S.F. store owner promotes eco-fashion

Joslin Van Arsdale, the owner of Eco Citizen, an 18-month-old high-end fashion store in San Francisco that uses fair-trade labor and environmental standards, will join a panel discussion on “eco-fashion” today at the Commonwealth Club.

What is eco-fashion? For me, it’s a practice of business and fashion that takes into account people and the planet. It includes sweatshop-free, fair-trade labor and the second part is the materials used.

What materials are environmentally friendly? Anything from organic cotton to bamboo, lyocell, recycled cotton and hemp.

What’s unfriendly about traditional cotton? Traditional cotton uses pesticides, which therefore poison both the earth and the people that pick it up.

What are eco-fashion’s limitations? The main limitation for designers is the amount of eco-friendly textiles that are available. Nothing’s 100 percent “eco,” so it’s very much a best-you-can-do approach.

Is eco-fashion rising in popularity? It’s definitely taking off. Since I started, there have been three other boutiques in town that have opened up. The price of organic cotton has gone up because demand is higher than supply.

Is eco-fashion stronger in the Bay Area than other places? Yes. I moved here to start my business because it’s the center of the green movement.

 

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