My Life In Stellas by Kathryn Knox proves that leading a sustainable, animal-friendly lifestyle can be fashionable. Click here to read more from DFW Style Daily’s newest contributor. Hey again! This Stella-wearing vegan is back. Long ago, I honed my shopping skills. Undoubtedly like a lot of others, I’m able to do serious damage in a very small amount of time. There are some who might even recommend I come with a warning label. Lately, though, I’ve slowed my shopping down a bit. You see, they don’t call it purchasing power for nothing. Now, when I go shopping, among my list of musts I’m looking for two things - fabric content and where it was made. As always, though, that doesn’t have to mean granola. Sustainable Fibers and Fabrics China, followed by India and the United States, are the largest producers of cotton in the world. Of the major agricultural crops grown in the United States, cotton ranks fifth. While the majority of cotton produced globally is conventional, larger companies have started to pledge to increase their use of organic cotton. With the recent release of the 2012 Textile Exchange Farm and Fiber Report, however, we see that organic cotton production levels continue to decline for a variety of reasons. Nonetheless, the majority of cotton is still grown by conventional methods, accounting for more than 25% of insecticides used. The cotton seeds used in conventional growing methods have been genetically modified, and are more dependent on insecticides and pesticides. What does this mean? Chemicals used in conventional cotton production have been responsible for various human health concerns, as well as the killing of fish and bird populations. And this is only taking into consideration the farming of cotton. I haven’t even scratched the surface of cleaning, treating, dying, and shipping the popular clothing material. Organic cotton isn’t grown by the aforementioned conventional method, and is therefore a more environmentally friendly fiber choice. Want to be even more environmentally friendly? Hemp, bamboo, and Tencel are a lot more durable, use less water in production, and can even have anti-microbial properties. What’s Tencel, you ask? Check out my Green Buzzword Glossary to learn about this and other terms. Sustainable Production Over the past few years, there have been major strides in designers using eco-friendly and sustainable fabrics, such as those mentioned above, in fashion-forward garments. I also seek apparel produced under such conditions. Today, we’re seeing a resurgence of such quality-manufactured goods coming out of the U.S. and other well-regulated countries. Look sharp, however, as a lot of brands are hiding under some pretty big green buzzwords and ad campaigns, without delivering the goods. Why? In general, production of garments under environmentally-friendly conditions is significantly more expensive, and companies must be more transparent from field to store. Our expectations for immediate gratification and our acceptance of fast fashion are often at odds with these requirements. Next time you’re shopping, I hope you’ll keep a combination of both sustainable fabrics and production in mind. As with my shoe situation, further explored in A Woman’s Best Friend, everyday I discover companies that deliver on both sides of the equation. Below are some of my favorites. A fashion-forward pioneer in not only animal friendliness, but also sustainability, Stella McCartney proves that if you build it, they will come. Shown here are organic skinny jeans. As the birthplace of vegetarianism, London sets the standard. Another export, Chinti and Parker, designs sustainable clothing with touches of whimsy. With an organic denim re-launch on the horizon, Loomstate features Tencel in its current collection, as show in the items above. And if you’re hungry, you can also check out the line’s collaboration with Chipotle. There’s a lot in a name, and Amour Vert’s says it all. These are just a couple of my current favories from the eco-fashion brand. Finally, summer temperatures may have already arrived, but it is still spring in my mind. When the weather cools, try leggings, socks, and other basics by PACT. If you have any specific questions, or want to suggest a sustainable clothing brand, email me through our Contact Page. All text herein represents the informed opinion of DFW Style Daily contributor Kathryn Knox. Product images via individual retailers. Kathryn Knox photographed on location in New York by Rochelle Brodin Photography.