Green Festivals in DC Oct 6-7: Eco-Fashion Highlights

Green Fashion will be a core element of the Green Festivals this weekend in DC. Throughout the two days, a variety of vendors will be showcasing their products and approaches. The weekend is packed with well known and inspiring guest speakers, exhibitions, and opportunities to shop and have fun. Here’s a preview of some of the eco-apparel vendors:

Green Label
Ethnic Pride Marketing
Hemp Elegance
Kusikuy Clothing Co
Organic Fred

If you are in the area, come check it out!

The schedule is available at




Jonano presents a collection of luxurious organic clothing to uplift the senses and help preserve this unique planet we call home. Nurture yourself as you wear your values in luxurious style.







  blog it

Bamboo: Processing Considerations

Organic Clothing Blog recently brought our attention to the important distinction between bamboo, the miracle plant, and bamboo fiber, the more troublesome fabric. While bamboo is indisputably one of the world’s most sustainable and eco-friendly grass plants, the clothing fiber is not easy to produce from the raw grass, nor apparently as sustainable. Manufacturing the fiber into a usable fabric appears to be wrought with environmentally concerning effects.


Two well know processes exist for producing regenerated bamboo fiber:

1) Chemical Processing: Sodium hydroxide (NaOH- also known as caustic soda or lye) is used to ‘cook’ the fiber into a form of regenerated cellulose fiber
carbon disulfide is used for hydrolysis alkalization combined with multi phase
bleaching. This process produces a fiber also known as bamboo rayon or modal.
Chemical processing is the most popular bamboo fiber regeneration process.

2) Mechanical Processing: In mechanical transformation, machines are used to crush the woody parts of the bamboo plant; natural enzymes are then used to break the bamboo into a mushy mass at which point the individual fibers are combed out and spun into a yarn. This is similar to the process used to make linen. As such, the end product in this process is also known as bamboo linen. This process is much less popular than chemical, primarily because it is much more labor intensive and costly.

Both processes present environmental hazards and harmful health effects. As for the chemicals (the more widespread process), breathing in carbon disulfide is known to cause tiredness, headache and nerve damage among the exposed. At factory plants it is also associated with neural disorders among rayon manufacturers.

Low levels of exposure to sodium hydroxide is also known to cause irritation of the eyes and skin. As a strong alkaline base in its crystalline form, caustic soda (NaOH) is one of the major ingredients of Drano. These same chemicals are used not only for bamboo, but in standard rayon processing from wood or cotton waste byproducts.

Because of the health risks posed by these chemicals, coupled with the negative environmental impacts in surrounding factory plants, bamboo manufacturing, like other regenerated fibers produced using hydrolysis alkalization, is not considered eco-friendly, nor sustainable. However, important to note is that some companies ARE producing bamboo organically, using processing that do not involve bleaching.

Yet, what is the alternative? When assessing environmental impacts, we must always weigh the alternatives, one of which is traditional cotton. In the case of cotton, while in some cases the processing may be less chemical intensive (although not always) the growing is one of the most environmentally destructive crops in the world both in terms of water and pesticide use.

In addition, it appears there are some organic bamboo processing pioneers out there and more are on the way. I am certain that it is only a question of time before we develop environmentally friendly processes to transform the pulp into fine fibers. Consider the green progress made in household cleaning, lawn fertilizer and pesticide products. It is only a question of time before we discover greener methods for bamboo processing, too.

Additional advantages of Bamboo: Bamboo fabric is very soft and can be worn directly next to the skin. Many people who experience allergic reactions to other natural fibers, such as wool or hemp, do not complain of this issue with bamboo. The fiber is naturally smooth and round without chemical treatment, meaning that there are no sharp spurs to irritate the skin. (Source: Wise

More on Bamboo ( Bamboo fiber resembles cotton in its unspun form, a puffball of light, airy fibers.

Photo Credit: Organic Clothing Blog

clipped from

What do conventional fashion designers Diane vonFurstenberg,
Oscar de la Renta, Kate O’Connor, Agnes B and eco-fashion designers Amanda Shi of Avita, Linda
Loudermilk, Katherine Hamnett, Miho Aoki and Thuy Pham at United Bamboo, Sara Kirsner at Doie Designs, and clothing
manufacturers Bamboosa, Shirts Of Bamboo, Jonano, HTnaturals
in Canada and Panda Snack, and fabric
manufacturers Table Bay Spinners of
South Africa, Richfield Tang Knits Ltd.
in Mauritius have in common? Bamboo.
Chemically manufactured bamboo fiber is a regenerated
cellulose fiber similar to rayon or modal. Chemically manufactured bamboo is sometimes called bamboo rayon because of the many similarities in the way it is chemically manufactured and
similarities in its feel and hand.


The manufacturing processes where bamboo the
plant is transformed into bamboo the fabric are where the sustainability and
eco-friendly luster of bamboo is tarnished because of the heavy chemicals

blog it

Save This Page to

Catherine Hamnett Pulls Out of Tesco: Good or bad news?

Following the ‘Leaders of the Pack’ conversation, Tesco is a good example of not a leader, but a follower in the movement toward green apparel. Longtime eco-fashion warrior, Catherine Hamnett pulled out of her Tesco contract due to broken promises and insufficient eco commitment. Tesco, like other mainstream companies with diversified portfolios, appears to be taking advantage of ‘green’ value for positioning purposes without much company-wide commitment. In addition, while Tesco chose to incorporate organic garments (in small numbers) into their stores, fair trade was left behind with continued sourcing from Bangladeshi garment workers who on average earn $25 /month or less.

While the Tesco-Hamnett break down is disappointing on the one hand, I would also argue that Catherine’s hiring in and of itself was a positive move in the right direction. Given Tesco’s high profile coupled with her well-known eco-leadership, her pullout is simultaneously good press. Ultimately, the news reflects poorly upon Tesco, demonstrating lack of full commitment to eco-action. This is good for the greening movement. One thing we know for sure is that demand for green apparel products is increasing. The surge in demand is precisely one of the main reasons Tesco attempted to offer the line in the first place. The trend is moving forward, and as more and more entities adopt green business practices and products, we will see a lot more Tescos signing on ‘Catherine Hamnetts’ and the good news is, accountability and transparency will only increase.

clipped from
Last year, amidst much fanfare, Katharine Hamnett, the original eco-warrior fashionista, announced that she was teaming up with Tesco, the biggest and much reviled supermarket, to produce a fair trade and organic line called Choose Love.
Hamnett said: ‘I was initially really excited about the tie-up because I thought we could increase demand for ethical products. But I’ve come to the conclusion that [Tesco] simply wants to appear ethical, rather than make a full commitment to the range. Choose Love is only available in 40 stores and the merchandising is practically non-existent.’
Maybe she shouldn’t have been so surprised; a recent report by War on Want about the appalling working conditions of garment workers in developing countries pointed out that “the �4.6 million in salary and bonuses for Tesco’s chief executive Sir Terry Leahy could pay the annual wages of more than 25,000 Bangladeshi garment employees who supply its stores, based on average wages of about �15 a month.”

  blog it

Newer entries »