Photo: Looking good in green

Supporting local designers is one way to green your wardrobe (Credit: Lindsay Coulter)

You're eating a few meatless meals a week and taking transit to work so maybe it's time you turn your planet saving deeds to your closet? Americans throw away 68 pounds (31 kg) of clothing and textiles per person each year and we Canadians average about seven kilograms (15 lbs) of textile waste (clothes, bedding, etc.) annually.

I'm not suggesting you can shop your way out of this one, ladies. But without spending a cent you can be more fashionably green starting today.


Remember those pants that popped a button? That shirt with the stain? Fix 'em up and you've got a whole new wardrobe. Check out my planet-friendly suggestions for getting rid of stains. You've got the ingredients in your kitchen — you just don't know it yet.


Thinking of giving some great finds to a good home? Call some friends or neighbours to host a clothes swap. Your old is their new. Or donate unwanted items to your favorite local charity.


Extend the life of garments you no longer wear by taking them to a local consignment shop. While you're there, check out the selection — it's a great alternative to buying new.


Repurpose a garment yourself. Need inspiration? See how one woman is making all of her own clothes for one year. Swap-o-rama-rama is another option where professional designers help you embroider, knit, crochet, silk screen, or bead an item. Find an event in a city near you.


Choose fashionable, upcycled items that have managed to avoid the waste stream altogether. Many eco-friendly designers are getting uber creative, producing earrings from old skateboards and purses from ties of Father's Days past. And don't forget vintage. Instead of buying new items that look vintage, why not just buy the real deal?

Organic cotton

Conventionally grown cotton uses about one pound of pesticides and fertilizers to make a single T-shirt. Some chemicals are carcinogenic, so buying conventional cotton products means exposing workers, wildlife, and water to these pollutants. Choosing organic cotton will be help rid the planet of 25 per cent of the insecticides and more than 10 per cent of the pesticides used around the world.

Lindsay Coulter, Queen of Green

February 12, 2010

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Dec 13, 2016
3:21 PM

Hey there! I just came across your article! I am the only recycled textile designer in my area. Where I can’t use recycled materials I use Organic Cotton! I would love to hear from someone !


Kayla Stewart

Feb 17, 2010
2:42 PM

Would you believe I found a map of stores that support local designers and sustainable fashion in Vancouver? Pretty neat.

I also wanted to build on the idea of holding a clothing swap. Some of my friends held a jewelry repair and refurbish night- over a bottle of organic wine of course! It’s simple. Get your friends to bring their broken jewelry like that lone earring, maybe that string of beads you bought thinking you’d make something, etc. Buy a jewelry making starter kit with the rings, clasps and pliers at your local bead store and away you go. Getting together makes you sit down and actually fix things, you can also call on a friend’s creativity and everyone walked away with something redesigned or repaired. I highly recommend it.

Feb 17, 2010
1:46 PM

Thanks for the great post Lindsay!! I’ve been trying to revamp some of my clothes but have trouble with the part that requires pretty much any kind of skill … loved the link to Swap-o-rama-rama, it is just what I’ve been looking for!!

Feb 16, 2010
3:31 PM

Thanks for the inspiration Lindsay!

I had the fun opportunity to go “eco-shopping” with the Queen of Green and it is definitely encouraging to see how many local designers are making green look hot!

Feb 15, 2010
4:41 PM

I’m an investment dresser by nature and want my garments to last for years. I also try to support local designers and manufacturers as much as possible — and have found some who work out of their homes making stuff that is funky, affordable and fun.

Feb 15, 2010
1:43 PM

You have totally inspired me. I have a bag of clothing that needs to be repaired in some way. And also a poncho I attempted to knit a few years ago that actually came out as more of a horror show than anything else. I’m going to get out my needle and thread and fix those clothes. And I’m going to get out my crochet hook and rip that poncho back into the ball of yarn from which it came. A real recycling project.



Feb 15, 2010
11:05 AM

Love the ideas, Lindsay! I’m also inspired by ladies who stitch their own clothes. Knitting and sewing may be time consuming but it’s pretty empowering to make your own threads!

Feb 15, 2010
10:03 AM

There’s no doubt about it. Eco is in.

Kim Cathers from Project Runway, Lindsay Coulter from the David Suzuki Foundation and numerous musicians and models make up a list of forward-thinking individuals taking part in celebrating sustainability and local ingenuity within the fashion industry at Eco Fashion Forward on Feb 19th. Held at 350 West Georgia — the spectacular presence of Vancouver Public Library showcases amazing talent from local eco friendly designers, in a new twist on the traditional runway show.

Come rub elbows with the Greenest and most fashion savvy individuals in Vancouver.

For more information please visit —

Come join the movement and show your true colors…

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