Monday, August 4, 2008

Have You Turned Your Green Corner?

I hate to admit it, but a lot of very famous people hang out in my closet: Manolo Blahnik, Calvin Klein, and even Donna Karan (although she’s been relegated to the very back, behind my college crew jacket). The sad truth is that I used to be more impressed with the designer name on one label than the materials listed on the other.

Recently, I learned just how much I’ve changed.

After visiting our local Farmers’ Market on Saturday, Mark and I drove home through Kittery, Maine, which is the location of the country’s first big outlet center. “Did you see that?” I asked as we passed what used to be vacant space. “I sure did,” Mark answered, turning the car around.

It was a Burberry Clearance Center. We walked in to find a large sign indicating everything in the store was 30% off the (very low) lowest price. The first thing I picked up was a signature Burberry scarf: With the discount, it was $14.

A few years ago, I would have put several in my cart and given them away as holiday gifts. But I didn’t want to put this scarf around my neck and I didn’t want to give it to others because it wasn’t made of organic or sustainable materials. In other words, I wasn’t at all impressed.

I circled the store, looking at the labels, and didn’t find one thing I wanted. Neither did Mark. As we walked out, Mark said, “We’ve come a long way.” Later that day, I visited the Gaiam website, checking out Fair Trade items, and found their Silvia Scarf.

Here’s how they describe it: “Add featherweight warmth to a sleeveless dress or yoga top with our 100% silk organza scarf. Handmade by women weavers in remote Cambodian villages and through the aid of a fair trade company, this small business venture hopes to erase the ever-present risk of human trafficking, violence and abuse in Cambodia. From Hagar, a fair trade group.”

And, get this, the scarf costs $14 . . . the same price as the Burberry scarf. Talk about closing a toxic door and opening an eco-friendly window.

Question of the blog: Are you switching over your conventional wardrobe to a green wardrobe in one fell swoop or are you adding pieces as you go?

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