Heading out to an event tonight in Haute Verte Couture style? Aren’t you thrilled that getting dressed isn’t confined to drab colors and off-trend styles? We can all breathe a sigh of relief that we live in a time when Eco Fashion has expanded into a world where our passion for style, trends, and a variety of materials (not to mention a FULL closet) is satisfied. However, in this article, I ask, what trade-off arises when EcoFashion becomes a commodity.
There have been huge strides made in Eco Fashion in the last 15 years. Did you ever think in the grunge era that Vivienne Westwood would be working on vegan/ recycled plastic shoes, or the World Cup soccer match would catalyze a debate about the sustainability of its players uniforms? As recently as in 1990 we could only have dreamed about Harold Tillman’s call to offer tax deductions on Eco Fashion, but Eco Fashion is making its way into the larger world; and with a global thrust towards sustainability as a commodity we are witnessing a time of comprehension of the meaning of “green”. One of the largest areas of this discussion of EcoFashion as a badge of honor can be found in thrift/vintage shopping. Firstly, the two are radically different ways of shopping, thrift store browsing is a way of life for many and it’s benefit to the environment (practice of the 3R’s reduce, reuse, recycle) are merely a secondary asset. Vintage buying is completely different, generally done by those who are looking for a particular designer, trend, or style that has been produced prior to the current fashion cycle. The vintage buyer sometimes has a passion for being an EcoFashionista, but it can also be a secondary component of their desire to acquire well made designer garments at a portion of the price. Since if you’re reading this post you probably know a little bit about Eco Fashion so we’ll move to the idea of buying clothing that looks like EcoFashion.
We’re talking about ripped jeans or oddly stained garments that are new and going for big bucks. So therefore vintage style look with a haute couture price tag. Does this make sense in the world of Eco Fashion? Is it a new type of green washing that is unique to the Eco Fashion world? Designer partnerships with EcoFriendly labels is something that we find divine, it’s a great way for consumers to enjoy a design by their favorite fashion house that they would not have access to otherwise. But that’s not really what’s at stake here. This grunge-chic look is an example of a trend-spanning cop-out of the “I just appear to be an EcoFashionista” kind. Where celebs and your local divas are wearing garments that look as though they’re vintage. It’s not clear if they’re aware of this relationship between what they’re wearing and they’re origins (punk/grunge origins are too huge of a history to go into in such a tiny post here are some links to nice journal article son the topics) but it would be great to hear what your thoughts are on the place of this trend in fashion. And do you find it necessary to look like you’ve shopped EcoFashion garments even if you haven’t? Is this a new kind of dimension of consumption practice that we need to examine further? As always, we look forward to hearing your thoughts! xoxox HVC