Greening Your Closet/ Presentation by Joanne Gilbert


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Challenges + solutions to building a personal style that reduces waste.(Please do not copy any portion without my permission.)

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  • Thank you, Cheryl and guests for inviting me to talk with you today.I used to work in the fashion industry as a sketch artist and fabric buyer for a natural fiber clothing company.Recently I have been an adjunct Professor at cazenovia Colleg and Syracuse University. In the short time we have, I thought I inundate you with pictures to get you thinking about your fashion choices. By sharing what I have been doing with my students , I hope to inspire you to and show you how you can green your closet and contribute to a healthier planet in ways you probably never imagined.
  • We all make fashion choices daily. In fact it is our second skin. Whether you dress for funtion .
  • or expression. It communicates something about who you are.
  • It is a $400 billion industry.But when we talk about green living it is most often missing from the discussion.
  • Well, sometimes it is included .There is thatTee shirt. It's often sold for good causes like children saving the rainforest...meanwhile the tee shirt which the club or conference got for $5.oo their cost , has left 17 teaspoons of insecticide in th its wake, made in a factory of unknown quality and loaded up with PVC printing which has to be treated as hazardous waste when it ends up in a in a landfill so the tee shirt cannot be even recyled. What was the cost? Boy am I a killjoy or what?
  • In all fairness the environmental problems with fashion are largely invisiible to consumers and even to designers and retailers. But the facts are irrefutable.
  • The future of fashion is NOT acrylic!
  • Fashion is all about change and choices.In the last 10 years we have had designer choices at all price points. Prices for women's clothing have actually fallen 33%.between 1995 and 2005 (Laura Sevier/The Ecologist's Archive)
  • As the prices fell demand doulbled in th same period. Technology allowed new styles came in 10-12 times per year instead of 5! Opportunities to market to young teenagers in the mall and created surge in new brands. At the same time, there was money left over for luxury items which were marketed to the middle class.
  • More choices more fun! Andl Little girls with 10 purses...
  • Turn into big girls with 10 shopping bags.
  • And have noticed our closets are getting bigger?
  • 42% of imports to the US are apparel. How long do you think it takes for this season's design sketch to end up in the discard box?
  • Not everything can be shipped to good will or even recyled for rags. By now over 11 million tons of textile waste goes into landfill every year...and if it's acrylic, I promise you it is not going to go away.
  • Behind the looks we crave...
  • is a chaotic risky chain events. Fast fashion creates a big industrial waste trail. Lots of pesticides insures larger crops for the farmer and heavy metals and endocrine interruptors produce dyes that do not fad or run. In the life cyle you see here... Even the most savvy consumer is usually not aware of more than 4 steps. The rest is invisible. But we can do better.
  • energy, water, dyes and processing waste are generated before any garment is cut at a factory..
  • And which person in this picture is going to assure you that the fabric they received came from a safe dying method? Each supplier wants to be on time and on budget to improve the bottom line of business.
  • So what do you want to grow? Waste? Pollution? Sickness? If we start with the premise that really great fashion should improve the quality of our lives, then we obviously need to change methods.
  • Intelligent design will require a new value system. I call it 4 R's. Not only are finding ways to reduce reuse and recyle , but it also means we need to reinvent
  • too many choices =boredom. The time is right for a change.
  • Young people in 2006 became obsessed with Vintage and retro finds: One of a kind....the thrill of the hunt!
  • the trend forecast at an international material and textile show this year: mass marketing & communication connects but eventually makes us long for individualized and customized fashion.
  • We are craving artistry and unique detail again. Contrast ot 80's and 90's minimalism.
  • slow fashion.This is a recyled and hand beaded plain white tee. Could this be what a tee shirt means to us?
  • What if we just focused on the life ofa garmetn? fashion with a long life, or many lives?
  • Why the gap? between what we want from fashion and what we are creating? For one thing,we need to change the way we educate designers and consumers about materials and business.
  • Fashion should feed our appetitie and leave no trail of toxic waste.
  • so a colleague and I started a project in sustainable design at Cazenovia College.
  • The students were to create their own clothing label made by by reusing materials. Eco-fashion =truefashion 1. functional 2. stylish 3. innovative 4. sustainable(no harm to future generations.)
  • Came up with stylish designs that could use readily found garmetns such as sweaters and jeans
  • There was a lot of creative problem solving
  • We repurposed men's sweaters in to a shrug and hoodie here adding new shape and hand embroidered details.
