Seasoned Eco-Fashionistas Look Back at Their First


Earth Day gets us thinking about our first.

You know, our first beach garbage pick-up, Earth Day concert, camping under the stars, organic meal – and for us fashion gals, clothing!

My first? A beautiful embroidered, organic cotton dress from designerEmily Katz who was then known as Bonnie Heart Clyde. I still own the dress and only wish we could see more from Emily (stop being such a foodie and get designing girl!)

For some of us, eco-fashion based finds were due to frugal funds as college students, for others, a conscious choice to do something different. We caught up with some of our favorite sustainably-minded fashion mavens and asked the question “Do you remember buying your first piece of sustainably designed clothing and did you buy it knowing what it was?”

Here’s what they had to say.

Anna Griffin CocoEco Magazine Publisher and Editor-In-chief


“Yes, it was a lilac and pink Deborah Lindquist recycled cashmere scarf, with a skull and crossbones that I bought three years ago from a store in West Hollywood. I had had my eye on it for ages, and was so thrilled when I finally bought it that I put it on, even though it was 80 degrees outside!”

Jasmin Malik Chua Ecouterre Managing Editor


“Yes, a sleeveless organic-cotton wrap dress from the now somewhat defunct Canadian label Twice Shy. It was purchased circa 2006, sometime after I learned about the ills of conventional cotton farming.”

Sara Ost EcoSalon Publisher and Editor-In-Chief


“I don’t remember the first sustainable piece I ever bought, because looking back there were plenty of eco-friendly things I would buy but I didn’t realize it at the time. Things started to click for me several years ago when I bought a pair of Serfontaine jeans on vacation in Marin County (I lived in L.A. at this point). They aren’t perfect, of course, but the Made in USA and natural dyes message caught my attention. I was so careful about what I ate, it suddenly struck me as odd that I was not being more conscious of what I wore: in short, a whole lot of petroleum and chemicals.”

Kate Black Magnifeco Managing Editor


“Yes, I remember by the time I started to get really interested in sustainable clothing I was living in Tokyo (and running the blog) and couldn’t read any of the clothing tags. Then along came a 50 percent off offer from Envi – and I stocked up! Organic cotton (yay!) shipped from Boston to Tokyo (nay!)”

Greta Eagan EcoSalon Fashion Writer, filmmaker, founder of,


“Hmm, I think my first sustainable fashion piece was from Buffalo Exchange when I was in college in Boulder, CO. As a student on a budget and also at a time when I was exploring my fashion identity I would go to the famous thrift store and swap out old clothing for ‘new to me’ pieces. I can’t quite remember the first article of clothing, but I do remember this one dress that was made of silk scarves and crafted in a very artistic way. I definitely didn’t know that I was participating in sustainable fashion back then – but I did like the idea of re-using clothing and exchanging what I no longer wanted for something that held more appeal.”

Bahar Shahpar Sustainable Style Expert


“Four years ago, I snagged this inky black oversized hand-knit scarf at Atrium – I saw the hulking pile of chunky alpaca amazingness from across the room and had it wrapped around my neck before I even thought to look at the label. The thing is, having just started my trial-by-fire introduction into sustainable design with the launch of my womens wear line, I already knew what to look for and what to avoid, but that day I was completely engulfed by the “Feelgood Quotient.” I may have lucked out, because the scarf was by Edun and I was able to march up to the register without much guilt – but I think that only goes to show that things that are made better actually do feel better. Shopping can be simple, if we spend more time listening to our instincts instead of the advertising.”

Rowena Hutchinson Ritchie EcoSalon Fashion Writer, Publicist and Blogger for the Innovative Fashion Council


“As a teen, I bought a champagne-colored silk brocade 1950’s shirt-waister with a full skirt from a stall at Covent Garden. I treasured that dress and would mooch around my Mother’s living room pretending to be Grace Kelly. Last year (and two decades later), I took it into a La Rosa Vintage in San Francisco and swapped it for a 30’s cocktail dress whose diamante deco-designed sleeves are a topic of conversation at every party I attend. The idea that an item of clothing can still be relevant and beautiful more than 80 years after it was made speaks to the new fashion ethos. We need clothes designed to be treasured and timeless and to foster an emotional connection with its wearer and, hopefully, multiple wearers.”

Starre Vartan Founder and editor-in-chief of Eco-Chick, author of The Eco-Chick Guide to Life, managing editor of Greenopia and a contributor to The Huffington Post


“After years of creating my own upcycled clothing (I specialized in inserting castoff fabrics into my cords and jeans to make them super wide-leg…yes it was the 90’s!) I then moved to shopping at mainstream stores and thrifting about 30 percent of my wardrobe for many years. My first piece of sustainably designed clothing was a pair of hemp trousers from The Hempest in Burlington, VT in probably 2002. They are black, read as linen (but don’t wrinkle), and I still wear them as they are supersoft and worn in perfectly.”

Kelly Drennan EcoSalon Fashion Writer, Founder of Fashion Takes Action


“I have been buying second hand and vintage clothing for years, dating back to university. However, then it wasn’t about being sustainable as much as it was about being frugal with my non existent student income. From there I was introduced to the concept of locally made clothing, having worked with a few local designers in Toronto. Annie Thompson in particular was one of my favorite local designers as she was also known for incorporating recycled fabrics into her designs.  But my first piece of clothing made from a sustainable fabric, is a bamboo kimono style jacket from Thieves that I purchased in spring 2007. Back then I, like mostly everyone else, thought bamboo was a sustainable fabric. And I wore that jacket everywhere! I still own it, and yes, I still wear it. But my reasons for wearing it have changed. When I first got it, I wore it because it was sustainable first, and stylish second. Now I simply wear it because it is a timeless and stylish piece. And it is still a conversation piece, only the conversation has changed. Rather than talking about what sustainable fabrics are and how they are better for the planet, I now talk about the reasons why bamboo is not sustainable.”

Shannon Lorraine Founder of online boutique Found Future

“I remember mine! It was five years ago and I was working as a buyer and buying high-end denim – Citizens, Ag etc… And we picked up loomstate and I did know much about the line. I bought myself jeans and an perfect tee – which I still wear!”

Image: rzacakes

Amy DuFault

Amy DuFault is a conscious lifestyle writer, consultant and fashion instigator. She resides in Cape Cod, Massachusetts.