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Musings on Eco Friendly Fashion

March 21, 2011

If you’ve looked at my website, you know by now that I produce headwear with an emphasis on environmental sustainability, a.k.a. Eco-friendly headwear.  I’ve been a nature girl my whole life, and an environmental steward in ever-increasing intensity for around 15 years now.

Producing eco-friendly headwear provides special inspiration which has led to wonderful new creations, as well as challenges that have, on occasion, made me question the wisdom of attempting to produce such a high-maintenance line.  However, my giddy feelings of “bonus points” when I do right by the environment spur me to continue on this path and figure it out as I go, rather than needing to know up front how it will all work.  I just have to trust that it will work out, one way or another.

Last week I stumbled on Gretchen Jones Fall/Winter 2011 line.  Gretchen was the winner of last season’s Project Runway and is an eco-conscious fashion designer.  Gretchen’s take on environmentalism in this Ecouterre article impressed me as it echoes similar sentiments which I’ve expressed before.  I thought some of you might want to read her stance on eco-fashion, especially since sustainability continues to grow as a trend in fashion and many other fields.  (Read the captions beneath the Ecouterre photo gallery for Gretchen’s statements.)

I’ve been saying for a while that environmentalism isn’t black and white – it’s usually a “lesser of two evils” situation where you must make your best decision (hopefully an informed one) and then trust that it will work out (there I go again).  The deeper you get into the environmental movement, the more you learn that everything really is connected and impacts everything else.  The fair trade/fair wage movement is tied to environmentalism for this reason, as are the slow food and slow fashion movements.  I’ve been particularly interested in the role of sustainability in the Arts, and, so far, I haven’t really come up with many good answers.  (It’s also been hard to find other artists to engage in the topic.)  Above all else, I’ve learned that in order to be a good environmental steward, you actually have to let go of perfectionism.  This seems paradoxical but it’s true; the more we indulge perfectionist tendencies among eco-awareness, the less flexible and more militant we’re likely to become.  This goes quite contrary to what nature herself does (go with the flow) and it’s a good principle to learn from nature.


Millinerium Eco-friendly repurposed hat with repurposed scarf trim and repurposed silk flower (with repurposed beadwork center)



I do my best to remain mindful of ways to incorporate eco-friendly elements into my headwear and I feel especially good when I’m able to produce a hat that is almost completely sustainable.  At the end of the day, if I’ve done the best I can to stay eco-friendly while still nurturing my creative vision, I’d say I’ve done pretty well.


Millinerium Eco-friendly cocktail hat using repurposed horsehair crin & vintage faux pearls



Earth Day 2011 approaches once again (April 22).  As the media begins its yearly Earth Day blitz, take a moment to think about how these issues impact you in your work life and at home.  It’s a difficult subject when you get down to it, but it feels good at least to be trying to make a positive difference.

I would love to hear your thoughts – even your rants if you’ve got ’em! – about environmentalism.  I may agree with you, I may not, but simply starting the discussion is truly a great beginning.


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