Eco Fashion At NY Fashion Week? Peek These 5 Possibilities

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New York Fashion Week wrapped up on Thursday, and since then we’ve begun to see the trends and highlights predicted for Fall 2016 rolling out. The looks that graced the runways will influence high fashion and street style alike going forward for the rest of the year, and set the tone for what’s current elsewhere in our culture.

Now since you’re here reading about lowering your environmental impact, it’s likely that you’re already aware of the toll the fashion industry takes on our planet.   Wondering if sustainability and eco fashion had any presence at the show? We’ve got your answer below.

Eco fashion on display

Fast fashion has reigned for decades now, increasing its hold on consumers with each season, and it seems that as soon as a look appears on the runway, the turnover time until that item is available at mainstream (and thus affordable) retail stores is merely the blink of an eye. This is possible simply because manufacturers cut corners with the quality of their product and place significant importance on keeping costs low.  And yet, everyone must get dressed in the morning. Shouldn’t we have the option of choosing stylish clothes to express ourselves and fit into our niche in society?

Here are five trends that emerged during New York Fashion Week and how you can achieve them sustainably.  Hello eco fashion!

1) 1970s vibes

Good news for vintage lovers: The 1970s are back in a big way according to this week’s catwalks. Paying homage to its roots, Lacoste’s collection was created in a vintage color palette and Coach’s ensembles were perfectly reminiscent of a thrift store-style source. Thankfully, this is also great news for the planet. Since wearing second-hand clothing extends the life of a garment (keeping it from the landfills) and prevents the wearer from having to buy new (creating unnecessary waste), throwing it back is the perfect way to cash in on this trend sustainably. Head to your local thrift store and search for vibrant prints and bellbottom jeans to achieve this look.

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With eco fashion in mind, head to your local thrift store and search for vibrant prints and bellbottom jeans to achieve this look.

2) Vivid hues or black/white ensembles

It seems that black and gray have most frequently dominated the runways in the past, so the bright jewel tones and vivid colors that struck the scene this season were definitely notable. That’s not to say that black was forgotten, though. The stark contrast of black and white together was frequently seen, too, in the ensembles by DKNY and others. For these trends, try buying solid-colored, but stylish basics from eco fashion manufacturers that are bold and attention grabbing, but can evolve over time as trends change.

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Try buying solid-colored, but stylish basics from eco fashion manufacturers that are bold and attention grabbing, but can evolve over time as trends change

3) Athleisure

Break out your old high school letter jacket and those track pants you wore once to the gym then guiltily tucked in the back of your drawer so you didn’t have to admit you were never going back. Sports-inspired looks could be spotted in the collections of Perry Ellis, Rag & Bone and Ralph Lauren Polo. Here’s another opportunity for you to re-wear old clothing instead of buying new.

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Eco fashion is easy and fashionable when you re-wear old clothing instead of buying new.

4) Sequins, velvet and lace

All three of these textural elements added interest on the runways this week in looks from Marchesa, Delpozo, Anna Sui and more. You can steal this look by adding sequins, velvet or lace to extend the life of your outdated clothes. Are you sensing a theme here? Rather than buying new and contributing needless waste, a little creativity can renew something you already own (or that you buy second-hand) and it will be completely unique.

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Adding sequins, velvet or lace to extend the life of your outdated clothes.

5) Prints

If you must buy new, though (like if you can’t otherwise find the active prints similar to those seen in the J. Crew collection), stick with eco-friendly fabrics like organic cotton and hemp. You can take it a step further by seeking items made in the U.S.A. Bonus points if your clothing is reversible or if it can be worn in multiple ways. Finding pieces that can be adapted for different situations or styles will again extend the life of your attire.

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Finding pieces that can be adapted for different situations or styles will extend the life of your attire creating eco fashion staples for your wardrobe collection.

When it comes right down to it, just about any look can be achieved sustainably if you examine the lifecycle of its elements. Shopping secondhand with a keen eye, seeking transparent brands and reworking your own tired garments according to recent fashions are the best ways to rock eco fashion and stay on trend this season and going forward.

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Julia Marchand

Julia Marchand

Julia Marchand co-runs a natural food store in rural New Hampshire with her husband and is always looking for new ways to reduce her impact on the earth. She writes about sustainable living for eBay.com, where you can find a number of second-hand T-shirts and other clothing to reuse and repurpose for your own green shopping efforts.
Julia Marchand