Left two: Looks from the Stella McCartney Autumn Winter 2014 show. Right: Designer Stella McCartney does not use leather or fur in her designs. Credit: Showbit

Green is the new black: Eco-friendly or sustainable fashion has been the rage for the past few seasons and we don’t think it’s going out of style anytime soon. What’s there not to like about fashion that’s chic and good for the earth?

But how much do you know about this eco-friendly fashion movement? Learn more with us about eco-fashion and four eco-friendly brands every fashionista should know.

What is Eco-fashion?
The Oxford dictionary of English defines eco-fashion as “clothing and other goods produced by methods that are not harmful to the environment.”

This includes clothes that are:
• Made using organic raw materials without the use of pesticides
• Made from recycled materials
• Made without harmful chemicals like dyes and bleaches
• Made under conditions where workers are treated fairly and paid a fair wage for their efforts

Sounds rather dry, no? Well, to put it all in perspective: According to non-profit organisation Earth Pledge, at least 8,000 chemicals are used to turn raw materials into textiles and 25 per cent of the world’s pesticides are used to grow non-organic cotton. Mind you, that’s before the raw materials are made into fashion pieces!

Stella McCartney is all about sustainability
Many designers are taking the concept of eco-friendly fashion very seriously. Take Stella McCartney for instance. The British designer is one of the first to embrace sustainable practices for her label. All her stores and offices in the UK are powered by renewable wind energy and her refusal to use leather or fur in her designs is also well-known in the industry. On top of that, organic cotton and recycled textiles are used in the production of her collections.

Edun is all about fair employment practices

Looks from the Edun Autumn Winter 2014 show. Credit: Showbit

U2 frontman Bono and his wife Ali Hewson decided to take matters in their own hands when they started Edun (which is Nude spelt backwards) back in 2005. The couple wanted to bring about positive change in Africa by showing that it is possible to make a profit even when paying fair wages and relying on local raw material processed and manufactured in one place, from start to finish.

Edun is building long-term plans for sustainable fashion in Africa by supporting the nation’s manufacturers, infrastructure and community building initiatives. In 2007, the diffusion line Edun Live – a T-shirt line 100 percent grown and sewn in Africa – was launched. The next year, the brand established the Conservation Cotton Initiative Uganda, which provides funding, training and enterprise support in Northern Uganda.

The Green Carpet Challenge is all about sustainable red carpet style

Colin and Livia Firth at the Centrepoint Winter Whites Gala. The Green Carpet Challenge Creative Director was wearing a necklace from the Green Carpet Collection composed of 144 pear-cut diamonds set on 18-carat white gold. Credit: Chopard

Spearheaded by Livia Firth (wife of British actor Colin Firth), the Green Carpet Challenge (GCC) project works with designers and brands to promote sustainability at high profile events like the Golden Globes and Academy Awards. The GCC project has worked with Gucci for a line of handbags made with legally and ethically produced Brazilian cowhides; this bag-making process is also said to cause zero deforestation in the Amazon. The project has also helped launched Chopard’s philanthropic relationship with the Alliance for Responsible Mining and also the jeweller’s use of fair mined and responsibly sourced precious metals and gems.

Levi’s is all about saving water

An infographic showing how much less water has been saved in the production of the Water<Less jeans

The denim giant launched the Water<Less jeans collection back in 2011. 100 percent recycled water is used in making these jeans and the brand is also said to have cut down its water usage by 96 percent in the finishing process, which creates the different colour washes. To date, the Water<Less collection has saved over 770 million litres of water. And to put everything in perspective, that’s the equivalent of 308 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

Stay tuned for our exclusive interview with H&M’s Head of Fashion and Sustainability Communication for H&M!