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Fashion experts at The Art Institutes discuss green fashion
May '11
Before rushing out to buy the latest looks in emerald, teal or chartreuse, the question of “is green the new black?” isn't referring to the season's “it” color, but rather the current trend of going green.

Not sure if green and recycled fashions are for you? Fashion experts at The Art Institutes discuss green fashion and how you can go green by adding some recycled fashion into your own wardrobe.

Green fashion is all about clothing that is environmentally friendly and made in a socially responsible way. According to Maria J. Aguerri, Academic Director of Fashion Marketing and Management at The Art Institute of Michigan, qualities that make clothing “green” or “eco-friendly” are the “use of organic materials, fair trade manufacturing, eco-friendly dyeing processes and the use of recycled materials.”

The green fashion movement “is less about consumption and more about self-expression and fashion we can feel good about as consumers,” says Amber Davis Huber, a Fashion and Retail Management Instructor at The Art Institute of Indianapolis. People are “becoming more aware of where products come from and how they affect the environment. There is a story with the product.”

Recycled fashion is a great way for consumers to add green fashion to their wardrobes. Designers take recycled fabric or articles of clothing and refashion them to create completely new looks. According to Huber, recycled fashion opens opportunities for smaller designers and “allows them to enter the market in a more manageable way.”

Not only does recycled fashion offer more opportunity for up and coming designers, but also provides more selection and unique looks for anyone wanting to stand out in a crowd. “Recycling old clothing and textiles is a great opportunity for designers to be creative. Each garment made from recycled textiles is a one-of-a-kind, and shows originality from the way they connect together. We are living in a time when people buy clothing to reflect their personalities, and owning a garment made of a mixture of fabric and trims is a great way to do that,” says Jo Dean Tipton, a Fashion Design Instructor for The Art Institute of Indianapolis.

Recycled accessories are another way to go green. Huber, who is the designer of the handbag line Cynthia K, offers customers the opportunity to choose from a variety of recycled leathers and styles to create a custom-made handbag. Aguerri says designers are also starting to recycle denim and metals for accessories.

Aguerri also recommends bringing old clothes and accessories to thrift stores, shopping for vintage clothes and participating in clothe swapping parties as ways to add some recycled fashions to your closet. “A growing trend is to recycle bridesmaid dresses, which until now were usually worn once and discarded,” she says.

Green fashion can mean higher price points, but Huber says that this hurdle can be overcome by educating consumers on how products are made. She also stresses that “it's important as a consumer to really understand what makes things eco-friendly” and recommends researching companies to make sure their eco-friendly claims are more than a marketing strategy.

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