  • Then dresses
  • and acessories like hats and Handknit chunky scrves from cut up strips.
  • Educational opportunites spread. We did some promotion with graphics and photo majors
  • Fresh style was actually coming from unwanted out of date fashion.
  • We partnered with A local Thrift shop who generously minded the sales in exchange for our merchandising students doing a window o every month. We gave back to the local community.
  • By Spring we had a trunk show
  • Fashion from discarded materials requires only 2% of the energy and resources required for a garment of conventional new materials.
  • Now that 's a tee shirt that helped save the planet!
  • We got some attention along the way for our innovative approach. delavan gallery showed our work( and 2 pieces it sold!)
  • We were excited to have Senator and former President Clinton stopped by to see Look Again clothing on her way ot the NY State fair 2 years ago!
  • And Sierra magazine write about our project in print and online. We presented the project at an academic conference and were included in anew Textbook on Sustainable fashion .
  • This last year at Syracuse University I had the opportunity to work with the faculty and students. on a fashion show made entirely from fabric with a previous life.
  • In a single design challenge, each upperclass student received a man's suit suit/shirt and tie or table linens. The first year students learned to make felted wool from sweaters.
  • The show was called Recycled with Style and it helped raised funds for Crouse Hospital. Here are a pair of men's suits .
  • Table linens...on the runway
  • felted wool sweaters.
  • So we made our point to designers and the public about Intelligent Design to reduce reuse.recycle. But we still needed to talk to them about reinventing. Can we use fabric that will go from field to fashion and back to field again harmelessy?
  • So I applied for a grant at Syracuse University to expose them to new fabric choices and give them some experience with these fabrics that will be a part of their future.
  • Bamboo Jersey for the little black dress. Green is the new black is a slogan used in many fasion news reporting circles.
  • Hemp instead of cotton muslin shapes
  • beautiful Hand applied affects
  • Patterns scanned into phototshop and printed one at a time on silk or cotton= high design, low waste and could support a local designer.
  • all fabric are not good for the planet or for people. Youv'e got to read the label and learn what to look for. Eco-fabrics will sometimes havebrag tags which make it easier.
  • These are fabrics that are generall good inn terms of less impact as a fiber to grow. The trademarked fabrics shown here are also good in terms of processing with less water and chemical waste and are also entirely biodegradeable in their undyed form. Of the 1600 dye chemicas avialble only 16 are approved for health....l
  • Ofcourse,locally recycled cashmere the color of goat is very green, and an organic shirt made in denmark with azo free dye and soy ink graphics is pretty green,but take a sustainable bamboo fabric dye it with dioxins and process it with formaldhyde and ship it 16,000 miles.... well I call it a shades green. The UK will have chemical labels on clothing starting next year. The transition will happen faster if we are reading labels and making the industry accountable.
  • 25% of insecticides in the world are used to grow cotton in 80 different countries. Denim in organic cotton and dark indigo wash is the most eco friendly. look for it in many price points.
  • Most of our cotton knit type garments can be made more sustainably from lovley Bamboo,or hemp knits.Both ar grown in China.
  • Linen and raw silk are strong versatile fibers which can be grown and processed with low impact. Czech republic, russia, china and india are sources.
  • You can find wool and alpaca fibers locally for felting or handknits. Most woven alpaca is done in Peru, cashmere comes from China.Wool can be from Austrailia,scotland, US or UK.
  • Soybean by products from food can be made into silky fabrics or handknitting yarn. It is more expensive than bamboo but feels even softer. it is often blended with wool or silk.
  • Coconut fiber and seaweed? Why not? They are prized for their anti-odorand skin scare properties in sportswear and yoga wear.
  • New synthetic biodegradable plastics can be made from corn or soy. They are available on a limited basis but very promising substitute for petroleum based fabrics.
  • The future of fashion is not acrylic. It is made from petroleum chemicals.
  • So are Nylon,Polyester,Acetate. Aslo bad are metallics,vinylsand finishes like teflon and scotchguard. They emit toxic particle and gases for the life of the garments. only polyester is recyclable and it is truly a good recycled fithe trick is not to make any new polyester! Please please wash your clothing before wearing! Avoid blended synthetics as they cannot be recycled.
  • Se we do have good choices! For more detail go to and search keyword sustainability.
  • So choose wisely. There are 3 ways to green your closet. Vintage shops locally and online are great ways to add to your wardrobe without adding a thing to the waste stream. You can find designer looks for departmetn store prices
  • or a trendy belted winter coat for under $80.
