Posts by Topic
I blog about sustainable fashion, earth-friendly fibers like hemp and Tencel, capsule wardrobes, travel wear, and related subjects.
Those of us who seek out organic foods have been dismayed by recent attempts to weaken certification standards. We’re concerned that the very word “organic” will follow the path of “natural” and “green,” ultimately becoming meaningless.
A similar problem exists where clothing textiles are concerned. Some fibers touted as eco-friendly, such as rayon made from bamboo, are actually destructive to the environment. The problem isn’t the bamboo itself, which grows quickly and naturally and can re-grow from its roots after harvest. But the industrial processes and chemicals used to break down and soften the bamboo fiber pollute groundwater and rivers.
Sympatico's hemp/Tencel fabric is sustainably made and earth-friendly. The Vintage Rose shade is achieved with low-impact dyes. Clockwise from top: Trapeze Tunic with Stovepipe Pants in Bayleaf; Tuxedo Top; Princess Top.
But what about organic clothes made of other fibers such as organic cotton or linen? If you take the trouble to seek out natural fibers and sustainably produced textiles, you already know how comfortable, healthy, and elegant they make you feel. Why do organic clothes feel so good? The standards for organic crops may change, but the sensation of naturally grown materials is undeniable. Natural fibers, grown without pesticides and herbicides, let your body breathe without adding pollutants to your world.
Most organic clothes can be laundered using cold water and air drying, minimizing their environmental impact throughout their life. And unlike synthetics, they don’t shed microfibers into our water with every laundering.
The hemp content in Sympatico’s hemp/Tencel fabric blend makes it awesomely durable, resulting in a very low cost-per-wearing. As I blogged recently, industrial hemp was legalized under federal U.S. law at the end of 2018. Previously, there wasn't a clear path to certifying industrial hemp as organic in the U.S. It’s likely organic standards will become more commonplace, given the boom hemp is currently experiencing.
Learn more: What's so great about Tencel (and hemp)!
In the meantime, you can feel good about choosing hemp. It not only feels good on your body, hemp agriculture is actually good for the earth. Unlike conventional cotton that receives copious quantities of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, hemp is grown with neither. Hemp requires much less water than cotton too. Blended with the sustainably grown and produced Tencel fiber in Sympatico’s fabric, hemp imparts antimicrobial protection and toughness that shrugs off countless washings.
The Tencel fiber used in Sympatico clothing is also produced sustainably in a closed-loop system that safely removes organic compounds used in processing. These compounds are neutralized in an algae-based process that recaptures virtually all potential toxins.
For now, it's safe to invest in those natural fibers that are grown and processed with the least amount of disruption and toxicity to our environment. The hemp and Tencel in Sympatico fabric meet that criterion well. Tencel is produced from sustainably farmed Eucalyptus trees while hemp is also grown without toxic chemicals.
A well chosen skirt or two can make terrific travel wear or become essential elements in your capsule wardrobe at home.If you read this blog regularly, you know that I’m a big fan of casual skirts for travel. In fact, I recently put up a Pinterest travel clothing board here to help spread the word [...]
I use an earth-friendly hemp and Tencel fabric and low-impact dyes to create the Princess Top in Turmeric and Cropped Pants in Bayleaf.The question still comes up regularly: exactly what’s involved in the creation of ethical clothes? And that’s a fair question—so many “green” terms are bandied about in the name of marketing and, worse, greenwashing. For the conscious [...]
Mandalay. I love how the syllables tumble effortlessly from our lips. When I was a kid, it was the royal capital of the country then known as Burma, and usually now called Myanmar. It has always seemed an unimaginably exotic place. Today, Mandalay is still considered the cultural and academic hub of Upper Burma. It's [...]
Long before sustainable clothing was a thing, Claire McCardell was reinventing how we dressOn a hot summer’s day in August 1938, the American fashion world was about to be set on its ear. The story goes that an unheralded designer named Claire McCardell had worn a simple woolen dress that day to her job at [...]
Why hemp clothing? Because it fells good on your body and it’s good for the earth.When the 2018 Farm Bill was passed by the US congress late last year, you might have expected hemp advocates to breathe a deep sigh of relief. After all, for the first time at the federal level, the bill differentiated [...]
Making hemp clothing for women has given me a keen appreciation of how we can age gracefully and stay relevant It’s official. Mature women are now a big deal. Wherever you look, politics, the arts, sciences, technology, education: older women aren’t merely becoming visible, they are taking leadership roles. A recent New York Times story [...]
Eco-friendly clothing made with natural fibers offers a solution to the pollution of micro-fibersThe outdoor apparel maker Patagonia along with other industry partners have commissioned a study to better understand how microfiber pollution happens. These tiny plastic particles are shed every time synthetic textiles are laundered. While many people associate plastic pollution with plastic bottles [...]
I spent January in Jogjakarta, Indonesia, and it proved a perfect chance to put some of the tips that have appeared in Travel Tales posts to a(nother) real-world test. Teeming and tropical, “Jogja,” as the locals call it, is the cultural heart of Java. It’s also home to my daughter and her husband who love [...]
2018 is under our belt and a new year is upon us with all its potential for change — and I'm excited!Taking a midwinter break can be a rewarding respite — a time to recharge, refocus and reflect on the things that matter most. I’ll be in Asia exploring textiles during January and will handle [...]