eco-fashion – what’s gracing our ramps

Submitted by sproutingforth on Wed, 2007-06-20 11:36

pic:pingmagpic:pingmagThere is a new generation of designers in South Africa who are taking the environment seriously. They’re using organic and recycled materials, and keeping their chemical usage and waste to a minimum.

But they’re not exactly front page news…yet. South Africa isn’t on the cutting edge of green, even though we’re becoming a lot more ‘green aware’. It’s such that Woolies can introduce their organic clothing range, using cotton that is only 5% organic, and we all swoon with pleasure (that’s 5% more than we were getting!). I must add that I succumbed to a pair of socks that are 100% organic, and there are also socks made from 100% bamboo!

The ‘No KAK’ fashion show: (don’t you just love the Afrikaans language and its ability to say what you couldn’t say in a million years in English!) designs to save our environment, made a huge impact at the last natural and organic products exhibition . Young designers will again enter environmentally friendly designs this year in support of the growth of a cleaner textile industry in SA – something to look forward to – shows like this can only encourage ethical, eco-friendly design using organic materials.

There are already prominent eco-friendly designers in the country… Craig Jacobs, the designer behind Fundudzi [fundudzi]– a Jo’burg based label that believes that what you wrap around your body should be a reflection of your environmental and social stance – provides clothing with a conscience for women.

All of his clothes are made with organic fabrics, including bamboo, soy and corn and produced in Africa. The range is inspired by Lake Fundudzi, a sacred site for the vhaVenda that is the mythological burial ground of their forefathers.

The hemporium , in Cape Town, and House of Hemp in Jo’burg, both produce hemp fashion items and are doing great things for the promotion of the hemp industry in South Africa. House of Hemp has a number of sassy pairs of shoes, men’s and women’s clothing and accessories.

Hemporium has a range of t-shirts, shirts, blouses and trousers made from 50% hemp and 50% organic cotton. Their main focus is educating people about the benefits of hemp with the goal of promoting the commercial viability of the crop, so that we no longer have to import the fabric.

Carbon d’Afreeque is a series of unique designer bags – sexy clutch, day-trip shopper bags and even laptop sleeves – made from recycled PVC billboard skins - on our high-ways for a while, but live forever in the environment. The company’s main mission is about having what you want without sacrificing the need to look after the planet; in other words, they’re fashion with a conscience; saving the planet one bag at a time. Keep an eye on the site for an exciting giveaway in the pipeline!

Karen Ter Morshuizen and her husband Paul Harris, are behind Lunar – beautiful clothes made with mostly natural and organic fabrics and dying processes – true eco-friendly fashion design. Jo’burg based Karen has persevered since the creation of Lunar with recycling, organic dying and fair trade, aspects which, she feels they are nowhere near where they would like to be, but every step is in the right direction.

The Eco Trend Collection designs and manufactures clothing handcrafted using blends of natural and organic raw materials. The company is affiliated to the organic trade association and subscribes to the principles of fair trade, so they rate high on the eco scale. Their goods are available in Cape Town.

The thread of SA organic and eco fashion doesn’t end there. The online shopping site, Hip & Zen, specialising in sustainable and organic products - the brain child of South African born, Karen Clothier - has introduced its SA Chic collection, using handcrafted fashion accessories and artefacts designed by The Topsy Foundation, thus benefiting women and children with AIDS. She’s roped in Charlize Theron to endorse the brand. All the products are sustainable and fairly traded – truly hip & zen!