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Green Garment & Furnishing-Care What You Wear


The nutritional facts label was required by the Food and Drug Administration on most packaged food products by May 1994. Even with the standardization of the food label, it can be challenging to comprehend the ingredient list, especially with processed foods when the list is sometimes a paragraph long and sounds more like items to perform a lab experiment then tonight's dinner. Why attempt to be educated about clothing labels when the art of food label comprehension is still shrouded in mystery? Some times when we view the broader scope of the scene we are living within, we open to the context of what is occurring. With the technical ability to replicate nature, we educate ourselves in order to buy consciously.

Let's ask the question "Is it important to care what you wear"? The caring would lead us into the exploration of ‘ethical fashion' and what issues it addresses. Ethical fashion explores topics like: Environmental damage that can result from growing crops aimed at supplying the textile industry; the extent of the hazardous chemicals it takes to turn crop into clothing; environmental impact of the waste generated from the textile industry such as water pollution; animal cruelty; the potential toxicity to our bodies when we wear ‘artificial' items. We will explore some of these areas over the next months in our green clothing blog. First - the origin of fibers.

Fiber Origin

Natural fibers originate from plants, animals or insects. Plant fibers include crops like: hemp, cotton, flax. Common animal fibers include wool and fur while the insect category is our silk source. Let's distinguish the difference between natural and organic. Natural fiber clothing refers to those fibers (plants) found in nature, while organic clothing means more. Organic clothing means that the crop wasn't grown nor manufactured with toxic chemicals.

Manufactured fibers are either synthetic or regenerated fibers. Synthetic fibers are those cooked up in labs and made primarily from chemicals. Petroleum based synthetic fiber examples are polyester and nylon. Regenerated fabrics have either a protein or cellulose base that is transformed into fiber using an extensive chemical process. Regenerated fibers from cellulose bases are fibers like bamboo, rayon, lyocell/Tencel (one of the newest regenerated fibers). The cellulose comes from tree wood or the inner pith and leaves of the bamboo plant. The protein base for fiber is from soy, protein or peanuts.

To further your reading: www.organicexchange.org, www.organicclothing.blogs.com, www.ota.com

Camey Jenson‘s background in finance and as a CPA allowed her to gain experience in many different industries. Her passion & interests have led her away from the corporate environment toward ways of being in the world that are more sustainable. She owns www.greenearthwear.com