Compost Your Jeans! Anna Blom Writes About Green Fashion

Shinobinomono

June 11, 2012

Photo Credit: “Shinobi no mono” Tina Axelsson We invited New York based Swedish freelance fashion writer, Anna Blom, to write something for us. We are delighted to have her insight on an exponentially growing trend among designers who have taken an interest in reducing their carbon footprint by embracing green fashion. How would you like to bury your worn-out jeans in your backyard when they’re past their prime? It may sound like complete rubbish, but this can actually become a reality in the future. At least if fashion designers like Sweden’s Matilda Wendelboe get their way. Stockholm-based Matilda Wendelboe has created the world’s first degradable clothing collection with a closed loop approach. That means her designs don’t produce any waste – at all. Half of her collection is biodegradable, compostable and made from wool and organic cotton, whereas the other half is oil-based and made out of Nylon 6, a fabric that Wendelboe rents. So when you grow tired of your jacket, you hand it back to the designer and as a thank you, you get a bag of topsoil in return. Wendelboe returns it to a textile bank in the Netherlands where it is melted down and the cycle starts all over again. Next time around the material from your jacket may end up in a chair or a carpet, or in an entirely new fashion collection. “New” has taken on a different meaning in a fashion world whose reputation is based on the latest fad. In our times, it’s a revolutionary, but also necessary step. Our mountain of trash is growing worldwide. A new study from the University of Borås in west Sweden shows that Swedes on average throw away almost 18 lbs of clothing every year. In America the figure is 68 pounds a year – almost 21 lbs pounds in total, according to American clothing company SustainU. Fashion designer Matilda Wendelboe started out non-eco, but grew tired of the negative feelings associated with contributing to the global garbage mountain. Today, more fashion designers are following in her footsteps. Sweden is at the forefront. Fashion giant H&M did their take on the trend in 2011, using textile spills from their collaboration with Lanvin in a collection called, “Waste”. The Swedish retailer is also a world-wide leader in organic cotton usage. The French luxury goods conglomerate PPR – owner of Bottega Veneta, Balenciaga, Puma and many other brands – are also becoming more ecofriendly. Last year, PPR launched a sustainability project for their global brands, including a “Creative Sustainability Lab”, where the luxury giant works in partnership with the guys behind Cradle-to-Cradle. Their goal is to produce less waste and reduce their carbon dioxide emissions. This concept basically means that products need to go from producer to end consumer without the creation of waste. As Matilda Wendelboe said on Swedish Radio in May 2012: ‘The human being is the only animal that produces waste. The notion of waste doesn’t exist in nature.’ So, once and for all, let’s forget the days when ecofriendly fashion was all about stiff, loose-fitting hemp saris or over-sized tunics in dull monochromes. Dressing sustainably today does not mean snubbing fashion – it actually means being fashionable. It’s time to start evaluating our clothing choices when we go shopping, however great a shopping spree makes you feel. Let’s go chasing adrenalin kicks someplace else. Conscious shopping requires both research and time. I know we don’t have a lot of that these days, but it’s like the sign I once read in a gym in Stockholm: ”If you don’t take the time to work out, sooner or later you will have to take the time to be ill.” I don’t want to blow my own horn here. I’m no saint myself. As a fashion journalist and a follower of the latest run-ups from the catwalks, I also have an intimate relationship with my closet. I hereby confess: I get a kick out of shopping. A double-breasted black gabardine coat from Miu Miu can make the dullest day bright, but in a world where fast fashion is big business it’s no longer a choice not to rethink. Maybe I’ll keep my old coat for one more season. Follow Anna on Twitter! Visit her Website.

Anna Blom / Photo by Mikael Schulz

 


  • tioagency

    Thanks Anna for the terrific contribution to the blog.

    • http://twitter.com/ABlom Anna Blom

      Thank you! I hope we
      get to work together again soon. Anna

  • Pingback: Intelligencer Blog | Anna Blom