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  • Ethical Fashion Part 4: Fashion for the Environment

    “In many yoga poses we imitate earth elements - mountain, tree and all the many animal poses, and we learn from embodying these elements. Yoga practice ultimately brings us into greater awareness of our place in connection with all of life. Over time this extends off the mat—we begin to recognize that every choice we make affects the world in a meaningful way. We begin to notice. One of the things we notice is that the clothes we are wearing are almost all harmful to the environment in surprisingly extreme ways.“  -Shannon Thomas, OWY Co-Owner 

    Shannon in bound half-lotus tree-pose variation.  Pictured in Synergy Clothing and Vivobarefoot boots.

    The clothing industry has one of the highest impacts on the planet. High pesticide, petroleum and water usage, pollution from chemical treatments used in dyeing and the disposal of over 20 billion pounds of textiles per year are some of the environmental hazards of mainstream fashion. 

    A transition to eco-conscious fashion begins by answering these questions:

    What is it made of? 
    We’re encouraged to wear cotton clothing because it is natural and comfortable—the fabric of our lives. However, a staggering amount of chemicals are used to produce and sell cotton clothes. More than 35% of the world’s insecticides and pesticides, along with a significant amount of the world’s water and petroleum are used to make non-organic cotton. 

    Worse yet, toxins used to make all non-organic textiles are washed into the earth’s fresh water supply and end up in our bodies, wildlife and plants—all over the planet. 

    How is it made? 
    Aside from the amazing range of colors that compliment and inspire, little thought is given to the dyeing process. Most dyes used in mainstream clothing are highly toxic and have a low-absorption rate, requiring increased amounts of water usage. 

    Where will it go? 
    We can invest in ethical fashion, in more than one way - we can purchase used and up-cycled clothing, or insist on shopping for quality, environmentally conscious clothing which almost always outlive our passion for wearing them.  Once quality clothing has lived its useful Fashion life, we are able to re-purpose it and feel confident passing along items we no longer need. Ethical fashion rarely ends up in the 20 billion pound pile of textiles that are disposed of each year.  

    “We believe that the practice and the planet are intertwined. To honor one, we honor both.” –Manduka 

    Through our practice, we connect with the world and start to recognize that every choice we make affects the world in a variety of ways. We begin to notice. We recycle and reuse, drive hybrid cars, install renewable energy utilities, eat less meat. Despite our best efforts to honor the earth and reduce our carbon footprint, our problem with consumption remains. 

    At Open Way Yoga, we want to make it easy for you to make this meaningful change!  We provide clothing options that are gentle to the environment; we offer up-cycled items, as well as eco-conscious lines like Synergy, Green Apple and Manduka

    Honoring the planet is part of our practice.  Come practice with us!

    by Elisabeth Sowecke

    Part 1 of 5:  Introduction to Ethical Fashion: What and Why
    Part 2 of 5:  Ethical Fashion Part 2:  Eco-Fashion for the Body
    Part 3 of 5:  Ethical Fashion Part 3:  Fashion for Humanity