Vintage & Consignment the New Green….or is it Black?


NY Times reported this week on the latest surge in consignment & thrift store shopping.

Rising oil prices? Tightening of the credit markets? Increases in foreclosures? Greater demand for brand-name luxury items at reduced prices? Or perhaps clothing-in-closet overload? Whatever the reasons, a great opportunity is emerging green-ify our closets in one of the best ways possible.

I agree fully with the NY Times that the trend is increasing and for me personally, I could not be more enthusiastic about it. Buying and selling used items is one of the greenest ways to stay chic AND keep textiles in the marketplace, thereby preventing or delaying their ultimate arrival to the landfill.

More and more celebrities and women of all walks are turning to vintage, consignment shops to buy, sell and/or trade in their goods. Take Fashion Dig for example offering this Debbie Harry outfit for $2500 (on sale). Or Ricky’s Exceptional Treasures, a luxury resale store on eBay. Apparently last month Ricky Serbin, the owner, recorded over 150,000 hits to the online store. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg…thousands of sellers on eBay are reselling their clothing, and that does not even include all the local consignment and thrift stores found in every major city in America.

Whether the shopping is for luxury labels or new summer hits, bringing clothing back into the market and then buying used goods are remarkable ways to stay eco, while looking fresh. For me personally, I always try to drop my used clothes off at a local charity that accepts clothing…I like knowing that someone else will get use out of the clothes and that they are being recycled somehow. Since I recently moved back to the Boston area, I have not found one non-profit yet that turn to regularly; however today I learned about a cool local organization called ‘Second Chances’. Turns out they are actually having a clothing drive happening on June 25th in Somerville. They appear to have some excellent local partnerships and uses for the clothes.

Another good practice that is fun is to drop off clothes with a consignment store and get a % of the proceeds from the sale when sold. I recently discovered Porch & Wardrobe boutique in Arlington and had good success selling some clothes there so far.

Rule of thumb: if you have not used something or more than 12 months, chances are, you are not going to use it. The item is just taking up space in your closet. Meanwhile, someone else could be making use of it. Drop it off at a charity or sell it on eBay!

Quick Facts:
50% of the textiles we throw away are recyclable. However, the proportion of textile wastes reused or recycled annually in the US is only around 20%. That means that approximately 80% of textiles head straight to the landfill! What can we do to reduce that?

Here are 3 Simple Tips for Greening your Closet

1) Keep your clothes ‘in the cycle’ by dropping them off at a local charity, thrift or consignment store or re-selling them on eBay. 80% of textiles end up in landfills. Lets try to reduce that! Note: If your clothes are brand-name, re-sell them on eBay. There is a HUGE market for slightly worn brand name items.

2) Turn old garments into new garments. That is if you have a designer-creative side in you, cut them up and re-sew. Be creative. In fact Greenloop recently had such a contest the ‘re-shirting’ contest to see who could make the coolest shirt out of an old shirt (without adding any new fabric!). Contest ended May 23.

3) If the clothes are really old and ratty, cut them up and use them as rags.

What do you do to stay green and recycle your textiles? Tell us your favorite vintage, consignment or clothing recycle story.

Channel Tackles Environmental Justice: The Good Fight

Image source: Sundance Channel

Sundance Channel is now launching a new series on environmental justice called ‘The Good Fight’. They are calling for all local stories on what people are doing in their area to address environmental issues. I just entered my story on their site under the name of Jute & Jackfruit at

I encourage you to enter your story too onto their community map. Check out what other people are doing across the country. Be a part of the change.

They also had a few interesting video clips on their site. I am personally not a big TV person, but am partial to video clips on the web, so if you have a moment, worth checking out some of their ‘green-oriented’ programs.

FYI there is also an upcoming episode on the greening of fashion, “Big Ideas for a Small Planet: Fashion” Tuesday, May 6th. 9:00pm e/p

Summary of that program: Environmental consciousness has hit the fashion world in a big way; from T-shirts and jeans to haute couture, style is coming to mean sustainable fabric and earth-friendly manufacturing practices. In this episode, we’ll meet several men and women who are bringing green to fashion, clothing stores and to the dry cleaners, too.

