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Fashion & Beauty Industry Taking Eco-Friendly Steps

I’ve been waiting for this to happen – finally Patagonia isn’t the only major company paying attention to making decent eco-friendly products. Sure, there are oodles of organic small-time retailers you can find online but most of it looks like potato sacks with arms added. Then Bono, champion of the world, launched (along with his wife) Edun, a company that designs and produces organic clothing with strong worker safety and quality regulations (i.e. no sweatshops and fair labor practices) made in Peru. I bought a jacket from Saks made by Edun and I like it. It’s progress.

Hybrid cars have been gaining in popularity for the past few years – particularly Hondas and Toyotas. Lexus came out with the first luxury hybrid SUV. That got attention. This year, Bono paired with Gap to create Project Red, a fashion-oriented project to raise money to help fight AIDS in Africa. It may not be directly related to eco-fashion, but it’s showing how fashion and philanthropy have become more intertwined and Africa’s plight is definitely tied to the environment, particularly in terms of agriculture.

Stella McCartney, PETA advocate and a natural leaning mom, just launched the first designer organic skincare line called “Care”, sold at Sephora. And it’s about time, because eco-friendly, anti-animal testing, organic make-up companies have been gaining ground. Look at Whole Foods or online natural skincare retailers – there are a lot of choices now. It’s no longer just Aveda and Jurlique providing clean options to be beautiful.

Finally, after Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth transformed him from a losing presidential candidate (depending on who you ask, of course) into a winning pop culture ecologist icon, everybody’s talking eco. Even Congress, which is always a late adopter. So one could only assume the fashion industry wouldn’t be far behind.

Now it’s everywhere. Events like the Global Green party in San Francisco have gained press tying fashion and the environment together. Style.com has a “50 ways to go green: earth-friendly guide to spring shopping” on their site.

Women’s Wear Daily today published “Models Go Green” about how Isabella Rossellini’s daughter, Elettra Rossellini Weidemann, new Lancome Spokesmodel, convinced Lancome to begin taking a more environmental role.

She reportedly requested a carbon neutral program to offset her travel as a spokesmodel. As a result, Lancome partnered with Carbonfund.org in “retrofitting [their] four freestanding Lancôme boutiques to reduce their carbon footprints” and they launched a tree-planting campaign in conjunction with the launch of their new Primordiale serum. “Lancôme will plant a tree for each of the first 10,000 bottles of the new Primordiale serum sold in the U.S.”

Designers and models have been shrugging off fur for a while now, but I think recent trends over the past six months are showing the beginning of a new movement toward greater awareness in the entire fashion and beauty industry. At least I hope so.