Many people view their clothes as functional, fashionable or both but pay no mind to the means and materials employed to produce their attire. By purchasing clothes and shoes made from natural materials such as cotton, linen, and hemp a person can create less of an impact on the environment. These plants are often grown organically and do not contain chemical additives. They can be broken down by the earth because they are not comprised of man-made fibers.
Second hand clothing is another earth-friendly apparel option. Thrift stores, vintage boutiques, and specialty stores carry pre-worn garments. Some stores also offer the option of new clothing produced from existing fabrics or clothing. Recreated shoes often have soles that are constructed from recycled rubber tires. In the past, fur was considered to be a natural material, however cruelty should not be part of any production of clothing, let alone animal and planet conscious consumers.
The yogic teachings promote a healthy lifestyle and a regard for all living things, including our Earth. By purchasing and wearing natural and recycled materials, yogis fulfill moral and personal duties. During the practice of yoga, the body must be free to practice various asanas, and perform the chin mudra while sitting in the lotus position to meditate. Pranayama should not be hindered by tight or ill fitting man-made fibers. As the body perspires, it should receive air through the clothing, making green garments ideal for yoga practice.
The concept of earth-friendly clothing has existed for decades, but many wearers do not know how to cater to their attire’s care. A general rule is that most garments that have labels reading “Dryclean Only” may be hand washed with mild detergents that are free of phosphates, non-toxic, and biodegradable. Hang your clothes to dry to save energy consumption from your dryer. If you do decide to machine wash green garments, do so in a full laundry load of cold water. Turn your clothes right side in to further maintain the color of the clothing. If you decide to take your attire to a dry cleaners, make sure they use earth-friendly cleansers and techniques.
Mending your garments is equally as important as washing them to upkeep the materials. If you take the time to mend or patch small holes, hem your pants, and re-sew on buttons, your clothing will last longer. This requires less energy and produces less waste than discarding your clothes and buying new pieces. If you do wish to get rid of your clothing, give a friend your hand me downs, donate them to a second hand shop, or find other uses for the material; worn T-shirts make great rags.
Green garments: Cotton, hemp, linen, wool, silk, organic fabrics, recycled materials, handmade items.
Not-so-green garments: Polyester, fur, cheap fabrics that will not withstand regular cleansing, factory produced shoes and clothing.
*Bamboo is considered a green garment when it is produced under certain regulations. The growth of bamboo should not disrupt surrounding plants or create pollution.