  • 2. Buy recycled and reworked. Ther are local designers who can rework your own items or look for local shops that artisan goods This bag is made from candywrappers . The sequins are made from leather scraps instead of plastic.
  • Look for hand dyed or hand stitiched artisan clothing
  • Alabama Chanin is a design story worth reading about. handstitched clothing has rejuvenated a local community.
  • At the mall or boutiqueask for the materials that are eco-friendly! Vote for more with your purchase power. 3.Buy renewable materials Here are some stores that devote some or all of their merchandise to renewable fabrics and ethical manufacturing. Every pricepoint from Walmart to Barney's is carrying a line of eco fashion this year.
  • Get familiar with green brands by looking online . beklina Or try one of these sites whcih search the green living market for you and link you to what you want: thegreenloop, inhabitat or green with glamour
  • remember this: What do yu want to grow?
  • Choose the good stuff and your style can help save us. On behalf of future generations, I thank you.Thank you.
  • Greening Your Closet/ Presentation by Joanne Gilbert

    1. 1. Greening Your Closet Eco- Fashion (Style can save us!)
    2. 2. Function
    3. 3. Expression
    4. 4. Green Living ?
    5. 5. Paper Δ Cloth Δ PVC’s !!
    6. 6. Overlooked Renate Cummings Benson
    7. 7. The future of fashion is not acrylic .
    8. 8. Designers are expanding downward into mass market. <ul><li>Media and consumer awareness of design </li></ul>
    9. 9. Generation of Fast Copies New “Tweens” Brands
    10. 10. MORE is Fun?
    11. 13. Sustainable Fashion? 42% of imports to USA are apparel From design sketch to donation box?
    12. 14. Textile Recycling is not enough 10.6 million tons of textile waste.(2003, US EPA report) Kyoto Agreement 2012 Carbon Emissions Toxic Chemicals Non-Renewable Resources
    13. 15. Behind the look you love…
    14. 16. ( Invisible) Waste Cycle <ul><li>Agriculture/Chemical Components </li></ul><ul><li>Transport </li></ul><ul><li>Fiber </li></ul><ul><li>Yarn/Fabric </li></ul><ul><li>Dye and Finish </li></ul><ul><li>Transport </li></ul><ul><li>Production /Pkg </li></ul><ul><li>Transport </li></ul><ul><li>Retail </li></ul><ul><li>Use/Care </li></ul><ul><li>Disposal </li></ul>Manufacture Pkg. Transport Market/ Retail Wear/ Care/ Dispose Grow/ Spin Weave/ Dye
    15. 18. Complex Supply Chain
    16. 19. “ What do you want to grow?” William McDonough <ul><li>Intelligent Design is the answer to prosperity. </li></ul>social physical Triple Top Line of Business Profit Planet economic People
    17. 23. Customized Fashion Forecast <ul><li>“ avalanches of new information that are meant to connect people, yet paradoxically have had an equally disconnecting impact.” ……. “As the world becomes smaller and more homogeneous, with the big brands ubiquitous on Main St. from Berlin to Beijing, we fight world blanding and blending.” </li></ul><ul><li>SPEAKER : Merrill Greene, Vice President Creative Director, STYLESIGHT (official trend partner of Material World ‘08-’09) </li></ul>
    18. 24. ’ 06 Trends: Details, One-of- a-Kind Mim Knits,shibori technique Influences: Technology and Global Labor Market
    19. 25. Recycled/Customized
    20. 26. Consider : Life of a garment <ul><li>Longevity </li></ul><ul><li>Versatility </li></ul><ul><li>Quality </li></ul><ul><li>Re-creation or Reuse </li></ul><ul><li>Focus garment’s story and meaning </li></ul>
    21. 27. Why the Gap ?
    22. 28. <ul><li>Intelligent Design is the answer to prosperity. </li></ul><ul><li>You can have your fashion and future too. </li></ul>
    23. 29. Sustainable Fashion: <ul><li>A Class that Combined Creativity , Social responsibility and </li></ul><ul><li>Community Collaboration </li></ul>
    24. 31. Sustainable Fashion Class
    25. 32. Quality and Cutting Choices Creative problem solving
    26. 33. Repurposed
    27. 35. Reworked
    28. 36. Interdisciplinary Opportunities
    29. 37. Redesigned recycled reborn!
    30. 38. Merchandising 25% sales to local charities Local Thrift shop gave us space.
