The words that describe sustainable design within the garment industry are starting to abound, each laying emphasis on a specific aspect. We read of “green fashion,” “organic fashion,” “eco-fashion,” “sustainable fashion,” “ethical fashion,” etc. So, I ask myself, “In menswear, where are all these fashions?”
A simple google search will show that “organo-men’s” is actually in the early stages of the game, offering an assortment of eco-T’s and other isolated green garments. What we rarely find is an entire sustainable men’s line. Moreover, when we do come across some sort of eco-menswear, we discover that organic materials and ethical processes have been employed only to varying degrees.
What I like to look for is a comprehensive code of conduct, to which all players in the game must adhere. Take, for example, Nudie Jeans, a cutting-edge Swedish producer of green men’s denim. On Nudie’s website, you can find a five-page code of conduct, which covers issues like workers’ hours and safety concerns, employee rights, legal and environmental requirements, child labor, and more.
While green may still be just a color for much of men’s fashion, we all can have a role in sustainability. First of all, the next time you grow tired of your outdated or worn out pair of jeans, don’t throw them in the trash bin. They will just wind up in the local landfill. Donate them to charity, or bring them to a consignment shop. If there is a nearby recycling plant, happily dump them there.
Secondly, become a driving force for a sustainable future. Require companies that describe themselves as environmentally responsible to be also accountable by posting a detailed code of conduct. This will sort out faddish ads from truly sustainable declarations, as it lays a foundation for a vibrant eco-menswear industry.
Photo Copyright by Nudie Jeans.