Utne Blogs > Environment

Dressing Ourselves to Death

 by Keith Goetzman


Tags: Environment, green, fashion, sustainable business, ethical business, fair trade, clothing,

Eco designer Linda LoudermilkBy snapping up rack after rack of cheap, mass-made clothing, we’re making ourselves all look alike, trashing the planet, and mistreating our fellow humans, writes Charty Durrant in “The Tyranny of Trends” in the May-June issue of the British magazine Resurgence. What makes her case especially compelling is that Durrant is not a radical outside observer but a co-creator of the very culture she derides: She is a former fashion editor of the Sunday Times, the Observer, and British Vogue and a lecturer at the London College of Fashion.

“As a fashion editor of twenty years’ standing,” she writes, “I have found it extremely uncomfortable to admit that the seemingly harmless fashion industry is actually driving our demise. It is at the heart of all that ails us; pull at any social or environmental thread, and it will lead you back to the fashion industry.”

Durrants singles out “fast fashion,” which cops leading designers’ styles with cheap sweatshop-made knockoffs, as especially unethical and urges a return to “built to last” thinking in apparel.

While many of Durrant’s brand and store references are British, stateside shoppers inspired by her message can clean up their fashion purchases by seeking out green- and ethical-minded clothing makers like Patagonia, Nau, and Linda Loudermilk and using online resources like the Autonomie Project and Artfire to find fashionable apparel and accessories that don’t leave a big ugly footprint on the other side of the world.

Also, to keep up with the latest in green women’s fashion, check out blogs like Sprig, Eco-Chick and, for a more global perspective, Eco Fashion World

Sources: Resurgence, Patagonia, Nau, Linda Loudermilk, Autonomie Project, Artfire, Sprig, Eco-Chick, Eco Fashion World

Image of Linda Loudermilk courtesy of Linda Loudermilk.