Eco Fashion 101, Part One: What’s Green, Anyway?

Eco Fashion 101, Part One: What’s Green, Anyway?

There are a lot of words being thrown around when it comes to green fashion. But green isn’t a label or a certification; it’s a state of mind that, to me, means a product is sustainably produced using environmentally and socially conscious means.

According to a definition by the United National General Assembly in 1987,“sustainability” means that something “meets the needs of the present, without undermining future generations to meet their needs.”

But when it comes to your closet, “green” can mean different things to different people:

  • Fair trade is the sustainable business practice of manufacturing goods in economically disadvantaged areas in order to alleviate poverty, reduce inequality and provide opportunities for farmers and artisans.
  • Vegan products contain no animal materials, but they aren’t organic unless they say so.
  • USDA Certified Organic and EcoCert products contain at least 95 percent organically grown materials; the latter is certified by an independent European agency, not the USDA.
  • The word organic simply means it comes from formerly living—i.e. plant or animal—material; it certainly doesn’t mean “good for you.” If you want to get technical, “organic” is defined by the Random House Dictionary as “noting or pertaining to a class of chemical compounds that formerly comprised only those existing in or derived from plants or animals, but that now includes all other compounds of carbon.” Think oil. Organic, yes. USDA certified organic, no.


Rachel Lincoln Sarnoff

Rachel Lincoln Sarnoff is the founder of She is a green home consultant, sharing sustainable living and parenting advice on Twitter @rachellsarnoff, on her blog Mommy Greenest and on YouTube

Note: This Perspectives Blog post is written by a guest blogger of The opinions expressed on this post do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Dr. Greene or, and as such we are not responsible for the accuracy of the information supplied. View the license for this post.

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