all times! Because the main purpose is to be used as a shopping bag, Envirosax are light, foldable, waterproof, and fit approximately the same amount as two plastic grocery store bags. After reading their posted list of facts about plastic bags, telling us, among many other startling things, that only 1%-2% of plastic bags in the USA get recycled, you'll definitely think twice before asking the cashier to double bag your groceries. Go super green with their Organic Collection, composed of bamboo, linen, or hemp in a tranquil color palette printed with vegetable-based inks. Two of our favorite bags from the brand are the Flora Bag 1 ($10, Tobi.com), and the Organic Bamboo Bag 2 ($28, Tobi.com).
Ashley Watson Handbags & Wallets
Designer Ashley Watson creates beautiful leather handbags and wallets out of recycled leather materials. You know that old leather jacket you donated to the thrift shop? It could be reborn as a handbag under Ashley's fine tutelage! Watson even incorporates elements such as buttons, seams, and pockets into her designs, making each piece truly a reinvented marvel. We love her luxe Plover Bag in Light Brown ($335, Beklina.com), and the Thrush Bag in Brick ($290, ShopFatal.com).
Also on our "green" radar is Banana Republic –- the brand recently announced that it will launch a 50-piece eco-friendly collection for both men and women, with 1% of all in-store sales from April 22nd-27th going to the non-profit conservation organization Trust for Public Lands. If a mass retailer can manage making a green effort, we think that we can too! With more companies jumping on the green, organic, and sustainable band wagon, all the better for our style, but more importantly, for the planet.
-- Julia DiNardo
Note: there may be a way to make the items mentioned above an even better bang for your buck -- remember to search stylenotes for special promotions and coupon codes that may be applied to your order.