Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The "Smart. Sustainable. Style." Fall Trend Eco-Fashion List

Ahhhhh, fall. The vibrant leaves, the cool breezes, and best of all, the fashion. What’s that you say? Fall is the furthest thing from your pretty little mind? It's 90 degrees outside and the only way to be comfortable without blasting the AC is to sit around in your underwear sucking on ice cubes? (Just a little FYI: 1/6th of the electricity generated in the U.S. is from air conditioning). Well, hot and sticky weather or not, the fall fashion season is peeking its lovely eyes around the corner. Before you know it, your favorite teeny weeny organic bikini will be shoved in the back of your dresser drawer only to be replaced by sweaters and jackets and thick socks and tear-producing winter winds coupled with bleak gray skies and mounds of dirt-encrusted snow and... Sorry. The vision of last winter here in Chicago caused our entire office to experience a collective panic attack. Breath in, breath out. In, out. Okay. We're back. Fall fashion. Yes.

Here at Mountains of the Moon, we're all a little obsessed with fashion (duh), and there is something especially exciting about fall clothing. For me, there is little out there that invokes creativity and artistic urges like playing with layers and mixing up different textures and cuts, and fall clothing allows for that sort of imaginative experimentation so much more than spring. I also get all giddy about trying out the fresh trends that come with a new season, and this season is no exception. But with the very concept of the word “trend” implying something that is in style for only a short period of time (read: disposable), how does an eco-fashionista justify indulging in the latest styles without committing eco-sins?

Behold the “Smart. Sustainable. Style” Fall Trend Eco-Fashion List. This list will inspire fashion-lovers everywhere this fall, as it is taped to full-length mirrors and closet doors around world, acting as a beacon of ideas and reflections on how to experience the pure bliss of fall fashion trends whilst (yes, whilst) being conscious of our precious mother earth. A bold assumption, I know. But trust me, it’s the first thing to which I’ll be referring when I start drooling over the September issue of Vogue in all its $2000 per pair of couture fall tights glory.

1. Fall Trend: The 1920’s. From Diane von Furstenberg to Betsey Johnson, the biggest designers showed 20s-inspired flapper shifts, feathered skirts and vampy pieces fit for the smokiest of the roaring era’s jazz clubs on the fall runways.

Eco-Solution: Thrift stores and vintage shops = the ultimate in recycling. Retro trends are always great because they are, obvi, inspired by trends of the past, which means fun with vintage. It might be slightly more difficult to find a fringed flapper number at your local Good Will than at a fancy vintage boutique, but it’s easier than you think to find a great piece for next-to-nothing that incorporates the trend in one way or another. If all else fails, try a loose-fitting, strapless dress without a defined waist (either one in your closet or from a thrift store), and add a little fringe around the hem or some beading to the neckline. Think a dash of 20’s spice with a modern twist (vs. a trashy Halloween costume made in an overseas sweatshop).

Side note: For all you grunge lovers, plaid is another “retro” trend making a huge comeback this fall. I’ll bet you your original copy of “Nevermind” - on cassette - that you can find plaid plaid plaid galore at just about any Good Will or thrift store. Try a skinny belt around your waist on top of a plaid button-up shirt for a more current look.

2. Fall Trend: Non-traditional Colors. Unlike the earth-tones and dark shades we usually see for fall, this season mixes things up with jewel tones and both lighter and brighter colors often only reserved for spring. Mountains of the Moon’s Fall Collection features colors like ochre, rust and cream that are usually considered spring tones, and couples them with deeper shades like dark plum, shitake, twilight blue, and of course, fall’s staple color, classic black.

Mixing spring/summer wardrobe pieces with new fall looks. With bolder colors being the big thing this fall, try layering some of your summer pieces with warmer fall designs for a very on-trend ensemble. This not only allows for creative fashion fun, it also prevents one from being environmentally wasteful. Who needs to spend their entire September paycheck on a brand new fall wardrobe when you can choose a few key pieces for fall and make them even more fabulous by mixing them with pieces you already own from summer? Remember kids, mama earth likes it when you reuse.

