Let’s face it, eco-friendly clothing is hard to come by in the Middle East. Desire to own the top brand names at whatever financial cost often trumps planetary-consciousness, so there’s little incentive for designers to go green. But for those who still want to look their best without hurting the earth, there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Whether you prefer lightly-used clothing that won’t bust your budget or want to invest in a one-of-a-kind outfit that meets the most stringent ethical standards, options are beginning to emerge throughout the Middle East. Here are five of them.
Our Instanbul-based writer Julia hunted around for the city’s top secondhand clothing shops and mapped out ten of them – all in one post. Although this fashion niche was previously neglected in Turkey, in the last few months, a host of new stores have opened in fashionable neighborhoods such as Galata and Cihangir. So if you’re traveling through and hope to avoid the glitz and glam of irresponsible design, this roundup of lightly-used clothing stores will rock your world.
We’ve become so accustomed to buying new things that we rarely stop to the think of the resources that are necessary to create them. But DGrade has and they’re trying to do something about it. Rather than make new clothes from scratch, the UK-based clothing manufacturer DGrade perfected a method that converts recycled plastic into yarn. They use 20% less water, 50% less energy, and produce 55% less carbon emissions than the cotton manufacturing process requires, and they have recently opened a branch in the Dubai mall.
So many of Dubai’s high-flyers have overflowing wardrobes that could clothe an entire Masaai village. This includes Sian Rowland who one day realized how absurd this is. So she teamed up with her sisters Teagan and Becky to start “My Ex Wardrobe.” A great initiative that allows people to de-clutter their wardrobes while giving perfectly good clothing a second home, My Ex Wardrobe also allows people who donate clothes for re-sale to earn a little money back.
The Lebanese are among the most fashion-conscious people on the planet. Looking good is as much a cultural mandate as fasting during Ramadan! But in Beirut, a growing number of people understand the environmental consequences of these and other demands and are working hard to do something about it. That includes Green and Glam – an eco fashion boutique that sells the most stylish, ethical, and eco-friendly brands at 65 Zahret el Ehsan Street in Achrafieh.
Inspired by her father’s refusal to throw anything away ever, Dutch designer Naomi Maaravi moved to Tel Aviv and brought her high eco-fashion with her. A favorite among celebrities, Maaravi’s unique pieces require a lot of attention that reflect the real price the planet pays for us to look and feel beautiful. After seeing this amazing collection, the ladies are bound to lose their taste for fast fashion in a flash!
Image credit: women in eco-dress, Shutterstock