Friday, March 03, 2006

The perils of eco-shopping

Being the environmentally friendly and interested person that I like to think of myself as, I have recently been looking through many of the spring/summer 2006 collections for several UK based organic or fairtrade clothing websites. Some of the clothes are beautiful. I would love to be able to invest in some of them, and probably would, except for one small detail.

The colours suck ass.

I am a brunette with hazelish eyes and skin that is definately more yellow toned than pink (think British peaches and cream complexion). It is physically impossible for me to appear attractive in any shade of orange, yellow, beige and most certainly the pastel shade of any hue. I can barely pull off certain shades of pink, but they have to be screaming in your face if they're going to look remotely good on me at all. White is also out, and I sadly look like a washed out fat slug shining in someone's flashlight. And if I see one more pukey shade of sage green, I'll set something on fire. So, due to this, it appears that the only colour available to me this summer through most eco-friendly clothing retailers is not a colour at all. It's black.

Where are the dark greens and blues? Would it kill you to make a burgandy or dark purple (NOT lilac!) top of some kind? I know that the dyes aren't really natural, and that they're less eco-friendly to use and so on, but surely someone has developed something by now?

How do you balance fashion with ethics? How do you make the choice between buying something that a 9 year old in a sweatshop in China made verses something made by someone getting paid a fair wage when, as you look at them, it looks like the difference between wearing something that flatters your figure and helps out your wobbly bits and something that makes you look like a sack?

Eco-friendly clothing has come a huge way in the last several years, and is finally breaking into the mainstream this month with the introduction of a People Tree at TopShop. But until they start to carry things that are going to look good on those of us that have sallow skin and can't wear halter tops, I'm not going to be able to buy most of them. Unless, of course, I only want to wear black.

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