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  • On the latest eco-conscious denim trends and events

    S4 cover"Who are the big, fat, tall people that buy the jeans we make?"

    That's the question that Jasmine, 16, innocently asks in Micha Peled's documentary China Blue, a clandestine view of three girls' lives in a Chinese sweatshop. I felt pretty embarrassed watching Jasmine cut the threads off our blue jeans during her 20-hour workday. It's the same Catholic schoolgirl guilt you get when the burly, bearded dude walks in on you because the gas station's bathroom lock is broken, or when your parents or roommate come home when they just weren't supposed to. Once again, we've been caught with our pants down.

    But this time, we're participating in one of the largest human-rights abuses of all time. Which makes denim a damn good product around which to strike up a conversation about social issues.

    Sorry, trusty Blue Jeans. You know I love you. You've been there for me through all occasions -- my birthdays, my late-night outings, my first kiss, my first break-up ... When I don't know what to wear, you're there for me ... but now, it's time to hang you out to dry ... if only to make a point.

  • The cosmetics company will pay offsets through CarbonFund.

    Carbon neutrality is popping up in more glamorous places than Yahoo's headquarters, Al Gore's mansion, and The New Oxford English Dictionary these days. Cosmetics giant Lancome will start paying for its pollution and funding green power projects through the nonprofit CarbonFund. But Lancome isn't greening all its operations; only four boutiques, plus its four jet-setting spokesmodels (including Elettra Rossellini Wiedemann, Isabella's daughter), will buy into carbon offsets.

  • Grist reviews the spring crop of green glossy mags

    Last year at this time, Vanity Fair and Elle tried a shocking experiment: they published green-themed issues. Could mainstream readers handle eco-news if it came in the shape of Julia Roberts and Evangeline Lilly (and, uh, Chip Giller)? Would green really prove to be the new black ink? Covering green issues … or just green-issue […]

  • Great finds in the search for green cosmetics

    I smell yummy. Very very yummy. So yummy, in fact, that my roommate's dog just tried to lick all the yumminess off my face. Still, even that salivary interlude couldn't kill my French Rosemary With Sweet Orange buzz.

    I'm on a mission to replace all my pharmacy-bought personal care products with non-toxic, petrochemical-free alternatives. Alas, it's been slow going, especially in the skin care department. It took me years, after all, to find cleansers and moisturizers that simultaneously control my oiliness, don't dry me out, and prevent breakouts. (Sigh.) Saying good-bye to those standbys is tough.

  • Bike commuting fashion tips

    Photo: giopuo via FlickrTook a long ride in the pouring rain a couple days ago to deliver some engineering drawings and test out some new gear. I'm looking for novel ideas to facilitate bike commuting. A commuter should be able to step off the bike and head straight for the coffee machine without having to change clothes or take a shower.

    The key to that is an electric hybrid bike, but clothing is also all-important. Although I'm confident I'd look real fine in spandex, it doesn't fit my stated design parameters. But if you must wear it, do not repeat the mistake made by the Polish bike team a few years ago. Make sure the shorts are black, not red. Word of warning to all you nerds out there: Spandex bike clothing will one day go the way of the mullet. Don't be the last one wearing it.

  • Eric Brody of outdoor-apparel company Nau answers questions

    Eric Brody. What work do you do? I am the sustainability manager at Nau Inc. My other involvements include founder and coordinator of Portland Green Drinks; executive committee member for the Sustainable Packaging Coalition; and advisory committee member for the Oregon Natural Step Network. How does your work relate to the environment? Nau, Inc. is […]

  • Times reports on vegan fashion

    The Times reports on cruelty-free fashion today. Not that any of us can afford this stuff. But still. Just saying. It’s there. And we’re glad of it. But could this bring eco-fashion to the fashion-conscious masses? And could it signal the end of Summer Rayne Oakes’ unchallenged hegemony in the sphere of eco-fashion?

  • The U.S. organic cotton industry has a tough row to hoe

    The view from the Panoche Cotton Gin outside Firebaugh, Calif., reveals a great deal about the state of the cotton industry in the U.S. A generation ago, fields of cotton surrounded the gin as far as the eye could see. Today, the gin — a warehouse-sized plant that can clean and bundle dozens of tons […]

  • Umbra on environmental busybodies

    Dear Umbra, A friend recently said I should “walk the talk” by replacing my synthetic clothes (purchased before I saw the environmental light, as it were) with new things made entirely of organically grown fibers. I thought about this, and it seems wasteful to get rid of clothes that still fit and look nice, just […]