When I walk into my favorite store and spot a nice pair of jeans, I basically begin considering the color, the style, the fit, the texture, the price, and any available discount of the garment. I rarely question much else. How about you?

Recent popularity of green technologies and practices has flooded us with new buzz words that we hear and read everyday: “green fashion,” “eco-fashion,” “organic fashion,” “ethical fashion,” and more. So what’s going on? These are all categories within the fast-growing trend of sustainable design, which deals with the total life cycle of a product–from crops to catwalks.

Evidently, sustainable design is rearing its head not only in the energy sector but in the fashion industry, as well. More and more designers, manufacturers, and shoppers are becoming increasingly aware of the environmental, economic, and social impact of that ‘simple’ pair of jeans. They are asking questions concerning the harmful pesticides or insecticides used on the raw materials, the chemicals applied in the production, the work conditions in the factories, the salaries and hours of the workers, or the means of transportation.

Within the past several years, fashion shows and style magazines have even begun featuring more eco-collections. But I must ask, “How many green garments do we really have in our wardrobe?” One major problem is cost!

Especially during these economic times, many men are in search of a good bargain, which, in turn, allows us to buy even more clothes. So how do lower costs affect the industry? Longer worker hours. Lower salaries. Unsafe conditions. Unfair competition. These are just few examples. But there is a bright side too!

We may not all be wearing biodegradable clothes by 2010, yet the situation is changing. Green initiatives are sprouting all over the world, and in the following issue we will discuss how each of us can be involved. Meanwhile, the next time you walk into your favorite store and spot a cool pair of jeans, simply look at the label and start asking yourself a few more questions.

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