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New York Fashion Week’s Eco Debut 2008


FutureFashion jump-started a remarkable eco-runway show yesterday in New York with more than 30 top designers showcasing luxurious, hot, AND environmentally-friendly designs. As one of the largest eco-huate couture events to date, designers including Behnaz Sarapfour, Bottega Veneta, Boudicca, Burberry, Calvin Klein, Derek Lam, Diane Von Furstenberg, Donna Karan, Doo.Ri, Doro Olowu, Giambattista Valli, Givenchy, Isabel Toledo, Jil Sander, Marc Jacobs, Marni, Martin Grant, Martin Margiela, Michael Kors, Moschino, Narciso Rodriguez, Ralph Lauren, Rodarte, Rogan, Stella McCartney, Thakoon, Threeasfour, Versace, and Yves Saint Laurent contributed to the success.

Designers made garments with renewable, reusable, non-polluting materials including sasawashi, piña, bamboo, organic cotton and wool, corn-based fibers, recycled fibers and/or fabrics and biopolymers. Designers are encouraged to use techniques that reduce environmental impacts of manufacturing and production as well as source locally produced sustainable materials. For example, designers not only aim to reduce their manufacturing carbon footprint, but also to reduce toxic chemical usage in fabric processing (one concern with bamboo).

As part of Earth Pledge, FutureFashion is an initiative to educate, research and demonstrate the inherent value and increasing potential of fusing style with sustainability within the fashion industry. Fashion week 2008 is one of their many events of this year.

FutureFashion notes that ‘25% of agricultural pesticides are used on cotton, causing major water pollution, chronic illness in farm workers, and devastating impacts on wildlife. In the United States, cancer rates in states that produce cotton are significantly higher than in neighboring states that do not. The acidic chemicals used to process synthetic fabrics find their way into our rivers and streams, lowering the pH and destroying ecosystems. Materials such as bamboo and hemp are faster growing, more durable, and more renewable than conventional textiles. ‘

According to FutureFashion, sustainable style is attainable and does not require limitations in the variety or quality of products that designers offer: from couture to sportswear to home furnishings.

More information:

Top Photo by Dan Lecca
Top Dress by Halston

SF Green Festivals


The SF Green Festivals (Nov 9, 10, 11) promises an amazingly packed weekend with hundreds of green companies gathering for the expo, plus an array of inspiring guest speakers such as Deepak Chopra, Sharif Abdullah and a number of prominent green authors. It should be a remarkable event. I am heading to San Francisco tomorrow and I won’t be writing again until Monday so have a great weekend and stay tuned for some news on the Festival next week. Results from this week’s quiz will also be revealed on Monday– stay tuned!

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Welcome to the San Francisco Green Festival

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Green Festivals DC: From Organic Chocolate to Sustainable Tee’s

organic chocolate

If you are a chocolate lover keen on organic blends, the DC Green festivals was the place to be last weekend. While I thought I was a relatively savvy organic chocolate consumer, the Festival proved me wrong with a handful of new brands in the category:

  • Alter Ego ( offers coffee, tea, chocolate, rice, quinoa, sugar, hearts of palm). This company is very cool – with an all around eco-friendly and ethically conscious approach. While I had not seen or sampled their product before the festivals I can honestly say they have a very a very solid range of basic products: from rice, to sugar and coffee and tea, all available at a fair price, organically produced and fair trade certified. They had 4 varietals of chocolate on demo, each of which were produced in different corners of the world: Ghana, Bolivia, and elsewhere in Latin America. I believe they are available in Whole Foods as well, so check them out! (On a side note: Apparently, it is easiest to produce fair trade chocolate in Latin America since the facilities are all set up, and there are several cooperatives with experience in this area, and greater enforcements for quality control, but if anyone knows of other companies that are producing fair trade organic chocolate in Africa, please do share).

  • Kallari Rainfamily (Roberto’s Recipe) Amazing new company*. From their business model to their exquisite cocoa complex notes, this company is incredible. Relatively new, yet not sold in Whole Foods or Trader Joes, or any other big retailer for that matter, Kallari Rainfamily is a family-owned cooperative located in the rainforest of Ecuador. The company not only supports the growing the cacao bean, but also transforms it into some of the most delectable chocolate I have ever tasted. If I am not mistaken, I believe the vendor mentioned they have already received requests from Swiss chocolate manufactures to receive some of their chocolate.