3. Fall Trend: Baggy Pants. Slouchy, wide-leg, high-waist pants absolutely dominated the fall runways. The wider silhouette of this season’s pants make the waist look smaller (we likey) and are also more comfortable than their skinnier cousins. The more avant-garde designs with MC Hammer-like dropped crotches and tapered bottoms aren’t for me, but the more subdued versions with flattering wide legs and slight pleats (think flowing and sophisticated, not “mom jeans”) look incredible with a fitted top and over-sized sweater.

Eco-Solution: Go for the “less is more” look. With any extreme fashion trend, the more outrageous the design, the more likely the fad to burn out quickly. Choose a piece that embodies the trend in a subtle way, so that you can wear it for many seasons, rather than going for the excessive and only wearing the piece a few times. Re-wearable= good. Disposable = bad.

We at Mountains of the Moon never like to be ones to toot our own eco-horns, but we have a major crush on our new Sophie Pants for fall. With a semi-wide leg and a slightly higher waist than our other pants, this design features everything we like about the baggy pant trend and leaves out the stuff we don’t (sorry, but we don’t do harem pants). We went for subtlety but still threw in a lil' of the fashion-forwardness so that we can be sure to wear these eco-trousers for years to come.

Bonus: sustainable hemp/tencel fabric, eco-friendly bamboo button, made sweatshop-free in the USA. Coming this September to an eco-boutique near you. (Don't let this simple sketch from our line sheets fool ya. These babies are to die for).

4. Fall Trend: Eco-Friendly Designs. Eco-fashion has been making its way onto the runways for the past several seasons, but fall ’08 marks its biggest presence ever, with Calvin Klein, Stella McCartney, Versace, Givenchy, Narciso Rodriguez and many other top designers incorporating sustainability into their collections.

Eco-Solution: Read the labels. Wait a second. Eco-friendly style needs an eco-solution? When did things become so complicated? Unfortunately, just like in the movies, even your favorite superhero (let’s call her “Eco-Fashion”) must fight to overcome the obstacles of the evil villain (let’s call her “Green Washing.”). The popularity of being green, despite its wonderful intentions, has created new challenges, as some companies (including some clothing lines and designers) play on the eco-trend in order to market themselves to the eco-conscious consumer. As excited as I get when I hear of a designer or label coming out with a new eco-collection or (finally!) incorporating sustainable fabrics into their designs, part of me has to wonder: Why didn’t they ever consider the environment in their fashions before it became the “in” thing to do?

Fortunately, there is a surefire way to ensure that the sexy new eco-fabulous dress you’ve been eyeing for fall is indeed truly sustainable: read the labels. Under fabric content, look for earth-friendly fabrics like “organic cotton,” “hemp,” “tencel, etc.” Then check that label again to see where the garment was made. I’m big on clothing lines that are made here in the USA, rather than those that are made overseas (transporting clothing lines – or any products - internationally creates a HUGE carbon footprint). If the garment isn’t made in the USA (or made locally, in your country), make sure that it is fair trade and sweatshop-free (truly eco-friendly fashion is human and animal friendly too). And after you read those labels, ask questions. The designer or boutique owner should easily (and happily) be able to answer you when you ask with a merry twinkle in your eye: “were these gorrrrrrgeous eco-friendly autumn pants that I am so incredibly close to buying dyed with low-impact dyes?”

It's as simple as the cool autumn breeze. Just keep these ideas in mind when you do your own personal eco-zation of the hottest fashion trends this fall, and not only will you look fabulous dahhhling, you can also brag all autumn long about how “smart, sustainable and stylish” you truly are – and be able to back to up. Got ideas of your own on how to make fall fashion trends more sustainable? We’d love to hear about them.

See you soon, Mr. Autumn. For now, I'm going to relish in the hot, sticky air and lemony sunshine before it’s just a sweet, sweet memory.


jenifer said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Melissa @ Mountains of the Moon said...

Dearest "Jenifer," please do not post ads for coupon websites on our blog. Spam will be deleted. Kisses!

Anonymous said...

Hi! I love your Eco-skepticism and Eco-integrity! Very informative...

Love your blog! I added you to ours!

Best eco-wishes!