However, what tends to present the greatest challenge is the client, male or female, who wants to invest in an eco-friendly wardrobe. I actually get quite giddy when I receive such inquiries because conscious fashion is at the heart of my styling business. I embarked on this journey with the intent of educating consumers on the source of their garments, to present eco-styles that are equally innovative, chic, and modern without compromising the planet and the garment worker who produce them.
Despite my intentions, I am disheartened by the limited options for sizes greater than a 10 and found in a store near you. With the exception of Eileen Fisher (and I am fully aware that not every woman is an Eileen Fisher woman), the Internet holds the best chance for scoring a custom-made and/or full range of sizes. Green blogger, Green Gretchen, offers a comprehensive list of online designers. Search eco-fashions for plus size women and Etsy delivers a plethora of options.
Just for sake of clarification, “eco-fashion” can mean the type of material (reclaimed, organic cotton, tencel, soy, bamboo, hemp, and milk, yes even milk!) to vintage (preferably custom-made rather than a mass-produced item 20 years ago) to custom-made using high quality fabrics by an independent designer who applies a no-waste policy.
Another point of clarification is that eco-fashion caters solely to loose-fitting, yoga-inspired, loungewear. There is definitely a place for such styles such as actually doing yoga but pioneers in eco-design such as Linda Loudermilk, Stewart + Brown, Stella McCartney and Organic by John Patrick prove otherwise. Their vision opens the market for a breadth of styles that speak to your personality.
For the woman who seeks comfort in a loungewear-inspired style, go no further than Indigenous Designs. The fair trade, all organic collection puts the comfort in ready-to-wear. On their Website they have a helpful size chart to take the guesswork out of it.
For the professional woman who needs a bit more structure in her wear, check out collections by Canadian designers Diane Kennedy and Chloe Angus, and Rawganique. Their attention to detail combined with eco-luxe materials yield a message of self-empowerment and sophistication.
Of course, clothes account for part of an ensemble. Vegan shoe designer Olsen Haus and Neuaura include up a size 12. Accessories and handbags add panache to any outfit. My favorites: Jewelry designers - Calamarie, Monique Pean (Website to be relaunched soon!), AK Vintage and handbags by Matt and Nat, Gunas, and Susan Nichole.
If you have a favorite plus size eco-designer, I would love to know. Please send me your suggestion to Katherine@mysignaturelook.
Image: Dress by Chloe Angus