  • Travel Chocolate. This is an innovative chocolate company, born out of an avid traveler-chocolate lover who has merged the two passions into one interesting product. With different travel destinations on each chocolate bar, the brand is well suited for airports, travel destinations and really anywhere – that transports the interested consumer into a virtual ‘chocolate destination’ with peace of mind that all ingredients are organically derived and ethically produced. Check it out!

As for older, more established companies, Dagoba stood out as well with their panoply of flavors, recipes and aromas. Like many other chocolatiers at the festival, Dagoba is clearly dedicated to the art and science of cacao alchemy: transforming cacao beans into exquisite chocolate types and flavors. Dagoba embraces a philosophy and methodology known as Full Circle Sustainability: blending equity, quality, ecology and community.

My favorite for the day however was Kallari’s vintage 75% cacao with fruity notes and floral aroma, much like a complex, aged wine. I highly recommend sampling this bar if you have the opportunity. I am not sure where they are sold yet in the US, but will post as soon as I discover!

The eco-fashion front at the Festival was equally as exciting and thriving as the chocolate. Stay tuned for my next post which will review some of the hottest and most interesting vendors in my view as well as point out some areas for improvement, and what’s new on the fabric scene. Stay tuned!

*I believe that this company is actually a non-profit. Stay on the look-out for this brand. While not inexpensive, it is truly delicious, and also makes you feel good that you are helping the local Ecuadorian economy and supporting organic agriculture.

Photo: From Flickr by MonkeyBites

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.







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“Eco” Fashion Week in London

Here’s to a powerful showing of ethical and green fashionistas in London this week. For the first time, eco and “people” friendly fashion acquired its own rightful place at the week-long event. ‘Esthetica’, the eco exhibition, featured designers from Ciel and Enamore to Davina Hawthorne and Samant Chauhan, some of the hottest, most talented designers in the field. Notably, many of these young artists not only demonstrate their uncanny ability to source creative eco products and materials for designs – all with low carbon footprints, but more than a few explicitly embrace fair and ethical trade practices.

We are entering a new generation in which it is not only possible to create and sell sexy, hip, environmentally conscious clothing, but it increasingly is a necessity. The very definition of hip, I believe, has transformed to include socially and environmentally conscious design practices.

Interestingly, Esthetica reveals a huge range in product, design, materials and approaches. Hetty Rose for example takes used high end Kimonos and integrates them into stunning, individually crafted shoes for women. While not inexpensive, these shoes are a work of art: contemporary, fun, elegant and hip. The best part too is knowing that the material, as re-used, is not contributing to additional carbonization of the planet.Also worth noting is Noir– which appears to be the sexiest, most striking line of the week. Proving that green can be hot and hip, Noir took an impirial, dark and almost militaristic approach to their sexy designs this year. Catchy indeed- the clothes are powerful and hot, serving to drive home even deeper that green-ing is achievable, one baby step at a time. Noir is not 100% organic, but they are working toward that goal, one thread at a time.

Finally, I’d like to make note of Samant Chauhan, a new designer from India, whose knitware work is obvious in its ingenuity. This man is clearly a visionary and one step ahead of the crowd in terms of his designs. While some may say, the designs appear too odd, off-beat or strange at times, I would argue that Samant may be onto something. Inspired by the Asian pulse of fashion, he bridges the gap between East and West: fusing two typically opposing paradigms to create one very unique look. Furthermore, given that Asia constitutes the fastest growing consumer market in the world, and houses close to 3 billion consumers — I can only guess that the work of designers like Samant will be increasingly influential.

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Another new initiative at the Exhibition @ London Fashion Week is Estethica,
it will be the hotspot for ethical fashion, designers will show collections founded
on ecological and organic principles. Maintaining the highest standards in design
and craftsmanship, all the labels here including Katharine Hamnett and From Somewhere
are creating high end fashion without compromise.




hetty rose



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