Saturday, October 10, 2015

Eco-alternatives to coats and jackets

Posted by Amanda Villaruel | | |
How can you be stylish and eco-friendly at the same time? With winter on the doorstep, here is my handpicked selection of sustainable alternatives to coats and jackets.
Sheep on land - eco-friendly alternatives to coats and jackets. Copyright: goodolga / 123RF Stock Photo
Copyright: goodolga / 123RF Stock Photo

First of all, three reasons for why you should be conscious about which coat you choose:
  1. To support better animal welfare

    Animal wool is the common fiber found in winter coats. Conventional wool comes primarily from sheep, but also goats and rabbits. How the wool is acquired varies from place to place.

    In for instance Australia, severe abuse of sheep has been discovered. And two years ago, a video from a Chinese angora farm was released showing how the fur was teared from the rabbit's skin. PS: The video is pretty extreme. Listening to the painful screams of the rabbit sounds like a child being tortured, and is a strong reminder that the animals do feel pain. If they feel pain, what else can they feel?

    But not all wool production is bad and unethical. With for instance certified organic wool, cruel practices are prohibited and animal stress minimized according to Soil Association.1

  2. To be environmentally friendly.

    Although wool is natural and biodegradable, and the wool fiber production typically requires almost 3 times less energy than polyester, and 4-5 times less energy than nylon and acrylic, there's the issue of how the raw wool is cleaned - also called scouring.2 

    Conventional wool scouring has a high environmental impact, because the scouring generates large quantities of highly polluted waste water.3

  3. To be free of pesticides  

    Sheep are treated with pesticides to control parasite infection, either by injection, pour-on preparation or pesticide "bath".4 This alone is a good reason for choosing organic wool. According to NRDC, organic wool producers don't use chemical pesticides on their sheep.5

So, what are your greener and ethical alternatives?

Spinning wool in Nepal. Copyright: prudek / 123RF Stock Photo
Copyright: prudek / 123RF Stock Photo
  1. Organic wool (I know I'm repeating myself. LOL)

    According to Kate Fletcher (founder of Slow Fashion), organic wool comes from sheep reared on organically grown feed that graze on land not treated with pesticides, and that are not dipped in synthetic pyrethoids or organophosphates (which treats sheep scab).6

  2. Vintage and second-hand coats and jackets

    If you choose vintage or second-hand outerwear, you're 1) re-using a garment which can be more environmentally friendly than purchasing a new piece and 2) not supporting the production of new clothing which is more energy-intensive.

  3. Other fabrics than conventional wool

    Ever heard about fur from the yak animal
    - considered as a green alternative to wool and cashmere ? You should also consider recycled polyester, reclaimed wool, organic cotton and even organic hemp.

Also read: Eco-alternatives to skinny jeans.

All links below are unpaid links.

Fall/winter coats and jackets from Patagonia

1. Black fleece coat  2. Burgundy Icelandic coat  3. Blue Peacoat  4. Blue parka coat  Photo courtesy of Patagonia.
1. Black fleece coat  2. Burgundy Icelandic coat  3. Blue Peacoat  4. Blue parka coat
Photo courtesy of Patagonia.

Patagonia is the pioneer in the production of fleece from recycled polyester. They recycle plastic soda bottles and worn-out garments and transform it into 'new' fleece.

1. Better Sweater Fleece Coat

The fabric is Blue Sign approved (standard for sustainable textile production), and the sewing product is Fair Trade Certified. Also available in navy, beige and grey.

Price: $179  Check out the coat.

2. Better Sweater Icelandic Coat

Love the red color of this jacket, and the bohemian details. Who would have thought that sporty Patagonia offers this type of products? :-) The fabric is Blue Sign approved, and the sewing product is Fair Trade Certified. Also available in light beige and grey.

Price: $179  Read more about the coat.

3. Better Sweater Peacoat

The fabric is also Blue Sign approved, and the sewing product Fair Trade Certified. Also available in grey.

Price: $149  Click to read more about the coat.

4. Women's Down with it Parka

Knee-length feminine parka made from 100% recycled polyester shell. Also available in black, pebble grey and dark brown.

Price: $299 Check out the parka.

Vintage fall and winter coats from ASOS Marketplace

1. Long blue coat  2. Camel colored wool coat  3. Sheepskin shearling coat brown  4. Sheepskin shearling coat black
1. Long blue coat  2. Camel colored wool coat  3. Sheepskin shearling coat brown
4. Sheepskin shearling coat black. Photo courtesy of the relevant sellers at ASOS Marketplace.

1. Vintage Blue Coat

Over-sized vintage coat from the early 1990s by French Connection.

Look for similar coats here.

2. Vintage camel wool coat

Wool coat from the 1980s in the timeless color camel.

3. Vintage brown 1970s sheepskin shearling

According to the seller, the coat is made from genuine sheepskin. A cool, hip jacket that goes well with casual style.

I remember that my grandparents used to wear one of these when they first arrived to Norway in the late 1970s. This type of jacket held them warm for many years.

4. Vintage black 1980s sheepskin shearling

Vintage coat from the 1980s made from genuine sheepskin.

Also read: Hand-picked online vintage stores for the cool, chic and conscious fashionista.

Other eco-friendly alternatives to coats and jackets

1. Vintage faux fur coat  2. Vintage classic wool coat  3. Black wool coat. Photo courtesy of Beyond Retro.
1. Vintage faux fur coat  2. Vintage classic wool coat  3. Black wool coat.
Photo courtesy of Beyond Retro.
Vintage coats from Beyond Retro:

1. Vintage faux fur coat (Beyond Retro)

Price: £55 Click to read more about the coat.

2. Black classic wool coat (Beyond Retro)

Price: £55 Check out the coat.

3. Black wool coat (Beyond Retro)

Price: £55 - Click to read more.

Fall coat from People Tree:

The Nisha Drape jacket is made from 100% organic fairtrade certified cotton, by artisans in India (Assisi Garments).
Jacket by People Tree. Photo courtesy of People Tree.
Nisha drape jacket.
Photo courtesy of People Tree.

A classic jacket that fits most needs, whether it's a date, work attire, job interview or dinner with the gals.

This jacket is made from cotton, but it's worth noting that People Tree also offers clothing in fairtrade wool from Nepal.

Not all wool is bad ;-) Look for the "handknitted" products.

Price: $169.99

Check out the jacket right here.

Also check out:

Vegan-owned Vaute Couture  - jackets and coats in organic moleskin.

Hoodlamb offers you parka jackets in organic materials.

Continue to read:
Introduction to VEJA - a vegan and ethical sneaker brand for the casual woman.

Sustainable outfit of the month - The Green Fox - sustainable outerwear.


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