Eco-friendly fashion in Vail Valley |

Eco-friendly fashion in Vail Valley

Laura A. Ballnewsroom@vaildaily.comEagle County CO, Colorado
Special to the DailyThere are more than 250 brands in the U.S. using organic cotton. Among them, Patagonia, which converted its entire cotton line to organic in 1994 in just 18 months. Nike set a goal of using organic fibers for at least five percent of its cotton-based garments by 2010. That accounts for approximately 5 million pounds of organic cotton a year.Locally, Ptarmigan Sports in Edwards, The Bag & Pack Shop in Vail and Avon and Everyday Outfitters in Eagle all carry Patagonia.

Editors Note: Laura A. Ball is a former Vail Daily High Life Writer and fashion columnist. She now resides in Brooklyn, where she observes New Yorkers and especially what they wear. The East Coast fashion scene is taking a turn for the eco-chic. During New Yorks most recent Fashion Week, designers such as Oscar De La Renta and Proenza Shouler showed eco-friendly fashion using only fabrics that were renewable, reusable or generated less pollution than conventional material.If you compare the organic items in my refrigerator to those in my closet, my refrigerator wins by a landslide. Ive made the jump to organic food, beauty products, cleaning supplies, linens, even stationery. Why not clothes?As far as my wardrobe is concerned, I told myself, its not easy being green. I thought the commitment would mean sacrificing style, comfort and cash.I challenged myself to do the research so that I could be an informed fashionista and found that while my shopping choices may be limited, I could be stylish and green. I also discovered that donning organic apparel was not only more comfortable but made me feel great on the inside as I knowingly supported the environment. Eco-friendly clothing can sometimes be more costly, but perhaps that just reinforces consuming consciously. Here are some of the questions I had about going eco-chic:Why care about what you wear?From the destruction of ecosystems through cotton pesticides to the abuse of children in foreign sweatshops, what we buy, sell, design, or manufacture has a massive ripple effect on society and nature.What is organic farming?Organic refers to the way fibers to make our clothing (including cotton, hemp, corn, bamboo, soy) are grown and processed. In organic farming, composted manures and cover crops replace synthetic fertilizers; innovative weeding strategies are used instead of herbicides; beneficial insects and trap crops control insect pests; and alternatives to toxic defoliants prepare plants for harvest. The use of genetic engineering, sewage sludge, cloning and irradiation are prohibited in organic production and processing. Organic cultivation requires managing and preserving the sensitive ecosystem as opposed to stripping the land of its resources as conventional farming does.What does eco-friendly clothing actually mean?The production of eco-friendly clothing employs a variety of responsible practices, including: using eco-friendly, sustainable materials; employing energy efficient and low-impact production; investing in renewable energy and carbon offsets; and maximizing recycling and waste reduction. In addition to these practices, conscious clothing manufacturers engage in fair trade, support organic agriculture, sweat-shop free production, and various environmental non-profit groups through in-kind and financial donation.Have a fashion question you need answered? E-mail

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