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Eco-chic fashion show by Jenny Hwa

Apr '10
Eco-fashion is one of the biggest trends of the decade, and designers are offering more stylish and affordable clothing as consumer demand rises. That's why Wake Forest's sustainability office and eco-designer Jenny Hwa will soon be co-hosting a fashion show of eco-chic clothing and accessories.

"With every year that passes, it becomes easier to incorporate eco-friendly values into our shopping habits," says Jenny Hwa, owner and CEO of the environmentally friendly company, loyale clothing. "If you want to support companies with green philosophies, you have to do your homework. Eco-friendly products are available, but consumers have to do some research to find them."

To choose earth-friendly fashions, look for organic cotton. Why? According to Hwa, the fibers of a conventional pair of jeans and a t-shirt are embedded with two cups of toxins due to chemical-intensive growing and production methods.

Natural dyes are also good choices. In some cases, manufacturers use color-grown cotton, which is derived from organic plants that bloom in colors varying from brown to green to blue. That makes dyes unnecessary.

Garments made in the U.S.A. can be another eco-friendly option. "Domestically produced clothing is subject to U.S. labor and environmental regulations," says Dedee DeLongpre Johnston, director of sustainability at Wake Forest University. "Clothing made in developing countries is often produced there precisely because there are no regulations.

"To be conscious consumers we need to focus on things other than price as a value," DeLongpre Johnston adds. "When we buy that $1.99 shirt, we often have to give up something else that's important to us, because the true costs of the clothing have been externalized onto the environment and the backs of the people making the clothes."

The good news is that earth-friendly clothing no longer resembles a burlap sack. Hwa's designs, for example, have been featured in magazines such as Vogue and InStyle, and worn by celebrities such as Blake Lively, Rachel McAdams and Jessica Alba.

DeLongpre Johnston believes it's important to highlight the fact that earth-friendly clothing can be both stylish and beautiful especially on college campuses where educating people about sustainable choices may help change the consumer mentality of quantity over quality.

The eco-chic fashion show, scheduled for April 6, will be the first of its kind in the Winston-Salem, N.C., area. Over a dozen top designers are participating.

Says DeLongpre Johnston: "People get up and get dressed every day. This event will give people an opportunity to turn the lens of sustainability on a seemingly ordinary activity and see it in a new way."

Wake Forest University

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