    31. 39. Spring Trunk Show
    32. 41. Redesigned Reworked
    33. 42. Fall 2006 Design Samples include reworked jeans
    34. 43. Look Again received a Special Visit from Senator Clinton and the former President, September 2006
    35. 44. Sierra Magazine <ul><li>January Print Issue </li></ul><ul><li>“ The Green Life” Section </li></ul><ul><li>and online at : </li></ul>http:// Click on “The Green Life”
    36. 47. “ Recycled With Style” Fashion Show for the Benefit of Crouse Hospital
    37. 50. Reinvent
    38. 51. A New Era for Fashion Industry Materials Syracuse University Enitiative Curriculum Grant 2008
    39. 52. “green is the new black” Beau Soleil /Bamboo Jersey Susan Menkes,2006 for International Herald Tribune
    40. 53. Shapes in Hemp muslins
    41. 54. Inspired Surface Textures
    42. 55. Customized Digitally Printed Versace CAD students’ work
    43. 56. Read the labels. All new clothes are not created equal
    44. 57. Ex. The “Good” Ones <ul><li>Linen,,Silk,Organic Cotton, Alpaca (wools) and Soy,Hemp,Bambo,Cocono ™ Tencel TM , Ingeo TM </li></ul>Natural over Synthetic?
    45. 58. Shades of green Avita recycled cashmere Sameunderneath Bamboo,Rayon Ceil organic and Azo free-dye
    46. 59. Organic Cotton Dark Wash Delforte Organic and low impact wash Gregory Rogan Loomstate plus Edun with Ali Hewitt/Bono
    47. 60. Bamboo or Hemp Panda Snack 2007
    48. 61. Linen and Silk
    49. 62. Local Wool <ul><li>Merino </li></ul><ul><li>Mohair </li></ul><ul><li>Cashmere </li></ul><ul><li>Angora </li></ul><ul><li>Camel </li></ul><ul><li>Alpaca </li></ul>
    50. 63. Soy Jersey & handknits Soy Baby, soy+organic cotton
    51. 64. Coconut or Seaweed
    52. 65. Nanofibers :PLA from Corn Halston, Ingeo ™ dress Earth Pledge Future fashion Show 2006 Cargill’s Ingeo ™
    53. 66. The future of fashion is not acrylic . Elisa-Jimenez, Ingeo ™
    54. 67. The “Bad” Ones Nylon, Acrylic, Polyester, Acetate, Metallics, Vinyl, Scotchgard * Made from petroleum chemicals or emit toxic particles + gases over life of garment. Non renewable/recyclable except for Polyester * Avoid natural/synthetic blends that cannot be recycled or separated. Dyes and Finishes can be harmful even when natural or organic.! Always WASH your new clothing before wear.
    55. 68. Fashion is Choices, Choices <ul><li> </li></ul>
    56. 69. 1. Buy Vintage 60’s Oscar De La Renta 60’s Yves Saint Laurent
    57. 71. 2.Buy Recreated/Recycled
    58. 72. Hand Dyed, Hand Stitched/Recycled
    59. 73. Alabama Chanin Designed by Natalie Chanin and her collaborator, Butch Anthony, and hand-made by artisans — the ladies, as she calls them — in her hometown of Florence, Ala., her products are examples of Slow Design, which is not so much a metabolic term as it is a philosophical one.
    60. 74. 3. Buy renewable and fair trade. <ul><li>Major brands/stores : </li></ul><ul><li>Nike, Timberland, Levis, Walmart, Barney’s, H&M </li></ul><ul><li>Smaller brands/designers : </li></ul><ul><li>Linda Loudermilk, Stella McCartney, Armani, </li></ul><ul><li>Stewart & Brown, Eileen Fisher,J. Jill </li></ul><ul><li>Independent Designers and Boutiques : </li></ul><ul><li>Etsy, Kaight, Made Boutique </li></ul>Need some (online) inspiration?
    61. 75. <ul><li> </li></ul>
    62. 76. “ What do you want to grow?” William McDonough <ul><li>Creativity </li></ul><ul><li>Health </li></ul><ul><li>Business </li></ul><ul><li>Community </li></ul><ul><li>Renewable Resources </li></ul>social physical economic
    63. 77. Buy the good stuff! <ul><li>Renewable/Non toxic </li></ul><ul><li>Fair Trade </li></ul><ul><li>Local Economy </li></ul>Your Style can save us!