Category Archives: the history of eco fashion

Eco fashion today

So what is the state of eco fashion today?

At last … Today’s high eco fashion has said goodbye to its cotton bag image. Green fashion can finally be up-to-date, trendy and ecologically and socially responsible at the same time… Fairs have contributed largely to this development like the Ethical Fashion Show Berlin for example

and the Green Showroom

These fairs take place twice a year as part of the Berlin Fashion Week and are firmly established there. They allow established and new sustainable labels for high end fashion and accessories to present themselves.

We can finally say that some things are about to be change in our society … a new way of thinking is coming about. In this day and age sustainability and fair trade have become standard topics present in our minds. Media reports on the conditions at production sites and the exploitation of workers in countries with a low-wage economy add to the fact that consumers cannot turn a blind eye to such ills anymore. By now many consumers have changed their way of thinking in such way that they focus on ecological questions. But we cannot stop there… We now have to act! The inhumane working conditions in countries with cheap labour economies and the irresponsible treatment of the environment are not the only issues. The health risks, that result from the use of chemicals and that we are exposed to as consumers, should really make us think and get into alternative buying habits! Thanks to the “green fashion wave” there are alternatives, just look around  :)

We at EARTHBACK wish our society and the coming generations that sustainability will become more and more part of our everyday lives – everyone needs to get up to make this happen. Everyone can get involved to prevent our planet from being ruined by industry and instead help preserve the living environment of animals and a balanced ecosystem – and all this while everyone can still be well-dressed and look great ;-)

Join the fashion revolution…


The year 2000 – The LOHAS

…and then the LOHAS came along… and the phase of high eco fashion

Who are the LOHAS actually? Some of you might have heard about the LOHAS. The LOHAS (Lifestyle of Health and Sustainability) are a lifestyle group also called neo ecos. They do want to be fashionable and trendy but they are also conscious of values such as solidarity and social responsibility. Since the year 2000 ecological fashion that is also fashionable and stylish has been constantly growing within the fashion industry. The LOHAS especially feel committed to buying fair goods… as a moral and ethical duty.

As a result the grey clouds surrounding the bleak image of eco fashion have slowly but surely been dispersed from the fashion sky… This period of “high eco fashion” has attracted so many young designers as never seen before. Their products are ecologically produced and conform to ethical and moral standards.

The difference between this phase and earlier attempts of the eco fashion movement is the design… It follows the latest trends. But it is not only new young designers who follow principles of fair trade and sustainability when producing their collection. “Old hands” in the fashion industry or indeed well-known high fashion designers are changing their opinions.

And fortunately we can say that more and more people get on board the “green” movement, inspired by those who dare… Your EARTHBACK team



The 90s

The development of ecological fashion goes on… the second wave of eco fashion…

During this phase terms like “green luxury” and “welfare light” characterized the view that ecology should be enjoyed. On one hand ecology was seen as something that should show exclusiveness but on the other hand it was also regarded as a chance to be different… to stand out from the crowd.

During this period, the so-called “eco goes fashion” phase, the textile industry addressed the issue of ecology. The aim was to adapt the value chain of clothing items to the demands of an ecologically produced piece of clothing – that means from the cultivation of the material to the finished product. The problem was that functional and ecological aspects were not enough reasons for the potential consumer to purchase a piece… The image of the still omnipresent “sloppy-looking eco style” hovered over this eco fashion movement like grey clouds. So this phase represented rather an ecological wave than a shift towards a greener industry .

A historically significant event outside the fashion sector was the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. There the Agenda 21 was passed by 178 states – a model for sustainable development. This model aims to satisfy the needs of today’s generation by means of changed economic, environmental and development policies without damaging the chances of future generations. If we think about the fact that this conference was held 21 years ago and if we consider the ongoing and never-ending issues regarding factory fires in countries with low-wage economies, child labour, inhumane working conditions, exploitation of farmers etc., we should critically think  about what will happen to our planet  and our society within the next 21 years…

…these are the things we think about at EARTHBACK and we want to make this earth a better place again, for everyone!

The history of eco fashion

The historic development of ecological fashion began decades ago… or indeed even further back.

In the ancient world people had to rely on the materials found in nature. Consequently materials such as wool or cotton were used exclusively before linen, hemp and nettle fabrics arrived in the Middle Ages. When synthetic materials emerged these natural materials took a backseat in the 20th century. However, in the 80s parts of society took a political stand against the fundamental principles and the system of fashion and formed an environmental movement against excessive consumerism. How did this show!? That is the question now. It showed for example in the typical “sloppy-looking eco style”. Natural materials were “in”, figure-hugging designs were “out” :) . “Eco” was seen as an alternative lifestyle and was practiced in any shape or form.

Even at that time one fashion icon played a leading role and brought political awareness to the fashion industry: Katharine E. Hamnett. Her politically inspired protest T-shirts brought attention to social ills: “58% don’t want Pershing” (against the deployment of Pershing missiles in Britain) or “save the whales” were issues of the time that she referred to in the designs of her t-shirts.

Some people might ask how loud and provocative you are allowed to be in order to create attention… but the grand dame of the ethical fashion wave is also heavily involved in today’s eco fashion movement and successfully makes statements with her meaningful slogan T-shirts.


Katharine E. Hamnett visits the former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (1984)