Greener on the Other Side


Style, Naturally
February 6, 2009, 11:28 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

For this week’s post I’d like to take a minute to talk about my boss ladies new book, Style, Naturally: The savvy shopping guide to sustainable fashion & beauty.  While I never imagined reading a book about fashion, sustainable or otherwise, I was pleasantly surprised with the experience.  Style, Naturally (I’m told to say it with a little attitude) is a literary and visual journey through the world of sustainable fashion, but it by no means reads like an essay out of Glamour. Amidst chic photographs and highly aesthetic page layouts, Summer Rayne Oakes adeptly weaves in sensible style advice with interesting elucidation on the method employed to create stylish sustainable clothing.  In result, Style, Naturally is not only the style guide for environmentally minded and fashionable women (v-day gift for mom’s and sisters… giving a book to your girlfriend for valentines day is a surefire way not to get laid) it’s a manifesto of how an industry can “go green.” As per my opening post, going green means finding ways to streamline any industry in the most sustainable and energy efficient way possible.  The sustainable fashion space is a wonderful example of how that can be achieved. As more designers, retailers, and manufacturers shift their attention to sustainable fashion because it is both hip and environmentally responsible, a vertical model is created for other industries to emulate.  Massive designers and retailers (think Hilfiger) will essentially be forced to jump on the green bandwagon and they, more than anyone will represent the tides of change. The Hilfiger’s of the world will create sustainable big business solutions and happily pat themselves on the back for it. It will be the first time an out of touch companies misguided marketing campaign won’t piss me off.  Because if you really think about it, the green movement and in a microcosm the sustainable fashion movement, has accomplished something truly revolutionary.  For the first time since America was corporatized  (it’s a word) a grassroots activist movement has successfully infiltrated its message into the everyday vernacular of the world’s most powerful businesses. Instead of wasting time protesting on the steps of congress, (we beat that horse for a while) the environmental movement tapped the most powerful resource in American society and created a brand. Green is now a marketing strategy. It’s magnificently capitalistic. Using big business to promote a social cause would have probably sounded ridiculous only 20 years ago, but I expect it will be the model moving forward. I don’t know if anyone conceived of this or it just happened, but it’s fucking brilliant.  Companies are already emerging that will monitor business practices and ensure that go green ad campaigns can actually be backed up by green business solutions. This means the Hilfiger’s of the world will have to walk the walk.  So if at first you thought sustainable fashion wasn’t really relevant to your life or the greater green movement, think again. In the midst of a cultural, political, and economic revolution, everything plays it role. 

You can check out Style, Naturally Here or Here 

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2 Comments so far
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Whether Green lifestyles are used to further marketing success in any industry, America’s (and capitalistic) fetishism of commodities will inevitable contradict the meaning of the movement. In my eyes, it already does. I know you’re talking a bit about sustainable fashion, but I think it’s all so interconnected.

I find that the very nature of a capitalistic market is to exploit labor, create needs over well established needs, and develop in such a way that destroys our natural environments, while at the same time help keep afloat a total community of widespread class inequality.

So much so depends on a breakdown of our system, which would essentially call for not only a political and social reformation (maybe with a more efficient model of capitalism, but a new way of thinking. I mean, is any industry green? And what is the popular definition of such a trend?

Everything does play a role, I just tend to think that people spend mounds of extra dough on green products, while continually utilizing the tools and “necessities” of a life that is trying to preach what it doesn’t (and can’t) fully practice. I see labels everywhere now but as it has been said before, especially within the field of sociology, nothing is ever as it seems.

Just some thoughts.

Comment by Amanda Macchia

Thanks Amanda,
The point of the Style, Naturally post was to explain how the green movement is infiltrating capitalism, making them one in the same. If our commodities are green ones, i.e. solar energy instead of coal, then the movement can work within the capitalistic framework. I agree that we can’t simply convince private citizens and businesses to be spend extra moeny on being green, we have to make it ECO-nomically viable. Meaning, create green solutions that are more cost effective for businesses and consumers than what is currently available within the market. The great thing about most green products is that once they are scaled to mass production, they are cost effective.

Comment by adamschw




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