Having been raised by a globe-trotting, ahead-of-her-time grandmother, I was exposed to fashion and design from all over the globe at an early age. I can thank my grandmother for my life-long adoration of vintage clothes and fabrics -- some hers, some that I've since found.
Still, vintage togs (or antique, pre-owned, pre-loved, or just plain used), while incredibly eco-friendly for obvious reasons, are not everyone's style. Plenty of my friends love modern, simple clothes made with soft, form-fitting fabrics and unusual colors, and even I enjoy mixing vintage with new. But up until the last year or so, it's been tough to find new clothes that didn't contribute to global environmental degradation: the growing and processing of fibres, and dying of fabrics, leaves a toxic trail, and these processes are especially hard on local fresh water supplies.
So I've been enjoying the new options for vintage and new clothes that align with my eco-correct convictions. Two stores on Orchard Street in the East Village satisfy the used-clothes lovers and the modern fashionistas alike, and BOTH are meccas for greenies. Hairy Mary's, at 149 Orchard St., carries only vintage and refashioned clothes, and Kaight, at 83 Orchard Street, carries only togs made with eco-friendly fabrics like bamboo, Ingeo, organic cotton, soy silk, lyocell, recycled cashmere and alpaca.
Kaight was just featured in The New York Times [in an article also noted in this post on WorldChanging NYC - ed.]. It's the go-to shop if you want to get "luxury eco" from designers like Linda Loudermilk, work-appropriate attire or even going-out dresses like the one in the photograph below.
Kaight is even having a sale right now, so you can check out the wares online. But the nice thing about have eco-fashion actually in these stores is that you can go and try it on -- just like going to your favorite neighborhood boutique.
Hairy Mary's tiny, but color saturated store
One of the 'redesigned' dresses at Hairy Mary's
Hairy Mary's at 149 Orchard Street, is probably the most colorful shop I've ever seen. It's packed with 60's and 70's print shirts, pants and dresses (some of which are creatively refashioned, with contrasting fabric tying dresses in the middle, a flattering style for everyone). The dresses are quirky and comfortable; perfect for wearing with thick cable knit tights or throwing over your all-organic Loomstate jeans if it's cold out.
You'd never know this was all eco-fashion unless you looked at the labels....
This bamboo fiber dress is perfect for flamenco-dancing the winter nights away.